School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Andrea M. Bruce


teacher burnout, occupational burnout, leisure, leisure theory, skole, Sabbath, classical Christian education, Christian leisure, spiritual leisure, contemplative leisure, mindfulness, contemplative leisure


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to describe the essence of the lived experiences of 10 classical Christian secondary teachers and administrators who embrace Greek skolé and Christian Sabbath at classical Christian schools in the United States. Leisure theory guided this study, particularly Sabbath as described by Heschel and Brueggeman, Christian leisure as understood by Pieper and Heintzman, and Samaras’ description of skolé in Greek philosophy, as they point to a specific type of leisure and way of being understood by classical Christian educators. van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used for data collection and analysis of open-ended response logs, individual interviews, and focus groups. Participants were recruited using snowballing and criterion sampling in United States classical Christian schools who participate in skolé or Sabbath at least four times per week. The study was developed with the following central research question in mind: What are the lived experiences of secondary classical Christian educators who develop skolé and Sabbath practices outside of the classroom? The research sub-questions also sought to uncover how classical Christian educators develop the cross-section of skolé and Sabbath disciplines to enhance meaningful contribution to their work in the classroom. Four essential themes identified through data analysis were intentional boundaries, activity or practice as a medium for contemplation, the human element, and the posture of receptivity leading to thematic interpretations: leisure approach mirrored learning philosophy and skolé and Sabbath practices led to holistic mindfulness for participants, quality relationships, and measurable order and discipline qualities that were transferable to teaching. Keywords: burnout, classical Christian education, leisure, leisure theory, Sabbath, skolé