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Strategies to Prevent Novice Teachers' Burnout and Its Coping Measures in Secondary School Setting

Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
Topic: Constituents of Novice Teacher’s Burnout in
Secondary School Setting and its Preventative and Coping
Literature Review
Being a professional educator in today’s schools is considered to be arduous
and at times stressful. Teaching can be regarded as a profession with an
immense risk for burnout (McCarthy et al., 2006). Freudenberger (1974)
coined the term ‘burnout’ to depict persons with helping occupation who
are “worn out”, having low levels of energy and deprecating (job-related)
self-confidence (Mosaad, 2013). It can affect individuals in general and
particularly teachers because of a discrepancy between the reality at hand
and their early professional expectations and aspirations (Martin, 2010).
Some other factors contributing to the burnout can be related to the early
studies that denote the type of teachers who are prone to have burnout
realizing that their work is fruitless and conflicting with the ideal goals they
have set at beginning of their teaching career (Bullough & Baughman, 1997).
Statistics from National Teaching Workforce Dataset (2014) reveal high level
of the teacher’s burnout rate increasing every year as the alarming figure of
six percent of teachers leaving the profession after five years of being
professional educator due to stress and burnout. Therefore, it is important to
find strategies in order to accommodate the teachers with phenomenal
coping mechanism in dealing with arduous or demanding circumstances
and able to handle struggles or personal and professional hardships wisely
(Albrecht et al. 2012).
educational goals with high success. In educational context, teachers’ main
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Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
responsibility is on students learning. Although these days, teachers’ role is
expanding wider to become disciplinarian, facilitator, counselors, and
mentor as well for the students which therefore educators have to generate
much effort to do multitask (Mosaad, 2013; Davis, 2001). Nevertheless,
teaching allows opportunities to gain many delightful emotions such as
passion, joy, pride, and close relationships with student and colleague.
Unfortunately, the profession also comes with the obligation to experience
negative emotions such as frustration, disappointment, anger that can be
triggered by immense work load, low salary, reforms of education system in
expectation, limited access to appropriate teaching resources, and so forth
(Feltoe, 2016; Mosaad, 2013; Stočkus, 2013). It is important to note that these
negative emotions which can cause change of teachers’ personality in the
long run can leave traces in other person, namely their students, parents,
teachers’ families, and even society as a whole (Stočkus, 2013; Lingli, 2017).
Based on the research of Feltoe (2016), Mosaad (2013), and McCarthy (2002),
one of the most prominent cause of teachers’ burnout is stress. According to
current model of stress, continuation action of taking the measure of daily
challenges that are experienced in life compared to the resources possessed
to deal with them and if the perception of coping resources is inadequate to
handle the said life demands, stress happens (McCarthy, 2002). Mosaad
(2013) concur that certain factors such as teachers’ life experiences,
students’ behavior, administration pattern, and personality contribute to
inducing teachers’ burnout which may be amplified to the degree of
burnout which will demolish teachers’ coping styles.
During the 1970s, Kyriacou & Sutcliffe (1977) established the phrase stress in
teaching. Teacher stress can be seen as the perception of imbalance
between the demands teacher experienced at school and the resources
teachers have to cope with them which resulted in a threat to their selfesteem or well-being (Kyriacou, 2001; McCarthy, 2002). Research into
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Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
teacher stress had grown rapidly over the last three decades, and not
surprisingly, teaching has been constituted to be one of the most stressful
professions for more than two decades (Tripken, 2011; Feltoe et al., 2016). The
topic of teacher stress becomes a research issue globally, as teachers are
expected to have lower life expectancy due to professions stress, as shown
from a study in China (Yang et al., 2009). Furthermore, in another study (Van
Horn, Schaufeli, & Enzmann, 1999) conducted among 249 Dutch secondary
school teachers in Netherlands, the higher level of emotional depletion can
be seen in teachers who invest much more than what they receive back
from the school. In addition, in a study conducted in New Zealand, the
teachers from secondary school setting show substantially higher scores in
stress when compared with other profession (Sharma, 2016).
Stress can cause more harm and damage to the wellbeing of the teachers.
Despite teachers’ competency and efficiency, prolonged stress at work can
cause anxiety, demotivation, pessimism, depletion of energy, depressive
mood, and eventually it can lead to serious illnesses for teachers.
Professionally, it will also substantially affect work efficiency, lack of creativity,
declining level of self-efficacy, unjustified absence and therefore attribute to
the high attrition rate (Stočkus, 2013; Mosaad, 2013). This is concerning
because as with the increase of teachers’ stress level, the students may suffer
as well. Tripken (2011) makes a notion that teachers who experience burnout
are more likely to criticize their students, which will in result may lower
students’ intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, initiative and creativity.
Burnout does not only affect in-service teacher, even more so in pre-service
or novice teachers. Ingersoll & Kralik (2004) notes that at least 50 percent of
new teachers leave the occupation after five years in the field. Kono (2012)
states that especially in the first year of their teaching career, novice
teachers will face difficult time and pressure since they have to deal with
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Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
difficult work assignments, role conflicts, inadequate resources, lack of
student discipline, and reality shock. It is not surprising considering that the
novice gets into practice with little to no instruction, anxiety, and some prior
life experience (Lingli, 2017). Moreover, beginning teachers are ‘more likely to
be assigned the most difficult classes’, teach classes high amount of special
education students, or serving in schools in which the students are mainly
comprised of poor and/or non-English speaking learners (Tripken, 2011).
There are high levels of anxieties in novice teachers, and as identified by Hart
(1987), she noted that the level of anxiety is highly associated with the
degree of disorder in the classroom. On top of that, being new in the field,
novice teachers tend to have strong sense of mission on teaching and being
Idealists Teacher. Idealist Teachers firmly believe that good teachers are able
to direct every student to learn, even student who have disinterested parents
or come from poor family (ibid, 2011). It is this group of teachers that are
highly prone to disappointment and stress, although they display the best
aspirants to revitalize the profession.
Preventing burnout is ‘more effective and less expensive than treatment’
(Friedman, 1999). Since burnout can be managed when teachers can
manage their stress level well, it is important to invest some time and energy
by taking care of personal and professional needs. Sharma (2016) suggests
that by practicing techniques of stress management (e.g. positive thinking,
time management, adjustment on diet, exercise, relaxation, and reflection) is
beneficial to prevent burnout.
According to Kyriacou (2001), there are two main types of coping strategies
when dealing with teacher stress, namely direct action techniques and
palliative techniques. Direct action techniques attributes to certain things
that a teacher may try to eliminate the source of stress.
Page 4 of 8
Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
Palliative techniques do not directly act towards the source of the stress itself.
The aim of the techniques is to decrease the feeling of stress that are
encountered. It can be in form of mental which involved the teacher to try to
change how certain situation is perceived, or physical strategies which mean
several activities which will help the teacher to reserve and reclaim
composure by relieving any anxiety or tension that has been accumulated.
One of the mental strategies that can be applied is practicing mindfulness. A
study conducted by Roeser et al. (2013) stated that the teachers’ wellbeing is
improvement on their attention and focus, along with self-regulation.
Mindfulness can support individuals, teachers included, to appraise the reality
more vividly and have a better comprehension of themselves which is done
by conscientiously delving into who they are, what point of view they hold in
the world and what roles they play in it (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
In personal context, the present study reveals that sharing problems with
others such as talking to friends and family and has been identified as a
valuable coping strategy for teachers. While in professional setting, the highly
recommended strategy is to implement a buddy system between colleagues
and encourage professional development actions such as mentoring and
networking are effective to help problem solving and share ideas in reducing
stress in the workplace (Kyriacou, 2001).
There are various studies conducted and reports on correlation between inservice teachers’ stress and burnout along with their preventative strategies
and recommended coping mechanism. However, studies conducted in preservice or novice teachers are still limited. Hence, this study attempt to have
better understanding of the rate of success in each strategy for novice
teachers. The expected outcome of this research is to develop effective
prevention measures before burnout happens as well as accommodating to
coping mechanisms to help novice teachers who have experienced the
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Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
burnout in secondary school setting. The basic principle of constructivist
research paradigm will be used in this research.
Burnout is the result of perceived condition that coping with daily life
demands has been unbearable and triggered by stress. Given the
responsibilities that teachers must face every day; dealing with disruptive
classroom behaviours, facing parents’ high expectation and how to
negotiate with them, lack of resources because of shrinking school budgets
accountability, it is not surprising that many teachers experience a form of
burnout at some point in their careers. This happens to pre-service and
novice teachers in particular, who has little experience in the field. However,
research reviewed above indicates some strategies to prevent teachers’
burnout and coping mechanisms which is considered to be useful in helping
teachers to strive through a service profession that puts them at risk for
This leads to the proposed research question:
‘What are the constituents of novice teachers’ burnout in secondary school
setting and what are the effective strategies to prevent and coping with
Albrecht, NJ, Albrecht, PM & Cohen, M 2012, ‘Mindfully Teaching in the Classroom: A
Literature Review’, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 37, no. 12, Article 1.
DOI: 10.14221/ajte.2012v37n12.2
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Brackenreed, D. and Barnett, J. (2006) ‘Teacher Stress and Inclusion: Perceptions of PreService Teachers’, Developmental Disabilities Bulletin, 34(1), pp. 156–176. Available at:
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Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
Dworkin, A. G. (1987) Teacher burnout in the public schools. [electronic resource] : structural
causes and consequences for children. Albany, N.Y. : State University of New York
Press, c1987.
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Feltoe, G., Beamish, W. & Davies, Mike, (2016) ‘Secondary School Teacher Stress and Coping:
Insights from Queensland, Australia’, International Journal of Arts and Sciences.
Available at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/143872741.pdf (Accessed: 21 March
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Hart, N. (1987). Student teachers’ anxieties: Four measured factors and relationships to pupil
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Audrey Revani – s4597124
Assessment 1: Literature Review
Education Research Design and Methods
Education Teachers in the State of Kuwait’, Journal of Education and Practice, (4), No. 20.
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