ERIC Number: ED580099
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
What Coping Strategies and Support Mechanisms Have Elementary Teachers Found Most Effective?
Byrd, Kristie M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Capella University
This basic qualitative research study explored the lives of 14 elementary teachers in their classroom environment to answer two central research questions which are: what coping strategies do teachers find most effective and what coping mechanisms provided by administration helps them cope with classroom stress? Data were collected through fourteen in-depth, face to face interviews, and shadowing all fourteen, for a total of twenty hours of observation. During the course of analyzing the data, a trend emerged that showed teachers' greatest stressor was the tremendous amount of paperwork that they were expected to complete. Additional stressors such as discipline and curriculum changes appeared in each classroom, but were varied due to the demographical composition of the student population in each school. Findings also showed that all the participants used some type of coping strategy either positive or negative. Positive strategies that were utilized while at school were taking brain breaks, student engagement, time management and talking to their students in a quiet voice. Negative strategies mentioned by the teachers that they used inside the classroom were yelling, getting frustrated with students and getting in students' faces. Positive strategies employed outside of the classroom were healthy eating, exercising, reading, family time and crafts and talking to others. Participants also stated that they utilized negative strategies such as crying, oversleeping, overeating, or drinking alcohol or pills. Administrative supports such as duty-free lunches, extra planning time and an open-door policy, help assuage some of the teachers' stress. Additionally, the findings showed that teachers are in fact, extremely stressed persons who struggle professionally and personally to preserve objectivity, best practices and discover approaches that truly alleviate stress. During the interviews, almost all participants revealed that even with coping strategies and support mechanisms in place, they were losing their passion for teaching due to the elevated levels of stress that they were experiencing on a day to day basis, and were never truly free from the feelings and pressure from stress. Finally, the study found that even though some strategies are helpful, producing positive results, leading to happier people, some strategies are not as beneficial, creating more stress, and the vicious cycle continues. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
Descriptors: Elementary School Teachers, Coping, Stress Management, Qualitative Research, Interviews, Observation, Data Analysis, Stress Variables, Learner Engagement, Time Management, Teacher Student Relationship, Classroom Techniques, Best Practices, Teacher Motivation
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A