Topics: Teacher, Education, Special education Pages: 12 (3043 words) Published: May 4, 2013

Teacher Burnout
Daphnie Barriss, Ruth Polonio, Susan Tkatch
California State University, San Bernardino


Special education teachers in today’s workplace are experiencing stress and burnout more than ever. Teacher burnout is one of the major causes special education teachers leave the profession or find employment in other education fields. This article suggests that special education teachers experience more teacher burnout compared to general education teachers within the first five years. This study surveyed K-12 general education and special education teachers and identified three key factors contributing to teacher stress and burnout. These three major factors are due to lack of administrative support, personal lifestyle, and paperwork overload.

Keywords: burnout, stress, administrative, overload

Table of Content Pages Introduction4

Literature Review
Teacher Burnout in Special Education4-5
How Principals Can Help the Beginning Special Education Teacher6-7 Research Question8

Definitions of Terms8

Significance of the Study9


Instrumentation/Data Collection9

Data Treatment Procedures10




Further Research12-13


Current studies of teacher burnout in special education indicate that teachers leave the teaching profession within the first five years. However, in the area of special education, there exists a shortage of qualified teachers (DeMik, 2008). This study investigated fifteen special educators and general educators using ten survey questions. These fifteen teachers are interviewed to determine the causes of teacher burnout with special educators leaving the field within the first five years of teaching. Literature Review

In special education there is evidence of special education teacher burnout. In a study investigating reasons why special educators remain in the teaching profession but transfer to general education (DeMik, 2008), 1500 special educators were surveyed. The authors found that administrative factors, (e.g. excessive paperwork, disagreement with special education policies/practices, lack of teaching materials and resources, and lack of support from administrative personnel), and stress from the working conditions (such as too much diversity in student needs, too much time with the same students, too many students on a caseload, and lack of student progress) were the primary reasons for teacher burnout in the first five years (DeMik, 2008). Studies of beginning special educators give evidence of struggles regarding issues of job responsibilities, time management and professional support as well as lack of administrative support, style and philosophy of the administrator and organizational structure of the school that can have a negative effect on the beginning special education teacher’s satisfaction with the job ((DeMik, 2008). Teacher Burnout in Special Education

From a research perspective, teacher burnout has been studied for many years. There are many causes that may contribute to a teacher burnout. In recent years it appears that special education teachers are experiencing more teacher burnout and therefore the retention of special education teachers is a concern in many schools across the nation (Fore III, 2002). A quantitative research was done on the causes of teacher burnout for both general education and special education teachers’. The result includes surveys done by different people over a course of several years on the topic of teacher burnout. The purpose of the study was to investigate the reasons teachers were experiencing burnout. Special...

References: Busch, T., W., Pederson, K., Espin, C. A., & Weissenburger, J. W. (2001). Teaching students
with learning disabilities: Perceptions of a first-year teacher
DeMik, S. A. (2008). Experiencing Attrition of Special Education Teachers Through
Narrative Inquiry
Fore III, C., Martin, C., & Bender, W. (2002). Teacher burnout in special education: The causes
and the recommended solutions
McCabe, Marjorie (Feb 1995). How principles can help the beginning special education. NASSP
Bulletin, 79, 56,1-14.
Schlichte, J., Yssel, N., & Merbler, J. (2005). Pathways to burnout: Case studies in teacher
isolation and alienation
Stempien, L. R., & Loeb, R. C. (2002). Differences in Job Satisfaction Between
General Education and Special Education Teachers: Implications for Retention.
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