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What We Know From Research About Teacher Stress & Burnout

  • The mind of a teacher impacts teacher quality and is a critical factor in determining if a student receives a meaningful education[1].


  • Teachers are among the groups of professionals most seriously impacted by stress, depression, and psychological fatigue[2]


  • Emotional stress and poor emotional management are cited as two of the primary reasons teachers flee the profession with nearly half of new teachers leaving the profession within their first five years of teaching[3]


  • Teaching is emotional labor, and teacher emotional exhaustion and classroom climate are intricately connected. Burned-out teachers are less likely to demonstrate empathy and a caring attitude toward their students and have a diminished tolerance for disruptive behavior.


  • The mental/emotional traits or “dispositions” of teachers directly affect their effectiveness as educators. When teachers are resilient, focused, and engaged, they are more skillful in executing quality instruction and interacting with students in meaningful ways.


  • Self-awareness and emotional intelligence build resilience and support teachers in their ability to cope with the emotional demands of teaching.


  • Teacher dispositions are not fixed personality traits; they are dynamic and cultivatable. With a growing body of data-driven mindfulness-based interventions, we can effectively train and support the cultivation of self-awareness, critical consciousness, persistence, curiosity, positive attitude, and empathy, essential habits of mind of teachers.



[1] National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2002; National Reading Panel, 2000; Sanders & Horn, 1998; Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997 as cited in Waldington, E., & Waldington, P., (2011). Teacher Dispositions: Implications for teacher education, Childhood Education, 87, 323-326)

[2] Franco, C.,  Manas,  I.,  Cangas,  A., Moreno,  E.,  & Gallego,  J.  (2010). Reducing teachers’ psychological distress through a mindfulness training program.  The Spanish Journal of Psychology.  13,  655-666.

[3] Larrivee,  B.  (2012).  Cultivating Teacher Renewal. United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

Teachers are among the groups of professionals most seriously impacted by stress, depression, and psychological fatigue

Teacher burnout starts as an occupational identity crisis but quickly generalizes to the entire self-concept of the teacher

Over 50% of new teachers flee the profession within their first 5 years (*right when they were getting really, really good!), citing an inability to cope with the emotional demands of teaching