Experiences of teacher stress and the impact on behaviours, health and well-being: a narrative inquiry

Wiles, Ellen (2018) Experiences of teacher stress and the impact on behaviours, health and well-being: a narrative inquiry. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The link between stress and the teaching profession is well-established in empirical research (Hamama, Ronen, Shachar and Rosenbaum, 2013, pp731-732; Carton and Fruchart, 2014, p246; Stoeber and Rennert, 2008, p2; Shyman, 2011, p352; Travers, 2001, p130). In fact, stress is now spoken of as a given; as an ‘inescapable aspect of teaching’ (Smith and Bourke, 1992, p31) with detrimental effects on teachers’ careers and health (Klassen, 2010, p342). Regardless of any previous theories, research and interventions, teacher stress is an issue now and linked to the high levels of staff absence and the record numbers of those leaving or planning to leave the profession (Espinoza, 2015; Precey, 2015; Lightfoot, 2016).

This research therefore addresses a current issue of relevance and importance regarding the field of Education. It offers a window into the subject and provides knowledge and insight from some of those very teachers who are affected. My research is situated firmly in the qualitative paradigm (Denzin 2008) and uses a narrative inquiry to elevate and prioritise people’s stories, voices and subjective experiences. The study explores the relationship between the teacher and their environment in the experience of stress, and how this impacts on teachers’ behaviours, health and well-being.

This research project and its findings contribute to the field in a variety of ways. I challenge much of the language and labelling frequenting the literature on stress, teacher stress and coping. I offer a different perspective and non-judgemental terminology to describe and understand stress-related behaviours: ‘creative–survival behaviours’ (CSB). The research also fills a gap in the teacher stress literature by incorporating the concept of trauma and posttraumatic growth. I explore how it links to my participants’ experiences as well as potentially many other teachers both nationally and internationally. In addition, this study illuminates the importance of relationships and the price that can be paid if positive, collaborative relationships are not in place. I introduce the term ‘relationship - architecture’ to reflect that relationships are the bricks and mortar when building a school. Fundamentally, my research champions the notion that just as every child matters, so does every teacher.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Biddulph, R. Max
Harris, Belinda M.
Keywords: Teachers, job stress
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 51700
Depositing User: Wiles, Ellen
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2018 14:44
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 17:31
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/51700

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