School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Nancy K. DeJarnette


teacher stress, resilience, burnout, teacher well-being, self-determination


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe public high school teachers’ experiences of work-related stress and resilience in the state of Connecticut. The theory guiding this study is Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory (SDT), as it looks at the impact of motivation on human behavior and the fulfillment of the three basic psychological needs of competence, relatedness, and autonomy. This study was designed to answer the central research question, uncovering public high school teachers’ experiences with work-related stress and resilience. The researcher obtained informed consent from 12 participants who participated in semi-structured interviews. Eleven of the interviewed participants were deemed eligible to continue to participate. Eight of the participants completed journal prompts and participated in a follow-up interview which served as member checking, and four participants elected to participate in a focus group. The researcher manually coded all data using in vivo, focused, and pattern coding to develop a thick and rich description of the phenomenon of teachers’ experiences with work-related stress and resilience. The study results indicate that teachers feel they must be resilient to be successful and persistent in the field of education, and all participants cited that they were resilient daily. Most participants cited top-down initiatives and administration as their most significant sources of stress. At the same time, all participants cited their students as their primary source of motivation and their reason for persisting in the face of workplace challenges and stress.

Available for download on Friday, May 24, 2024