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Burnout Experience of Teachers Serving Students with Emotional Behavioral Disorders in Grades Pre-K-8 within Nonpublic Special Education Day Schools Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationBurnout Experience of Teachers Serving Students with Emotional Behavioral Disorders in Grades PreK-8 Within Non-public Special Education Day Schools This exploratory study examined the relationships between five predictor variables identified by the literature (age, years of special education teaching experience, level of emotional behavioral disorders (EBD) preparation, principal support, and principal feedback) and two higher order terms (age and years of special education teaching experience) with the three burnout variables (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) for teachers (n = 71) serving students with EBD and other disabilities in grades preK-8 within non-public special education day schools that are members of a special education association located in the mid-Atlantic region. No burnout studies could be identified examining EBD teachers within non-public special education day schools, although these schools service students with some of the most challenging and severe behaviors. The number of students identified with disabilities continues to increase, as does the number of special education students served within non-public special education day schools. Student misbehavior, such as those exhibited by children with EBD, is continually cited by teachers as the reason they left teaching. The United States continues to experience a national teacher shortage, particularly in the area of special education. Teachers continue to leave the field faster than they can be hired; leaving students without highly qualified teachers, which can lead to harmful student outcomes. Burnout has also been found to be related to a teacher's decision to leave teaching, although many teachers continue to work in their positions while experiencing high levels of burnout, which can also negatively impact student outcomes. This study found that when examined in isolation, principal feedback was a significant burnout predictor for the criterion variable of emotional exhaustion, but was not found to be significant for depersonalization personal accomplishment. The other four predictor variables (years of special education teaching experience, age, principal support, and EBD preparation) were not found to be significant for any of the burnout variables when examined in isolation. When all of the burnout predictors were combined and examined as a whole, they were found to be significant for all three burnout variables.

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