Master of Science
Jennifer Lucko, PhD
Katherine Lewis, PhD
Rosemarie Michaels, EdD
Many studies describe the pervasiveness of burnout in underserved schools and the factors that lead to burnout, but those studies rarely utilize the voices and lived experiences of teachers (Camacho et al., 2021). Many studies also describe reasons why teachers leave the field, but few explore why teachers remain in the field and what coping strategies they use to persevere through burnout (Turner & Theilking, 2019). These gaps in the literature are particularly pressing as rates of teacher burnout and attrition have reached alarming levels (Kamenetz, 2022).
Through in-depth interviews with four teachers at an underserved school in the Bay Area, this study sought to answer the following research questions: (1) How do teachers at underserved schools perceive their experiences of burnout? (2) What coping strategies do teachers use? The findings show that teachers have experienced unprecedented changes since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and those changes have led to an acutely stressful period in teaching. Most described this year as the most stressful in their careers. Despite extensive stressors, teachers are coping through mindfulness, intentional self-talk, boundaries, and community.