Teacher Burn-out in America:


A Study of One Public and Two Private Schools in Iowa by Svein Pedersen
E-mail: Svein_Pedersen@hotmail.com

A Thesis Presented to the Department of English
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Fall Term 1998

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I wish to thank my advisor, David Mauk for constructive criticism and for patiently
guiding me through the process of writing this thesis. Thanks to Lånekassen for financial
support that enabled me to spend a year in Iowa doing research and writing. Thanks also to
Chris Jones, Maxwell Rainforth, and Terry Wise for technical support and inspiration.
Assistance from the Interlibrary Loans Service at the Fairfield Public Library was invaluable,
and likewise the help that librarian Jim Bates at the MUM Library gave me. The positive
attitudes to my research at the Regina Education Center, the Maharishi School of the Age of
Enlightenment, and the public school were necessary prerequisites to realize this thesis, and I
extend gratitude to all those school officials and the 171 teachers that agreed to provide the
data through questionnaires and interviews.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
The American Dream 6
American Consumerism 7
Education and Social Injustice 7
Blacks and Education 8
Education and Minorities in General 9
Television as Competing Education 10
Media and Education 10
Teachers' Challenges 11

6
CHAPTER 1: HYPOTHESIS, BURN-OUT, AND AMERICAN LIFESTYLES
Research Strategies 13
Students' Background 16
Research Questions and Hypotheses 16
Models For Explaining Burn-out Among Teachers 17
The Term "Burn-out" 18
Burn-out Definitions 18
Amount of Burn-out 19
Burn-out Origins 20
Teachers and the Burn-out Problem 20
Who Leaves and Why 21
Personality Factors Related to Burn-out 22
Teaching Conditions 22
Problems Teachers Face at Work 23
Teachers' Salaries 25
Reforms in Public Education 26
Teacher Satisfaction 28
Characteristics of the Typical Teacher 28
The History of American Elementary and Secondary Education 29
Post-War History of American Education 31
Education Politics After the Early 1980s 33
American Lifestyles 34
"Fast Foods" 34
Suggested Solutions to the Burn-Out Problem 35
The Press and Education 35
Fundamental Problems Attached to the Teaching Profession 36
Education and Public Opinion 37
Concluding Remarks 38
 

13
CHAPTER 2: METHODS, PROCEDURES, FINDINGS, AND INTERVIEWS
Research Design 37
Instrumentation 37
Sampling Techniques 39
Data Collection Methodology 39
Computerization Processes and Statistical Analysis Procedures 41
Numerical Data Testing 41
Categorical Data Testing 42
Comparisons of Means 42
HYPOTHESIZED FINDINGS 43
Analysis 43
Test on Significant Differences Between the Three Schools with Regard to
"Burnout Variables" and "Teacher Background Variables" -- One-way
ANOVA Test 44
Testing for Differences in Distributions of Gender and Teachers’ Marital Status at
the Three Schools -- the Chi-square Test 45
UNHYPOTHESIZED FINDINGS 48
Burn-out and Amount of Teaching Experience. All Groups Combined 48
Teacher Stress and Accomplishment Relative to Grade Level Taught. All Groups
Combined 48
Teacher Stress and Sense of Accomplishment at the Three Schools' Different
Levels 48
Teacher Stress and Accomplishment Relative to Class Size 49
Differences Between Female and Male Teachers. All Groups Combined 49
Differences Between Unmarried and Married Teachers. All Groups
Combined 49
Teachers' Age and Teaching Experience 50
Gender Distribution 50
Teachers’ Marital Status 50
Average Class Size Taught 51
INTERVIEWS 51
Summary of the Telephone Interviews 51
Specific Complaints and Problem Areas at the Public School 52
Specific Complaints and Problem Areas at the Catholic School 53
Specific Complaints and Problem Areas at the Maharishi School of the Age of
Enlightenment (MSAE) 53
Summary of Interview Results 55
Responses to Questions on Personal Lifestyles 56
Summary of In-depth Interviews 58
Public School’s “Jane Doe” 59
Catholic School’s Barb Reilly 60
MSAE's Kate Wetter 61
CHAPTER 3: CONCLUSION
Review 65
Conclusions 66
How Universal is the Situation and Responses of These Groups of
Teachers 69
Suggested Implications of Findings 70
Comparing and Debating the Problem of American Lifestyles Versus Other Factors
Contributing to Teacher Burn-out 72
What the Individual Teacher Who Experiences Work Problems May Do to Improve
His or Her Situation, Especially Regarding Lifestyle Changes 74
What Ought to Be Done Through Changes in Education Politics 75
BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX 1A: MASLACH BURNOUT INVENTORY – EDUCATORS
SURVEY, AND QUESTIONS ON DEMOGRAPHICS
APPENDIX 1B: QUESTIONNAIRE FOR PUBLIC AND CATHOLIC SCHOOL
TEACHERS
APPENDIX 1C: QUESTIONNAIRE FOR THE MSAE TEACHERS
APPENDIX 2: TABLES
INTRODUCTION
 

The American Dream
One driving force behind American culture originated in what has become the concept
of “the American Dream.” According to Max Weber the basis for the American Dream was
laid by Puritanism and the Protestant ethic, which encouraged productivity, hard work, and
material advancement.1 After all, much of the motivation for immigration was embedded in
the desire for material wealth and independence. In combination with Calvinistic theology,
which emphasized predestination and salvation, the stage was set for pursuit of material
success because this was seen as the key to being among the chosen. Perhaps the rationale for
businessmen being among God’s chosen, was that God would not justify reprobates by
granting them prosperity. To the Calvinist, Weber argues,
the calling is not a condition in which an individual is born, but a strenuous and
exacting enterprise to be chosen by himself, and to be pursued with a sense of
religious responsibility. Baptized in the bracing, if icy, waters of Calvinist
theology, the life of business, once regarded as perilous to the soul ... [Latin
phrase] ... acquires a new sanctity. Labor is not merely an economic means: it is a
spiritual end.2
The progress of the nation was for a long time inspired by the urge to conquer nature
and master the environment, in a land that offered great opportunities to millions of
immigrants. Recently, however, in a time of great technological change and stalled economic
progress, a Roper survey (1996) showed that modern Americans perceived specific threats to
the Dream. Illegal drugs ranked highest (79%) among these threats, followed by crime (69%)
and diminishing quality of education (66%).3
Twenty-two years ago nationwide surveys conducted by the National Education
Association found that 78% of teachers surveyed indicated a considerable degree of stress.4
Since then serious problems attached to the teaching profession have surfaced. Still, the ideal
of the American Dream promises success, wealth, contentment, and perhaps fame for all those
who strive for it. Although the foundation for this dream was prepared in the nineteenth
century, it was not formulated into words until 1931. James Truslow Adams then wrote:
that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every
man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement … .It is not a
dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of a social order in which
each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they
are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the
fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.5
To be successful in the United States one had to attain the American Dream, and
success has usually meant making money and translating it into personal satisfaction, status,
or even fame. But success has meant not just being wealthy but achieving material well-being,
advancing beyond the occupation and income of one’s forebears, even if this meant home
1 Joseph L. DeVitis and John M. Rich, The Success Ethic, Education, and the American Dream, (Albany, NY,
1996), 1.
2 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, (New York, 1958), 2-3.
3 Joseph L. DeVitis and John M. Rich, The Success Ethic, Education, and the American Dream, (Albany, NY,
1996), 8.
4 "Prevents Teacher Burnout." Brochure obtained at the Maharishi University of Management Education
Department, June 1998.
5 Ibid., 4.
6
ownership or a college education for their children only. It has also meant having a career that
allowed for continuous or at least notable progress, climbing the social ladder, and making
more and more money. Like so many other professions, teaching developed over a long
period of time. Unfortunately, teachers have become accustomed to lower status and less
reward for their education and work than most occupations with comparable academic
preparation. Also, teachers have become forced to face problems in their jobs resulting from a
series of unfortunate conditions in society. The situation deteriorated so much that the two
most recent presidents of the US made it one of the most important items on their agendas. In
the following there will be brief descriptions of some of the most important sources of
difficulties that educators have to endure.
American Consumerism
Through education the individual gains knowledge and socialized. Teachers are
important factors in this process and great responsibility thus rests on them. So the question
therefore becomes, are the teachers to blame for the failure of so many to adapt to social
expectations, perhaps best reflected in the nation's high crime rate? And how responsible are
teachers for the lack of adequate standard of living for a large percentage of the population?
In the mid-nineties, 20% of all American children were poor by definition,6 a sign that much
remains to be done to achieve just social conditions. Through the media teachers are often
reminded of these questions, and they have to take the criticism from society that follows.
American culture is consumer culture, and Americans find themselves subjected to
advertising that urges them to identify with brand names like Coca Cola, Disney, Nike, and
GM. The average American is exposed to a full hour of advertising every day. An example of
aggressive promotion of products is that the Channel One program in public schools offers
free computer equipment to schools in poor areas, in exchange for a mandatory daily
television program complete with commercial advertising. The message conveyed by
advertising is that the consumer should want more and more. Unlike the situation in most
other countries shopping in the US is facilitated by stores that are open 24 hours a day and/or
seven days per week. Television, home shopping channels, interactive on-line services, mailorder
catalogs, and 800-telephone numbers everyday features of life. All layers and cultures
within society are affected, and the pressure to buy and consume is almost omnipresent. The
free enterprise spirit of America promises everybody the opportunity to become successful
and enjoy the free and good life that the Founding Fathers wanted the people to have. The
production and consumption of goods fit in with this philosophy, and this creates millions of
jobs, allowing for a high standard of living for the majority of the population. Many
Americans have begun to question if more is always better. The debate seems more and more
to depend on values. There is a strong desire for material security and personal freedom, but
many have begun to wonder if all important needs in life can be satisfied by buying more and
more goods. Betsy Taylor found that as many as 28% of those surveyed in a poll reported
having taken a voluntary decrease in income sometime during the past five years to reduce
stress and gain more balance in life.7
Education and Social Injustice
In the classroom teachers feel many of the effects of unfortunate social conditions.
Equal opportunity for all became a major social issue under president Lyndon B. Johnson in
the mid-sixties, and has since been an important gauge to counteract unjust social practices.
For education to present equal opportunity to every student, just principles will have to
6 Susan Welch et. al., Understanding American Government, (St. Paul, 1995), 521.
7 Betsy Taylor, “Poverty, Race, and Consumerism,” in Poverty and Race, July/Aug. 1997.
[http://www.newdream.org/discuss/taylor.html]
7
govern society. In 1996 William Proefiedt pointed out two important inequalities in the US
educational system: per-student expenditures by schools, and family income.8 Schools in
affluent areas can afford much higher expenses per student than schools in poor areas can, and
the distribution of wealth among American families is highly uneven. The principle of equal
opportunity in education seems to be sacrificed on the altar of success-through-hard-work so
central to the American Dream.
During times when the economy slowed down, the competition from abroad increased,
and technological change become increasingly vital. The chance of success in the labor
market therefore diminished for many and especially for non-white minorities, causing a
lowering of standard of living to affect many people. Business historian Alfred Chandler
asserted in 1991 that “the past two decades ... [have brought] the greatest crisis of American
industry by far.”9 During the 1980s wealth in the United States increased tremendously, but
this benefited mostly the richest one percent of the population. This happened as attaining the
Dream seemed more and more unrealistic, not just in inner-city ghettos and among blue-collar
workers, but also in middle-class suburbs and farm townships. Unemployment reached 7.5
percent in the early 1990s and the hopes of fulfilling the Dream faded among younger
workers. Even though the US as a nation has enjoyed considerable economic growth in the
1990s, the effects of earlier economic setbacks have contributed to remind many that they
have a vulnerable and weak position in society that jeopardizes their future. It takes time to
erase the memory of injustice, and it takes a concerted effort among people on all levels--not
only politicians--to ensure equal opportunity in education.
Blacks and Education
The largest among the minorities in the US, the African-Americans, have made some
progress in America in the past generation. More blacks complete high school and graduate
from college, and they join the ranks of the middle class in greater numbers than ever before.
However, the average black’s income compared with the average white’s is only 57 percent,
which is less than in 1979, when it was 59. Also, in the media there is a tendency to an
increasingly hostile depiction of poor, urban youth, of which blacks make up the majority,10
and African-Americans are jailed almost four times more frequently than whites.11
Education is sometimes portrayed as the ladder out of poverty, but the school system
serves the already privileged better than the less fortunate. Often children of colored parents
and low-income whites are tracked into the most deficient and demoralizing schools and
classrooms because they live in poor areas, and blacks have a history of poor academic
achievement in the US. Many researchers believe that African Americans have a distinct
cultural background that has to be recognized before barriers in education can be overcome.
Other scholars contend that environmental and social conditions are the primary cause of poor
academic performance. Some scientists point to underlying ideologies about who and what to
value, which reflect a hidden curriculum. Cornell contended that this hidden curriculum
encourages conformity, docility, and separates students according to social class background,
gender, and race. The stated curriculum, however, supports diversity, critical thinking, and
equal opportunity.12 The teacher, as an expert, implements the hidden curriculum by being an
example of how to learn and live to serve our society the best way. All of these ideas may
8 Joseph L. DeVitis and John M. Rich, The Success Ethic, Education, and the American Dream, (Albany, NY,
1996), 6.
9 Alfred Chandler, “A Chat With the Dean of American Business History,” in Financial World, June 25, 1991,
42.
10 M. Ludwig, “Channel Surfing: Race Talk and the Destruction of Today’s Youth,” in Educational Leadership,
Vol. 55, No. 7, 1998, 88-89.
11 Ben J. Wattenberg, “The Halting Progress of Blacks in the Last Generation,” U.S. News and World Report,
Jan. 22, 1990, 28.
8
explain fully or in part why black students are low achievers in the classroom, and why the
need for bridging the gap is pressing.
The nature of these challenges cause unfortunate work conditions for many teachers.
In inner cities teachers have endured pressure on the job making their work comparable with
the most stressful occupations. This in combination with many other unfortunate aspects of
teaching such as long hours, expectations to take over parents' role, low pay, etc. have caused
many educators to quit to have other careers or because they got ill.
Education and Minorities in General
Other non-white minorities face problems similar to those of blacks. Additionally,
many do not have English as their native language. Due to interference of their native
language, they are used to expressing themselves in terms that they know will not be accepted
as appropriate in a classroom situation. Therefore, the essence of their arguments might get
lost because they have to focus too much on speaking correct English. It takes time to acquire
oral and written fluency in a new language, and as time goes by many foreign born students
will lose self-esteem and judge himself or herself as not clever enough to achieve good
grades. They find themselves engulfed in emotional turmoil, and do not dare to ask questions
or engage in dialogue. The fear of being judged as stupid and academically unfit often makes
minority students choose not to participate in classroom conversations even when they can
contribute significantly. A successful high school senior articulated his experiences from the
classroom situation in the following way: “I remember how nervous I was. My face got hot.
My hands shook. I would put my hands under the table so no one could see. I felt so
threatened, and I used to go see [the counselors]. I have always felt suffocated by being
inhibited–felt oppressed by my lack of articulateness. Growth for me was very important.
[But,] I was so frustrated at not being able to grasp the material. It was like a foreign
language. The readings were like holding my breath and diving into ten foot of water.”13
Traditionally, non-white minorities have been less educated than the rest of the
American people. High academic achievement for minorities means that they actually
distance themselves from their own background, moving toward an intimidating Caucasiandominated
society where they anticipate that they will not be welcome. Therefore some
minority students feel safer by giving up on school and reverting to their own culture. In other
words, they refuse to or at least are less able to conform to standards which to them are
foreign and set by citizens by whom they feel judged, condemned, and threatened.
As a general rule the teacher should preferably belong to the same ethnic group as the
students he or she teaches, perhaps especially in elementary school. Often classes are
multiracial making this ideal unrealistic. However, it is important that minority students can
associate with teachers of the same cultural background to some degree. Non-white minority
students today make up more than 25% of the children enrolled in public school, and this
figure rises steadily. Minority teachers made up only 17% of the teaching force in 1980, and
that proportion dropped to around 10% in 1988.14 In 1996 the same figure was only 9.3.15 At
private schools minority teachers made up an even smaller share--just 8.1% in 1996.16 This
unfortunate situation in American schools generates an array of problems for both students
12 T. Cornell, “Narrative Insights into African-American School Experiences: Combating the Culture of
Defeatism,” in International Journal of Educational Reform, Vol. 6, No. 3, 1997, 324-25.
13 James H. Cones, III, John F. Noonan, and Denise Janha, Teaching Minority Students, (San Francisco,
Washington, London, 1983), 8.
14 Barry A. Farber, Crisis in Education. Stress and Burnout in the American Teacher, (San Francisco, 1991), 99-
100.
15 National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1997, U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Table 69.
16 Ibid., Table 69.
9
and teachers that would have been eliminated if the teaching profession attracted more
teachers from minority cultures.
Television as Competing Education
In 1979 Neil Postman described television and school as two competing learning
systems, and he suggested that TV was rapidly becoming “the first curriculum.” 17
Consequently, he exhorted educators to make sure that students study the effects of TV, its
biases, and its relation to learning. Before 1980 the influence of the family was considered a
major factor for socialization of youths, and the influence of classroom learning less so.
Today, this situation is changed due to the much increased impact of television. Mary
Hepburn reported in 1998 that more than 99% of American households have at least one
television set, and children spend an average of 28 hours per week in front of a TV set.18 This
way children are exposed to much violence--the Pew Research Center in 1997 surveyed the
public and showed that 75% of Americans thought that TV presented too much violence.19
Along with news and violence, the electronic media flash vibrant ads, lively colorful
animations, violent fearful crimes, shocking explosions, and hours of programming on
celebrities in life and after death. Obviously, the traditional educational system finds a very
powerful competitor in television, and this may explain in part why American twelfth graders
in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) compared with students
from 21 countries ranked at or near the bottom. The president of the National Education
Association, Bob Chase’s comment was: “Is it a surprise that US 12th graders do much less
homework and watch more TV than their foreign peers?”20
Media and Education
Overall, according to Mary Hepburn, educators in the US have been slow to realize
the media’s powerful effect on the public.21 They have been quite isolated from the research
done by psychologists, mass communication specialists, sociologists, and medical researchers
who are studying the effects of television and other electronic media, on young people.
Children are constantly bombarded by the media to create desires at the same time as they are
increasingly used to market the products of desire. The stereotypes created makes it necessary
to analyze the effect this has on the young generation. Compared with the media-created
glamour, time spent in school may become a form of "dead-time," causing many students to
develop negative attitudes to education and societal norms generally. In order to combat this
trend, teachers need to be able to teach how to analyze the media’s stereotypical images. This
is generally not part of teachers’ education, and this unfortunate fact may contribute to
increased disciplinary problems in the classroom and student apathy.
However, the age of communication also presents new and positive challenges to
educational planning. No longer is it enough to have a VCR on a cart in the classroom.
Telephone lines allow for direct and instantaneous contact with the rest of the world.
"Connectivity" is the key word for designers of the future classrooms. Integrated technology
systems (ITS) are central systems already installed at some schools. These provide
17 Neil Postman, “The First Curriculum: Comparing School and Television,” in Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 61, No.
3, 1979, 163-168.
18 Mary Hepburn, “The Power Of the Electronic Media In the Socialization Of Young Americans: Implication
For Social Studies Education,” in Social Studies, Vol. 89, No. 2, 1998, 72.
19 Pew Research Center, “Optimism About TV Ratings,” January 1997 News Interest Index.
[http://peoplepress.org/jan97mor.htm]
20 Bob Chase, “Still a Nation at Risk” in NEA Today, Apr. 12, 1998.
[http://www.nea.org/society]
21 Mary Hepburn, “The Power Of the Electronic Media In the Socialization Of Young Americans: Implication
For Social Studies Education,” in Social Studies, Vol. 89, No. 2, 1998, 71-76.
10
coordinated operation of video, voice, and data for each classroom from a central location.
The design of the classroom itself is important in order to utilize the technology well.
Activities in a typical classroom vary widely, and the equipment will be very sophisticated
compared with traditional teaching tools: in the centrally located control center there will be
communications hardware, file servers, modem pool, telephone switch, master clock, video
system, VCRs, laserdiscs, satellite equipment, and cable-TV feeds. Each classroom teacher
will operate a control panel along with teaching in traditional ways that depend on the
individual teacher’s style of instruction.
Systematic and successful use of the new possibilities requires that teachers actively
involve themselves in the planning of schools, and that they are educated to operate the
system.22 So far teacher training is lagging behind, and this is regrettable because this is not a
choice that one has--one is simply forced too join up with the electronic evolution that is
taking place. Students need to be served and educated, and if this does not happen in accord
with the needs in the surrounding world, schooling will suffer from appearing old-fashioned
and irrelevant.
Teachers' Challenges
The problems mentioned above may sound familiar to many teachers but they
represent only some of the challenges faced by educators, especially in the public sector. The
overall impression one gets from studying the literature is that teaching conditions have
worsened over the past few decades. Indeed, new problems in education have arisen. Many
people may not realize how much worse the situation has become, even though sometimes
exaggerations have been allowed to dominate. Gold and Roth refer to a specific study that
may illustrate well the general message conveyed to the public. While the main problems
teachers had with students in the 1940s were of an "innocent" nature like talking out of turn,
chewing gum, making noises, running in the halls, etc., the situation had deteriorated severely
by 1990. The old problems pale beside the new problems, which include the use of drugs and
alcohol, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, and assault.23 However, doubt has been cast that
such claims are accurate, and such assumptions may contribute to perceiving the situation as
too exacerbated. Berliner and Biddle addressed the above-mentioned "research results" that
supposedly originated in comparisons of the public’s lists of top school problems in the
1940s and the 1980s:
No such surveys had ever been conducted. Indeed, when O’Neill was finally able to
trace the story back to its roots, he found that it had been expressed, about 1982, as a
set of personal opinions by one ‘T. Cullen Davies of Fort Worth, a born-again
Christian who devised the lists as a fundamentalist attack on public schools. Then, by
a complex process of misreporting and advocacy, the lists were repeated, elaborated,
and converted into ’surveys’ by other members of the Religious Right (Tim LeHay,
Phyllis Schlafly, and Mel and Norma Gabler), officials from the state of California,
and then - literally - hundreds of different newspaper, magazine, and television
accounts. And given wide circulation as news stories by the press, the tale of
worsening school problems has since been repeated by many columnists, leading
federal politicians (such as William Bennett), education officials (such as Joseph
Fernandez, former chancellor of New York City schools), and academics (such as
Derek Bok, former president of Harvard). Indeed, O’Neill suggests that these lists
now have become "the most quoted ‘results’ of educational research, and possibly the
22 Steve Shotwell, “Connecting to the Future. Part IV - A Blueprint For the Electronic Classroom,” in Electronic
Learning, Vol. 13, No. 4, 1994, 14-15.
23 Yvonne Gold and Robert A. Roth, Teachers Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout: The Professional
Health Solution, (Bristol, PA, 1993), 5.
11
most influential." Thus, once again, public schools were given a black eye because of
media "feeding frenzy."24
24 David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis, (Reading, MA, 1995), 169-70.
12
CHAPTER 1
HYPOTHESES, BURN-OUT,
AND AMERICAN LIFESTYLES
The preceding describes some major historical factors and cultural innovations that
have powerful effects on American education. These effects are integral parts of how
students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and society perceive and evaluate the
school system, the schools themselves, and the teachers that work in them. Schools are
constantly influenced by change in their environment and by changing norms in society at
large. It may seem as if technological progress is so rapid that it is impossible for educators to
keep up-to-date, but ultimately they must if they are to survive and thrive in one of the most
important occupations in society.
Chapter 1 of this thesis addresses a number of issues within education. First and
foremost it explains the limited scope of this study and what the hypothesis is. Next follow
definitions of the term "burnout": how scholars perceive and explain burnout; how it relates
to teachers’ work situations in terms of its causes, its symptoms; who gets it, who leaves the
profession as a result, and who remains on the job. Also, teachers’ working conditions are
analyzed. Furthermore, characteristics of the American teacher and how satisfied teachers are
with their occupation, are portrayed. The history of American education--both private and
public--is narrated in general terms in order to understand how it developed into today’s
situation which many would describe as critical. Thereafter follows a section on educational
politics and how the incumbent president has tried to remedy the problems and innovate new
and better conditions for students and teachers. Americans’ living habits are known to reflect
sedentary lifestyles related to overweight and obesity and subsequent health problems for the
nation, and the relationship between this cultural phenomenon and teacher burnout is
explored. Also, the way the press portrays American primary and secondary education, and
how conditions created long ago for teachers have created subtle but important ramifications
for today’s teachers, deserve attention. Finally an account of the status given to education and
teachers will be given.
Chapter 2 is dedicated to the statistical methods and procedures and statistical
findings relevant to the hypotheses of this study. Also, an account of unhypothesized findings
relevant to the topic of this thesis is given, as for instance job stress and amount of teaching
experience, differences between the sexes relative to teacher burnout, and the relationship
between class size and teacher stress. Some teacher demographics are also included.
Extensive interviews on the telephone and face-to-face were also essential parts of this study.
These helped clarify in-depth conditions at the three schools and the results are described
toward the end of the chapter.
The last chapter gives an overview of the preceding parts of this thesis followed by
the conclusions derived from the statistical analysis. Also, implications of the findings are
suggested along with a discussion of how valid the findings in this study are in a national
context. Furthermore, attention is given to other possible causes of teacher burn-out, and what
the individual teacher may do to prevent burnout from occurring. Finally, a professor Donald
C. Orlich epitomizes what a practical approach to resolve problems of academic achievement
and teacher burnout could be.
The topic for this thesis was inspired by the hypothesized differences of quality of
teaching environments in public and private schools in the United States, and the lack of
strategies for combating burn-out among school teachers. The quality of elementary and
secondary schools varies tremendously according to geographical and social conditions. The
private sector includes a wide array of schools from elite schools for the wealthy to Catholic
13
schools for those who see the value of religious education. On the other hand, the public
school system has to provide educational service to all those who cannot afford to, or do not
want to, send their children to private schools.
Certain problems associated with the teaching profession have led to a number of
studies on burn-out among American teachers. The teaching profession is one of the largest
and most visible, and it has been subjected to increased societal pressure to correct social
problems among students. Additionally, because so many teachers have decided to leave their
jobs, recruitment has been a problem, along with ensuing shortages in certain subject areas.
Potentially there will be a shortage of teachers in the future if the problems are not heeded
properly.Burn-out among American teachers was recognized as a major problem in the early
1970s, and with that began a growing body of scientific data. Numerous causes have been
mapped, and generally these are found in the educators’ working environments, including
problems such as disillusionment, lack of recognition, feelings of limited freedom and
isolation, unruly students, and student violence. One of the discoveries was also that teacher
burn-out did not start twenty-five years ago, but that it had been part of the teaching
profession all along. What happened in the 1970s was that the scientific community became
aware of a problem that deserved attention in order to 1) avoid physical and mental stress for
teachers as a result of prolonged occupational stress, 2) improve the quality of their lives, and
3) avoid an impairment of teacher-student relationships that was damaging to the quality of
teaching. Students’ behavior and academic achievement are directly related to teachers’
satisfaction.25 In addition, factors such as administrative and supervisors’ support, parental
involvement, teachers’ age and years of teaching experience, teachers’ sense of autonomy,
and grade level taught, all have influence on teacher satisfaction and school culture. Teacher
burn-out reflects a fundamental challenge in the educational system, and if it could be
substantially reduced, the quality of American elementary and secondary education would
benefit greatly from it, both in terms of satisfaction and productivity. Some researchers have
recommended different means and techniques to prevent and cure the symptoms of teacher
burn-out--to improve school culture--but as the problem is still substantial, more research is
needed. The question is therefore, after years of debating, if it is time to create solid
recommendations and try out new ways that might provide solutions to a problem which has
been very costly for society.
Traditions from the Far East teach how to dive within one’s own mind and achieve a
state of detachment from outer influences. One of several meditation techniques,
Transcendental Meditation (TM) was launched in the US in the late 1950s as a means to
reduce stress and improve one’s ability to cope with challenging situations. Since then, more
than one million have learnt how to practice this means to achieve increased relaxation. No
other mental technique for deep rest and relaxation has been so thoroughly researched by
scientists. Since initial research in 1968 around 600 studies have been conducted on the
effects of TM on numerous individual and social factors, such as quality of rest, anxiety,
depression, sleep disorders, tension, smoking, the use of alcohol and drugs, overweight, and
cardiovascular disease.26 Because all these also could be symptoms of "burn-out," the findings
25 Steve Dinham, "Enhancing the Quality of Teacher Satisfaction," paper presented at the National Conference of
the Australian College of Education, Launceston, Tasmania. Sept. 28-30, 1994, 22 pages, and Steve Dinham and
Catherine Scott, "Modeling Teacher Satisfaction: Findings from 892 Teaching Staff at 72 Schools," paper
presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, March 24-28,
1997, 21 pages.
26 Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program, Collected Papers, Volume 1, edited by D.W.
Orme-Johnson, J.T. Farrow, and L.H. Domash, Seelisberg, Switzerland, 1976, and Scientific Research on the
Transcendental Meditation Program, Collected Papers, Volumes 2-5, edited by R. Chalmers, G. Clements, H.
Schenklun, and M. Weinless, Fairfield, IA, 1990-1991.
14
in these areas might indicate that TM also has an effect on this syndrome. Five volumes of
collected papers have been compiled, covering psychology, physiology, and sociology.
Research Strategies
Despite the supporting evidence, TM has been incorporated into only a few
educational settings. Until now, however, there has been no research undertaken to find out if
the practice of TM helps combat burn-out. The advantages of such research could be quite
valuable in case of positive findings. Due to the need for new knowledge for how to prevent
and combat burn-out, this study also aims at adding to the body of scientific knowledge in this
field. To achieve this, a group of TM practicing school teachers is compared with two other
groups of teachers who do not practice this technique. The three groups of teachers represent
almost the entire faculty bodies at three different schools in Southeastern Iowa. All the
"meditators" work at the same private school, and this group does not include "nonmeditators."
The two other schools include one Catholic school and one public school. This
way the effect of private (Catholic) versus public school will be controlled for. This strategy
has five important drawbacks: 1) the TM practicing teachers in this study all belong to the
same group. Therefore this study indicates only results pertaining to uniform practice of TM
by all members of a faculty body. 2) The meditating teachers are compared with only Catholic
school teachers from the private sector and none of the several other categories (Christian,
elite, military, etc). Also, 3) the geographical area (Southeastern Iowa) is so limited that the
findings will have little relevance for teachers in many other parts in the nation, and in
particular for inner-city schools. Moreover, 4) this study does not indicate results of the
practice of TM among teachers in public school. Lastly, 5) the question how valid the findings
will be for other Catholic school and private school settings in other geographically
comparable areas of the US will remain unanswered. Therefore, more research is needed to
answer the question of how universal the findings in this study are.
There were two main reasons why this particular strategy was adopted. 1) Initially the
author tried to locate TM practicing teachers in both private and public schools spread all over
the nation. Due to the lack of information about these individuals' addresses and telephone
numbers, and the problem of locating a similar group of "non-meditators" through random
sampling, this strategy was abandoned. A particular problem with regard to finding the nonmeditating
teachers was that schools or teacher organizations are not in the position to give
away names, addresses, or telephone numbers for teachers. 2) By choosing the particular
school where all the teachers practice TM, only two other groups of non-meditating teachers
were needed--one from the private and one from the public sector. The advantage with this
strategy was that the practice of TM could be compared with non-meditating professional
teachers in both sectors.
Thus three schools were chosen for this research. One of these is a medium-sized
private school in Southeastern Iowa where all the faculty members practice TM. Needed next
were a comparable public and a "non-TM" private school that were willing to be compared
with each other and the one where TM was practiced. Fortunately, among the very few private
schools in the area, there was a Catholic school where the attitude to the research was
positive. The occurrence of public schools was no problem, indeed, and fortunately enough it
did not take long to find one where the superintendent welcomed the idea of being surveyed
on teacher burn-out and contrasted with the two private schools.
This comparative and objective study will assess levels of teacher burn-out and its
potential causes, and examine the three schools’ cultures. The literature on teacher burn-out
formed the background of the research, and especially important have been the books by the
following authors (listed in alphabetical order): D.C. Berliner and B.J. Biddle (1995), A.J.
Cedoline (1982), Joseph L. DeVitis and J.M. Rich (1996), Barry A. Farber (1991), and C.
15
Maslach, S.E. Jackson, and M.E. Leiter (1996). Also, the findings reported in scientific
journals by these scientists have been very valuable: W.G. Cunningham (1988), M.B.
Anderson and Edward F. Iwanicki (1984), T.J. Coates and C.E. Thoresen (1976), P. Holt,
M.J. Fine, and N. Tollefsen (1987), and Richard L. Schwab and Edward F. Iwanicki (1982).
Moreover, thirty extensive interviews with some of the teachers helped identify possible
causes of the burn-out in the schools under study. The questions were asked over the
telephone were based on the literature on teacher burn-out. Finally, face-to-face interviews
with one teacher from each of the three schools provided even more detailed knowledge
about teacher dissatisfaction.
Students' Background
Due to confidentiality concerns the identity of the public school cannot be revealed.
The city where it is located is a small town. Parents belong to the middle-middle and lowermiddle
classes, and higher education among them is not very common. Immigration to the
area has not been nearly as common as in Iowa City and Fairfield. Two-thirds of the students
at this school go on to continued education after graduation in 1997.
Iowa City hosts a major university and some major industrial plants. The parents of
the students at the Catholic school (the Regina Education Center) belong to the middle-middle
and upper-middle classes. Most of them, approximately 75%, have moved into the area from
other parts of the country to take high-income jobs. Therefore these students have been
academically much more advantaged than the ones at the public school, and as a rule, nearly
all go on to college after graduation.
Almost all the parents of the students at the Maharishi School of the Age of
Enlightenment (MSAE) have moved to Fairfield from other areas of the nation and from other
countries. Their socioeconomic situation varies--some have very high incomes, but many of
the students live with single parents who have low incomes. The low incomes make many
parents work as teachers at MSAE in lieu of paying its high tuition. Perhaps the most unusual
fact about this school is that all of the parents, students, and teachers practice TM, and this
school may therefore be termed an innovative private school. The students at this school are
advantaged because many of the parents are successful business people and/or have academic
degrees. Traditionally, almost all the students at MSAE go on to college after graduation.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Quality of school culture and teachers' degree of job satisfaction are intimately
connected. A good school culture may be defined as one in which students generally are
academic high-achievers, and therefore provide much of what the teachers need for their
sense of fulfillment. This rationale has been strongly supported by the findings of Steve
Dinham in 1994, that teachers' greatest source of satisfaction clearly is students' academic
achievement.27 Consequently, academic low-achievers naturally will erode the foundation for
teacher happiness and a good school culture. The most common reason why teachers choose
their occupation is the unselfish desire to help students grow, and this fact has remained
unchanged since 1971 when the question was asked the first time in an annual survey of
teachers performed by NEA Research.28 Therefore, teachers need to see that their students
grow and develop academically and socially. However, there are dynamic interactions at work
27 Steve Dinham, "Enhancing the Quality of Teacher Satisfaction," paper presented at the National Conference of
the Australian College of Education, Launceston, Tasmania. Sept. 28-30, 1994, 22 pages, and Steve Dinham and
Catherine Scott, "Modeling Teacher Satisfaction: Findings from 892 Teaching Staff at 72 Schools," paper
presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, March 24-28,
1997, 21 pages.
28 NEA Research 1995-96: Highlights, "Status of the American Public School Teacher. Sept. 1997."
[http://www.nea.org/neatoday/9709/status.html]
16
between teachers, supervisors, administration, students, parents, the local community, their
personal financial situation, and the school's financial situation, and these have to be
accounted for when trying to determine specific factors that contribute to teacher satisfaction.
Modifying cultural aspects of life, such as habits of eating, exercising, and resting may
represent significant one means of preventing burn-out or improving a teacher's ability to
cope with his or her work situation. Some researchers have been aware of this, but most have
neglected it. Lifestyle habits is one area over which the individual teacher may have control.
Wayne Eastman in 1996 presented a paper at the Annual Conference of the Association of
Canadian Community Colleges where he emphasized the importance for teachers to maintain
healthy dietary and exercise habits to achieve physical well-being: "- the ability to carry out
daily tasks, develop cardiovascular fitness, maintain adequate nutrition and proper body fat
level and avoid abusing drugs and alcohol or using tobacco products. In general, physical
health is an investment in positive lifestyle habits."29 The author of this thesis expected that
there was awareness among some teachers about this, and that these therefore actively tried to
strengthen their resistance toward burn-out through attention to their lifestyles in terms of
dietary and exercise habits. Therefore, a section on personal lifestyles was included in the
questionnaire that was used for the telephone interviews to possibly indicate if this had an
impact on burn-out.
A central research question of this study is, what were the causes of teacher
dissatisfaction in the institutional cultures of the three schools in this study? Would there be
more burn-out among the public school teachers than among those in the private schools?
And would the TM practicing teachers have the lowest degree of burn-out? The hypotheses of
this study are: 1) The students in the private schools, being from higher socioeconomic strata
and more academically oriented than the students at the public school would achieve higher
than the students at the public school. Higher academic orientation in turn should lead to
higher teacher satisfaction at the Catholic school and MSAE, than at the public school. 2)
Furthermore, the practice of TM at MSAE help combat burn-out, and therefore the teachers
who practice this form of meditation, ought to show lower levels of burn-out on the three
subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey (MBI-ES),30 than the teachers
at the two other schools in this study. This research has two null hypotheses: That there might
be no difference between the qualities of the three school’s cultures, and therefore no
differences in the levels of teacher burn-out; and that the practice of TM would prove to have
no effect on teacher burn-out and so would not cause any difference in burn-out at MSAE
compared with the two other schools.
Models For Explaining Burn-out Among Teachers
Several approaches have been applied in order to explain the term "burn-out." Herbert
Freudenberger takes a clinical approach in his work, while Maslach and Pines use a socialpsychological
approach. Carrying their work further, Cary Cherniss views the problem from
an organizational perspective. Finally, giving consideration to American society's traditions,
values, and history, Seymour Sarason and others conclude that social and historical
perspectives are of major importance in clarifying the causes of burn-out. There is reason to
assume that the findings of these researchers have a degree of validity and explain in part why
burn-out occurs. These authors therefore represent the conventional wisdom in this field.
Even though the research that has been performed has been done in the public sector, it is
logical that causes of teacher burn-out are universal and occur in the private sector for the
same reasons. However, there may be differences between the two sectors in terms of
29 Wayne Eastman, “Avoiding Faculty Burn-out Through the Wellness Program,” paper presented to the
Association of Canadian Community Colleges Annual Conference, May 26-28, 1996, 8.
30 The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey (MBI-ES) is a questionnaire developed to measure burnout.
17
intensity and frequency that are difficult to control for. An example of this may be that in a
school with ethnic homogeneity there would be no obvious racism even though it could very
well be latent. In the public sector teaching conditions vary greatly due to residential, race,
and economic segregation, and according to region of the country. Urban schools have more
burn-out than rural ones. Private schools offer more uniform teaching conditions which might
prevent latent problems from becoming manifest. This is probably one of the most important
facts which makes much of the public tend to believe that many private schools are better than
public schools.
The private sector has more freedom to create its own curricula than does its public
counterpart. This allows for incorporation of religious and moral norms to strengthen school
culture. Also, private schools do not have to accept students that do not conform to standards
set by the school. These factors probably contribute to more acceptable student behavior in
the private schools in this study, and therefore to better working environments for teachers.
However, private schools have disadvantages in some areas compared with public ones. For
example, salaries are considerably lower, and pension plans are not as good as in public
schools. Furthermore, promotion possibilities are less due smaller administrations. Therefore
teachers’ experiences in the two types of schools most likely differ, something the National
Center for Education Statistics concluded in 1997.31
The Term "Burn-out"
Scientists used the term "burn-out" for the first time in the nineteen-sixties to describe
the effects of chronic drug abuse. However, it did not become a popular term until after
Herbert Freudenberger, a New York-based psychologist, used it to describe the state he
personally experienced from too much work. In addition to working full time as a
psychologist during the day, he volunteered at night at a clinic that treated drug addicts. In
1973 he gave an account of what he called the "burn-out syndrome" in a professional
psychology journal. Even though others used the term earlier, Freudenberger’s use of it made
it a household word. Then Christina Maslach and Ayala Pines (colleagues at the University of
California at Berkley) and Cary Cherniss (at University of Michigan) popularized it by
applying it to the important social issue of burn-out.
Burn-out Definitions
Researchers have defined "burn-out" in a variety of ways since the early seventies, and
they have used it technically to describe a stress-related syndrome. Ayala Pines and Elliot
Aronson posited that "an array of symptoms accompany 'burn-out,' including physical
depletion, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, disillusionment, and by development of
negative self-concept and negative attitudes [sic] toward work, people involved in the work,
and life itself. In its extreme form burn-out represents a breaking point beyond which the
ability to cope with the environment is severely hampered.”32 Christina Maslach suggests that
professionals “lose all concern, all emotional feelings for the persons they work with and
come to treat them in detached or even dehumanized ways.”33 Mattingly reports that “burn-out
... is a subtle pattern of symptoms, behaviors, and attitudes that are unique for every person.”34
Freudenberger and Richelson discuss burn-out as a “state of fatigue or frustration brought
31 National Center for Education Statistics, “Statistical Analysis Report: Job Satisfaction Among America's
Teachers: Effects of Workplace Conditions, Background Characteristics, and Teacher Compensation. Aug.
1997.” [http://nces.ed.gov/pubs97/97471.html]
32 Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson, Career Burn-out. Causes and Cures, (New York and London, 1988), 9-10.
33 Christina Maslach, "Burned Out.” in Human Behavior, Vol. 5, 1976, 16.
34 M.A. Mattingly, "Sources of Stress and Burn-out in Professional Child Care work," in Child Care Quarterly,
Vol. 6, No. 2, 1977, 131.
18
about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected
reward.”35
All of these descriptions have in common that burn-out incapacitates the victims, and
life becomes extremely difficult to cope with. The term "hopelessness" may be an appropriate
description of the experiences of burn-out. According to Gerald Loren Fishkin, burn-out has
its root in stress, which may be defined as "any demand--internal, external, or both--that
forces a person to mentally and physically readjust in an effort to maintain a sense of balance
in life.”36 He identified three stages of stress that lead to burn-out; 1) the alarm stage--a
stressor must be warded off, 2) the resistance stage--we attempt to "learn to live with" the
stressor, and 3) the exhaustion stage--the "survival strategy" is proved not to work, and over a
period of time psychological and physical exhaustion set in. This definition is more specific
with regard to the mechanics of burn-out, and therefore provides information which might
help a potential victim of burn-out to recognize his or her situation at an early stage.
A "state of burn-out" is not a fixed state. Rather burn-out occurs on a scale ranging from
little burn-out to severely burned out. Little burn-out is normal and has to be accepted as
unavoidable for many teachers, while a state of being severely burned out requires medical
attention. The definitions above may represent the conventional wisdom about burn-out, and
these will in broad terms be applied to when treating the data in this research. The works by
Christina Maslach have been essential in conveying the data for this research, but her
perceptions of burn-out are in accord with those of other recognized scholars. Also, the subjects
under study are all members of groups and therefore individuals will not be in focused. The
average degree of burn-out within groups is at the core of this study and forms the basis for the
analysis and conclusions.
Amount of Burn-out
There are no accurate estimates for how many teachers are burned out. One reason for
this is that there is no common, agreed-upon definition that suggests when a person is burned
out. Another reason is that there has been no systematic mapping of the problem on a nationwide
scale. Often educators wrestle with the symptoms for years without letting anybody know.
Estimates are likely to vary with school district, ethnic mix of faculty and students, region of the
county, the current state of educational reform in the districts, and, as we shall see, other factors.
However, some studies report figures for stress and burn-out among teachers. In 1985
Litt and Turk reported that 79% of public school teachers felt that their jobs was a contributing
source of stress.37 That same year Nagy and Davies noted that about one-third of the junior high
school teachers and one-tenth of the elementary teachers were experiencing high burn-out and
that environment generally seemed to have a great impact on the experience of burn-out.38 Over
a decade earlier the National Education Association determined that 78% of the teachers were
reporting moderate to considerable levels of stress.39 The usefulness of approximate figures like
these is obviously limited. In 1991 Dworkin found that burn-out depended upon whether or not
teachers were experiencing new stresses due to educational reform, and that burn-out rates
varied between one-third and two-thirds of a district's educators.40 All of these estimates tell us
35 Herbert J. Freudenberger, Burn-out: The High Cost of High Achievement, (New York, 1980), 13.
36 Gerald Loren Fishkin, American Dream, American Burn-out: How to Cope When It All Gets to Be Too Much,
(Grawn, MI, 1994), 67.
37 M.D. Litt and D.C. Turk, “Sources of Stress and Dissatisfaction In Experienced High School Teachers,” in
Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 78, 1985, 178.
38 Steven Nagy and Lorraine G. Davis, “Burn-out: A Comparative Analysis of Personality and Environmental
Variables,” in Psychological Reports, Vol. 57, 1985, 1324.
39 Anthony J. Cedoline, Job Burn-out in Public Education: Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills, (New York,
1982), 94.
40 Margareth D. LeCompte and Anthony G. Dworkin, Giving Up on School. Student Dropouts and Teacher Burnouts,
(Newsbury Park, CA, 1991), 98.
19
that burn-out is a highly nebulous phenomenon, and that much research remains to be done in
order to produce accurate and reliable data.
Burn-out Origins
When the railways were developed about 150 years ago, the United States was an
agricultural society where the sense of time was rather abstract. With new means of
communication cities began to grow, and separated rural and urban areas. Improved
communications and the Industrial Revolution resulted in a more precise sense of time, and
control of time became essential in order for society to function well. Trains departed and
arrived according to fixed time schedules, industrial production made luxury items common,
and the market demanded an ever-widening selection of goods. However, the new sense of
time in people's lives was also the source of a new feeling of pressure. This new tension may
not have caused burn-out in its early stages, but as the Industrial Revolution progressed, the
pressure on the individual increased. This was the seed of much of our present concept of
stress. As Wayne Eastman noted, "Stress is the primary culprit in burn-out." 41
In the aftermath of the Second World War many Americans thought that all problems
could be solved. This increased the burden on the individual worker tremendously. Inevitably,
burn-out started to occur for the first time, especially in the human services professions. As
the complexity of society and the involvement of government increased, the individual human
services worker became more and more constrained by rules and regulations. Workers were
isolated and separated from each other because of professionalization and credentialization in
their professions, dissolving the former tightly-woven groups. Since around 1950, isolation of
the individual human service worker through bureaucratization has been ever-increasing,
preparing the ground for the burn-out syndrome of the 1970s. For teachers, stress and burnout
were not a stylish fad which faded away or even decreased because the problem was not
properly recognized, and efficient means were not applied to combat it. In trying to cope with
inner conflicts related to stress and anxiety, teachers often change their personality in negative
ways. In the long run the effects of this are destructive, both for those teachers and for their
environments. Today, every teacher knows that burn-out is a common phenomenon, while a
few decades ago there was little awareness and, subsequently, no terms to describe conditions
that many had to fight. For the same reason there exists little data from before the early 1970s
that can be related to teacher burn-out.
Teachers and the Burn-out Problem
Barry A. Farber holds that teacher stress and burn-out are nothing new, referring to W.
Waller's report on how community pressure, the need for constant vigilance to keep control
over large numbers of students, and loneliness and isolation can lead to lowered teacher
morale.42 The incidence of various types of emotional maladjustment among teachers--anxiety
in particular—has received considerable attention since early in the 20th century. In the
1930s, Hicks in a survey of 600 teachers, found that 17 percent were “unusually nervous” and
another 11 percent had suffered from nervous breakdowns. Peck concluded that 33 percent of
a sample of female teachers suffered from nervous symptoms, and Randall reported that 10
percent of teacher absences of 10 days or more were reported caused by “nervous
conditions.”43 Holt, Fine, and Tollefson showed that the reported stress occurred more and
41 Wayne Eastman, “Avoiding Faculty Burn-out Through the Wellness Program,” paper presented to the
Association of Canadian Community Colleges Annual Conference, May 26-28, 1996, 13.
42 Barry A. Farber, Crisis in Education. Stress and Burn-out in the American Teacher, (San Francisco, 1991), 37.
43 Thomas J. Coates and Carl E. Thoresen, “Teacher Anxiety: A Review with Recommendations,” in Review of
Educational Research, Vol. 46, No. 2, 1976, 160.
20
more often after 1938: 37.5 percent of teachers reported stress in 1938, and this figure rose to
43 by 1951. In 1967 and 1976 this percentage had risen to 78.44
These figures paint a diffuse picture, but show that teachers' problems have increased
rather dramatically over a thirty-year period of time before stabilizing. Today, teachers
acknowledge that many of their physical disease symptoms are anxiety-related, such as
nervous stomach, colitis, headaches, allergies, and colds, along with psychological-related
symptoms such as migraine headaches, ulcers, depression, anxiety, hypertension, and
insomnia.45
Who Leaves and Why
Burn-out may have been one of the important reasons behind teacher attrition and
teacher migration. "Attrition" means quitting the profession to do something different, while
"migration" indicates that one leaves one’s job for another similar job at another location.
Surveys on teacher attrition and migration have not included the question if burn-out has been a
cause, but a number of other reasons have been reported.
In the academic school year 1991 - 1992, 7.2 percent of all teachers in public and
private schools migrated to a different school. The percentage that moved from private to public
was more than eight times higher than the percentage that moved from the public to the private
sector.46 The main reasons for public school teachers to move were, in importance listed
according to order: reduction of staff, lay-off, school closing, and school reorganization or
reassignment. For private school teachers, the most important reasons were: family or personal
move, and better salary and benefits. There was no sure way of telling how contributing a factor
burn-out was to producing these figures, even though most of the reasons listed theoretically
could be related with the burn-out syndrome.
The overall attrition rate between the academic school years 1990-1991 and 1991-1992
was six percent. The rate for teachers from the private sector was almost twice the rate from the
public sector. The main reasons for public school teachers to change their field of occupation
were unrelated to teaching issues, namely retirement (30.4%), family and personal reasons,
health, and pregnancy/child rearing (30.3%). Teachers from the private sector cited family or
personal move, health, or pregnancy/child rearing (41.6%) as their main reasons for leaving.47
Unfortunately, the data above does not provide any basis for analyzing the importance of burnout
for teacher migration and teacher attrition. It seems as if the burn-out syndrome may play a
small role in attrition, but that there was a potential for it to be a more important part of the
causes for migration between schools. The cited reasons for migration, "personal move" and
"health" could very well cover up burn-out as a primary cause.
According to a study in North Carolina covering the years from 1980 to 1996, male
teachers were more likely to leave the teaching profession than female teachers. By the end of
the second year, 20 percent of male teachers had left teaching. In contrast, the loss of female
teachers for the same period was 15 percent.48 The same study showed that a third of the
teachers in the public school system had left by the end of the fifth year. It is not possible to say
whether or not this is a high figure because estimates for other occupations were not available.49
44 P. Holt, M.J. Fine, and N. Tollefsen, “Mediating Stress: Survival of the Hardy,” in Psychology in the Schools,
No. 24, 1987, 51-58.
45 William G. Cunningham, “Teacher Burn-out - Solutions for the 1980s: A Review of the Literature,” in The
Urban Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1988, 39.
46 “Migration and Attrition of Public and Private School Teachers: 1991-1992,” National Center for Education
Statistics, Aug. 1995. [http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/95770.html]
47 Ibid.
48 M. Engin Konanc, “Teacher Attrition 1980-1996,” from Statistical Data and Research Center/Financial and
Personal Services, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, (May 1996), 1.
49 Ibid., 2.
21
The author therefore posed the question if such a degree of turnover possibly is a natural
phenomenon in the general job market.
Personality Factors Related to Burn-out
Alfred M. Bloch concludes that idealism and enthusiasm are personality factors that
perhaps more than anything else contribute to burn-out.50 Anthony C. Riccio observes that
teachers initially motivated by a strong desire to make a difference, when faced with students
with various learning disorders easily become disappointed when they see little or no result
from their efforts. These people usually have high goals and expectations, and tend to involve
themselves emotionally without being able to look at their situation from a neutral point of
view. The stress that they experience from lack of achievement may have a great negative
impact, and could possibly, over a period of time, lead to frustration, demoralization, emotional
over-extension, apathy, or cynicism..51 As Ayala Pines points out, “In our experience the most
idealistic and highly committed 'social servants' are the ones who have the greatest difficulty
detaching themselves and as a result tend to burn out relatively soon.”52
Some teachers may have strong needs of self-actualization and self-esteem, and if they
feel that they meet serious obstacles in these areas, a state of burn-out could be the result. One
achieves "self-actualization" through the use of one's full potential to obtain success, and "selfesteem"
includes self-respect and the respect from others. Anderson and Iwanicki found that
burn-out relates to such higher-order needs, and that the influence of this source of burn-out has
increased since the teaching profession lost esteem after the mid sixties.53
McIntyre relates burn-out to inner locus of control. Teachers who feel they have an
internal locus of control are less prone to become burned out than those who do not. The people
who seem to have control over the environments, prevent the building up of stress, and they do
not look for reasons for problems in the environment when things go wrong. Rather they ask
themselves how they failed to prevent the problems from arising. Not allowing tensions to
accumulate, the teachers who are in control normally do not have to endure very bad periods.
They might from time to time experience a day or two of uneasiness, but they recover quickly
and are not hurt or marked by what they perceive to be of a transient nature.54
Teaching Conditions
Teachers have been under attack from society for the last thirty years, mainly because
they are expected to produce good results regardless of working conditions. The need for
structural reform and reform of curriculum often does not take into account the needs of
teachers, leaving their profession vulnerable and isolated. Teachers become victims of new
ideas, conceived by politicians and administrators, and at the same time they are blamed for the
problems that follow as a result of changes in the education system. Therefore, the experience
since 1980 is that teacher attrition became both a major human problem and an economic
problem.
As the problem of teacher attrition in American public schools increased, research on
the situation reached a peak in the early 1980s, when several problem areas were uncovered
and scrutinized. Research identified several major sources of teacher distress which explained
why so many teachers regretted that they chose the occupation. Some of the most important
50 Alfred M. Bloch, “The Battered Teacher,” in Today’s Education, Vol. 66, No. 2, 1977, 58-62.
51 Anthony C. Riccio, “On Coping with the Stresses of Teaching,” in Theory Into Practice, Vol. 22, No. 1,
1983, 44.
52 Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson, Career Burn-out. Causes and Cures, (New York and London, 1988), 90.
53 M.B. Anderson and E.F. Iwanicki, ”Teacher Motivation and Its Relationship to Burn-out,” in Educational
Administration Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1984, 109-132.
54 T. McIntyre, “The Relationship Between Locus of Control and Teacher Burn-out,” in British Journal of
Education Psychology, Vol. 54, No. 2, 1984, 235-238.
22
ones were student apathy; lack of personal support from peers, principal, and administration;
low salaries pressures to undertake reforms in teaching lack of cooperation with parents; low
social status; and role ambiguity. For most teachers that experienced hardships, several of
these sources would contribute to a situation that became more and more unbearable and
made the individual teacher feel disillusioned and isolated.
Survey-type data which compare teachers with other professions have typically found
that school teachers report one of the highest, and often the highest, level of occupational
stress.55 In Alfred M. Blotch found that some teachers have neurosis similar to that which
soldiers in combat may experience,56 and Coates and Thoresen state that stress plague most
teachers.57 Stress has a tendency to accumulate over a period of time, and it varies widely how
the individual teacher is able to cope with the situation. Many teachers find that leaving the
profession is the only way out. A Rand Corporation report in 1984 revealed that after five years
of teaching, over 70 percent of men and more than 50 percent of women left the profession,58
and the 1990 Carnegie Report indicated that nearly 40 percent of teachers would decide not to
become teachers if they could choose over again.59
Anderson and Iwanicki found that demographic factors, such as gender, age, and grade
level taught, are linked with teacher stress and burn-out. The same study concludes that men are
more likely to become victims than are women, those under forty are more prone to stress and
burn-out than those older than forty, and the same is true for those teaching from junior high
school level and up compared with those teaching lower grades.60 Also, the chance of
experiencing burn-out is somewhat higher if one is single,61 if one teaches at a large school,62
deals with large number of students,63 and works at urban rather than suburban or rural
schools.64
Problems Teachers Face at Work
When surveyed, teachers list a number of challenging factors, and disruptive student
behavior often appears high up on the list. Too much time is spent on discipline, and attacks on
teachers that lead to need for medical attention have become more and more common. Violence
on school grounds has become more and more prevalent, and a poll in 1996 found that 20
percent of students were at least somewhat fearful of being attacked in or around their schools.65
Conditions like these cause teachers to feel stressed and they reduce overall classroom
effectiveness.
55 Chris Kyriacou, "Teacher Stress and Burn-out: An International Review," in Educational Research, Vol. 29,
No. 2, 1987, 147.
56 Alfred M. Bloch, “The Battered Teacher,” in Today’s Education, Vol. 66, No. 2, 1977, 58-62.
57 Thomas J. Coates and Carl E. Thoresen, “Teacher Anxiety: A Review with Recommendations,” in Review of
Educational Research, Vol. 46, No. 2, 1976, 160-161.
58 Linda Darling-Hammond, Beyond the Commission Reports: The Coming Crisis in Education, (Santa Monica,
1984), 1-19.
59 David F. Labaree, “A Kinder and Gentler Report: Turning Points and the Carnegie Tradition,” in Journal of
Education Policy, Vol. 5, No. 3, 1990, 249-64.
60 M.B. Anderson and E.F. Iwanicki, "Teacher Motivation and Its Relationship to Burn-out,” Educational
Administration Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1984, 109-32.
61 P. Holt, M.J. Fine, and N. Tollefsen, “Mediating Stress: Survival of the Hardy,” in Psychology in the Schools,
Vol. 24, No. 1, 1987, 51-58.
62 J. Moracco, R. D’Arienzo, and D. Danford, “Comparison of Perceived Occupational Stress Between Teachers
Who Are Contented and Discontented in Their Career Choice,” in Vocational Guidance Quarterly, Vol. 32,
No.1, 1983, 44-51.
63 James R. Malanowski and Peter H. Wood, “Burn-out and Self-Actualization in Public School Teachers,” in
Journal of Psychology, Vol. 117, No.1, 1984, 23-26.
64 Barry A. Farber, Crisis in Education: Stress and Burn-out in the American Teacher, (San Francisco and
Oxford, 1991), 49.
65 MetLife Statistical Bulletin. [http://www.metlife.com/Sb/Recaps/Docs/1teens.html]
23
Inability to cooperate with administrators or obtain their support is also a major source
of distress for many educators. Administrative personnel are often perceived as obstacles to
efficient teaching, and because of this teachers often claim they tend to cause difficulties rather
than alleviate them. Cooperation with parents has also frequently been reported to be one of the
most problematic aspects of the job that teachers have to deal with. This difficulty may manifest
in two ways--either the parents do not care, or they care too much. Parents often have
expectations for their child that are unrealistic, resulting in criticism of the teacher for not being
competent, or the school or the educational system had to take the blame.
Teachers often feel that they do not receive their rightful recognition from society.
Newspapers in particular have expressed condemnation of the teaching profession through
editorials, letters to editors, articles, and surveys. Their failures are noticed but rarely their
successes. Not feeling that they receive any appreciation in return for their efforts make many
teachers feel lonely and frustrated.
Another common problem is too many students in class. What "too many" is has been a
controversial issue, In the 1993-94 school year, public school teachers' average class size was
larger than that of their private school colleagues at both the elementary and secondary levels
(24 versus 22 students and 24 versus 19 students, respectively). 66
In 1982 Cedoline found that several studies indicated that teachers with small classes
provide more encouragement, attention and intimacy. Teachers of large classes devote more
time to control and discipline, and behave in less conducive manners. More specifically,
achievement levels increase significantly in classes with fewer than twenty children per teacher,
but remain relatively the same regardless of class size when the class is larger than thirty.67
The intentions behind putting handicapped children into regular classes are good.
However, this extra burden on the teacher has serious side effects in that he or she has to divide
the attention and try to serve two different needs that often are quite incompatible. Obviously,
such conditions reduce the possibilities for efficient teaching.
Teachers' experience of role conflict is related to large class sizes and having children
with learning disorders of some kind in ordinary classes. They know that they ought to provide
an excellent educational program for all students through good planning and classroom
activities. Providing equal attention to all students, and at the same time making sure that the
ones with the greatest need for support, feels emotionally very frustrating and draining. Also,
external expectations from for example, churches, organizations, civic groups, and parents
contribute to role conflict. As demands increase, teachers become overwhelmed with the myriad
of unranked priorities.
Parents often expect the school to both educate and socialize their children
independently of the child's potential and previous behavior. This is a view that has been widely
shared with the rest of society, and which makes teachers feel uneasy. It is natural that teachers
should be held accountable and meet certain requirements at work, but for teachers to fulfill
parents desires after they themselves, and perhaps psychologists and social workers, have failed
is unrealistic.
Complaints have resulted from teachers' long work weeks. While full-time public
school teachers were required to be at school 33 hours per week in the 1993–94 school year,
they reported working 45 hours per week. Private school teachers were required to be at
school an average of 34 hours per week, but reported working 47 hours per week. 68
66 The National Center for Education Statistics, "The Condition of Education 1997. Indicator 39."
[http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/ce/c9739a01.html]
67 Anthony J. Cedoline, Job Burn-out in Public Education. Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills, (New York,
1982), 102.
68 The National Center for Education Statistics, "The Condition of Education 1998. Indicator 40."
[http://nces.ed.gov/pubs98/condition98/c9840a01.html]
24
Paperwork takes much time. The National Center for Education Statistics.69 reports that
added to time spent teaching, paperwork amounted to around 50 hours per week in some states
in 1994. Examples of paperwork may be preparing of report cards, working out intervention
strategies, preparing documentation for and writing up parent conferences, recording of test
scores, submitting lesson plans, etc. Teachers feel that they have to take care of duties which
naturally belong to the administration. Additionally, this cuts into their spare time, making this
an onerous aspect of teaching.
Even though teachers are professionals, they sometimes may not have much autonomy.
They have to implement programs designed by others, and they are not in a position where they
can choose whom to work for and with. Often they have to use books that are assigned by
others, and if they choose otherwise, they risk being overruled by administrators or school
boards. In general, teachers’ autonomy has at best been partial, and this has caused many
teachers to feel that they have to take too many orders from supervisors, administration, or
school boards.
The teacher as an adult has to interact mostly with children and young individuals in
performing his or her work. Cooperation with other adults is not very common, and this can
cause teachers to feel isolated from peers. Even though the professional educator is mentally
prepared for this situation, it may many times feels enervating to be forced into isolation from
colleagues. Burke and Greenglass report that burn-out is significantly correlated with teachers'
perceived lack of social support.70
In the early days of the British colonies teaching often took place in modest buildings
and other facilities that hardly could be used for any other purpose.71 The situation today may in
many cases be reminiscent of historical conditions in the sense that maintenance of school
buildings is inadequate. Leaking roofs, broken water closets, asbestos problems, heating
problems, broken windows, and lack of equipment have been quite common. Perhaps the main
reason for this has been that public schools receive most of the funding from property taxation
in the local area, something which causes great shortage of means for schools in poor school
districts.
Teachers' Salaries
After many years of teaching, teachers do not have many possibilities for advancement
or promotion. They have to continue in the same job, facing the same work conditions and
problems, receiving much the same salary. Promotion typically has meant leaving the classroom
to become an administrator and through that receiving higher pay. “The further away from
children you get, the more money and prestige you receive.”72 According to Berliner and
Biddle, teachers in 1995 made about 1.67 times the average pay per capita income of the nation,
which was little compared with other professionals and teachers in other countries. For instance,
Japanese teachers made 2.43 times the national average income of their country.73 Part of the
problem is that there are relatively few administrative positions available at schools, and regular
upgrading of skills, graduate degrees, work experience, and political influence are required for a
classroom teacher to qualify. The prospect of making relatively little money as professionals
69 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Schools and Staffing Survey, 1993-
94." [http://nces.ed.gov/esn/n16a.html]
70 R.J. Burke and E.R. Greenglass, "Psychological Burnout Among Men and. Women in Teaching: An
Examination of the Cherniss Model." Human Relations. 1989, Vol. 42, No. 3 (1989): 261-273.
71 R.N. Current, T.H. Williams, and F. Freidel, American History: A Survey, (New York, 1964), 565.
72 “Teaching in Trouble,” U.S. News and World Report, (May 26, 1986), 55.
73 David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis. Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s
Public Schools, (Reading, MA, 1995), 103.
25
naturally does not attract many of the brightest students, who may prefer to make several times
a teacher’s salary in the private sector, according to Berliner and Biddle.74
Most recent figures show that the average annual base salary is $34,153 in public
schools, making pay less of a reason to quit. Nevertheless, in some states public teachers’
salaries are quite low, and Louisiana is at the bottom of the scale with an average pay of only $
23,894.75 Connecticut’s ranks at the top, with an average annual teacher pay of $50,254.
However, the figure for Catholic schools is only $19,158, and for other private schools
$21,968,76 maintaining low pay as a main reason why teachers in the private sector look for
other jobs.
Reforms in Public Education
Teachers often refer to implementation of reforms as a source of problems on the job.
Needs for reforms are obvious but the usefulness is often questionable, and this uncertainty
imposes an extra burden on teachers. American public education has a long history of reform. In
the nineteenth century change in education was necessitated by the industrialization of society,
which required better educated workers in an expanding labor market. Educational reforms
have been suggested by individuals, foundations, associations, governmental agencies,
university boards of regents, state boards of education, and local school boards. The 1980s saw
an unprecedented number of educational reform-related bills and taskforces. According to
LeCompte and Dworkin, “most popular were "quick fixes," including salary increases for
teachers, mandates for higher standards for student promotion and retention, establishment of
more selective standards for entering the teaching profession, and raising of graduation
standards and cutting scores for exit examinations.”77 The same source informs readers that
“more difficult to implement, less likely to persist, and more prone to dilution have been those
reforms that involve conflicts of interest or complex and ambiguous solutions, such as
assessment of practicing teachers and implementation of career ladders.”78 It often seems that
reforms are given up and conditions remain much the same, and that for the most part reforms
have been without impact on instructional strategies and school organization. According to
Donald C. Orlich, reforms have been of cosmetic nature, without important lasting effects.
What generally has been true, however, and also criticized in the history of reforms, is that
teachers have been little involved, and that many of the proposals were blueprints of former
ones.79
"Merit pay" has been suggested as a way to improve teachers’ pay. Other "popular"
proposals for reform have been certification of "master teachers," greater involvement of
teachers in deciding curricula, preparation of more minority teachers, increased teacher pay in
general, and ranks within the teaching profession.80 However, many teachers resist these kinds
of reform because it has been difficult to fairly evaluate the quality of a teacher’s job, and
because they will benefit only a small number of teachers. Moreover, teachers are afraid that
there will be competitiveness and moral problems among the staff with a potential for teachers
to try to curry favors with principals and other evaluators.
74 Ibid., 103.
75 Teleport Internet Services.
[http://www.teleport.com/otr/taxfax-t.htm]
76 The Center for Education Reform, "Elementary and Secondary Education at a Glance, Sept. 1997."
[http://edreform.com/pubs/edstats.htm].
77 Margareth D. LeCompte and Anthony G. Dworkin, Giving Up on School. Student Dropouts and Teacher Burnouts,
(Newsbury Park, CA, 1991), 202-3.
78 Ibid., 203.
79 Donald C. Orlich, “Education Reforms: Mistakes, Misconceptions, Miscues,” in Phi Delta Kappan, Mar. 1989,
513.
80 Ibid., 514.
26
Tyack and Hansot give four explanations for the failure of school reforms: 1) attacks on
the American social philosophy that public education is a public good, 2) what the authors call
the “politicization of education” during periods of retrenchment, or a more open ambivalence
about actually achieving greater equality, and the value of compensatory social services for the
poor and minorities, 3) over-ambitious reformers who promise effects of their programs that can
not be realized, and 4) neglect of real areas of deficits in the schools while less important ones
receive the attention.81
In order to achieve real reform, James W. Guthrie contends that local schools have to be
re-enfranchised. American students in the 1990s are attending one of the world’s most
bureaucratized school systems, and reforms have been undertaken in areas which had little
impact, Guthrie claims. What really needs to be done is to empower individual schools so that
these may hold the authority for instruction. Thereby local schools, and not entire school
systems, will be held accountable for achieving objectives. Obviously, principals and teachers
are best positioned to make teaching effective but they have the least power and cannot be held
responsible for education rules over which they have control. Increasingly during the last
century, Guthrie maintains, state laws, federal regulations, and court decisions have taken
responsibility away from principals, superintendents, and teachers. To meet the demands of the
twenty-first century, schools must be re-empowered to employ and evaluate teachers, deploy
resources, and determine the means of instruction. Authorization of teachers and principals, and
holding them accountable for the results, will provide viable reform of the American school
system.82
The 1983 report on the state of American public schools, A Nation at Risk, decried the
increasing mediocrity in American public education. The landmark report caused an immense
number of reports, commissions, summits, and conferences with the single intention to alleviate
a situation that seemed out of hand. The situation today may not be improved. Recently
published test results from the Third International Mathematical and Science Study (TIMSS) in
1997 showed that American twelfth graders have a long way to go to compete academically
with peers in other participating countries. According to Bob Chase, the president of the
National Education Association, NEA, much of the explanation is to be found in lax American
standards. Moreover, according to Chase, low salaries keep qualified teachers away. 83
However, eighth graders from a consortium of suburban Chicago schools did so well in the
TIMSS competition that if they had been a separate country, they would have ranked second in
science. Also, by the same criteria they would have been among the top five nations in math. It
is tempting to believe that money is at the core of the problem but, “the most pernicious
inequality (between children of poor parents and children of well-off parents) is not necessarily
in funding, but rather in academic expectations, goals, and requirements--in a word, standards.
Schools without even minimal standards--schools that pass kids who can’t read or compute--
flunk a basic moral test.”84
This reality behind this criticism has come to the minds of politicians, and measures
have been taken to remedy this problem. The National Board of Professional Teaching
Standards is a response to the problem of standards in the public schools. Its mission is
organized around five core propositions: 1) teachers are committed to students and their
learning, 2) teachers know the subjects they teach, 3) teachers are responsible for managing and
monitoring student learning, 4) teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from
81 Margareth D. LeCompte and Anthony G. Dworkin, Giving Up on School. Student Dropouts and Teacher Burnouts.
(Newsbury Park, CA, 1991), 195.
82 J.W. Guthrie, “The Paradox of Educational Power,” Educational Week, Vol. XVII, No. 7, 1997, 34.
83 Bob Chase, “Still ‘A Nation at Risk,’” in Education and Society, NEA Today, Apr. 12, 1998.
[http://www.nea.org/society/bc/bc980412.html]
84 Bob Chase, “Why Standards Matter. It’s a Question of Moral Wrongs and Civil Rights,” in Education and
Society, NEA Today, Oct. 12, 1997. [http://www.nea.org/society/bc/bc971012.html]
27
experience, and 5) teachers are members of learning communities.85 This board is developing
standards in more than thirty certification fields.
Teacher Satisfaction
The majority of teachers are idealistic in their work. Having a career to gain status and
make money appear to be of little importance for educators. According to a recent survey by
the National Education Association, the following were the motivations for people to choose
teaching as a career:
· Most teachers--68.1%--choose their profession because they want to work with young people.
· The second most important reason is that they realize the value of education in society (41.9%).
· The interest for a particular subject, and the desire to teach it, is the third most important reason
(36.5%).
· The fourth is the influence of one’s own teachers in elementary or secondary school (30.5%).
· Long summer vacations inspire 20.3%, and 19.3% never considered anything else.
· Family members influence the same share, and 18.1% prioritize job security through teaching as
the most important reason.
· 10.9% see an opportunity for self-growth as a teacher and make this the determining factor for
choosing the profession.86
However, A.C Riccio found that idealism also is one of the factors strongly related to
burn-out.87 Therefore, fortunate as it sounds, idealism might also have its negative
consequences. On the other hand, it is reasonable to assume that those who experience the
greatest job satisfaction as teachers are those who would choose to become teachers again.
Burn-out and job satisfaction are strongly negatively correlated. Consequently, those who
would have chosen teaching as a profession over again have a low degree of burn-out. Perhaps
this apparent contradiction between idealism as a cause of high burnout, and happiness on the
job as an indication of low burnout, can be explained the following way: those who initially are
very enthusiastic sometimes are "weeded out" due to disillusionment, leaving the idealistic ones
with little experience of disillusionment happy on the job. Fiske reported that the people who fit
into the category of those who would have chosen teaching over again tend to be women and
minority group members, those less than 29 or older than 50, those less well educated, those
who teach in elementary schools, and those who work with gifted students or who taught
remedial education.88 The percentage of teachers who would have chosen teaching again has
increased steadily since 1981, indicating that teachers are increasingly satisfied with their
profession.
Characteristics of the Typical Teacher
One of the greatest imbalances in the American education system is manifest in the
balance of numbers of male and female teachers. About 69 percent, or 1.5 million, in 1986,
were women. In 1997 the share of women had risen to 74.4 %, according to a recent National
Education Association survey. 89 These facts reflect that teaching has been a profession with
85 "Status of the American Public School Teacher 1995-96: Highlights," in NEA Research.
[http://www.nea.org/neatoday/9709/status.html#Who]
86 “Status of the American Public School Teacher, 1995-96: Highlights,” in NEA Research.
[http://www.nea.org/neatoday/9709/status.html]
87 Anthony C. Riccio, “On Coping with the Stresses of Teaching,” in Theory Into Practice, Vol. 22, No. 1, 1983,
44.
88 E.B. Fiske, "Survey of Teachers Reveals Morale Problems," The New York Times, (Sept. 19, 1982), A1, A52.
89 Sharon Draper, “What is the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards? Ready To Get Certified?"
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Education Association.
28
little appeal to men. A related fact has been that many teachers have complained that their status
in society has been too low. This has also been an important reason why so many of them have
quit to start careers in other fields.
There has been limited amount of research on the characteristics of those who enjoy
being teachers. However, inspired by research done on successful business people and their
personality traits, Judith McEnany interviewed thirty-four teachers selected from five states in
different parts of the country. She found that these teachers had much in common with
accomplished business individuals.90
Their attitudes may be epitomized in the following statement: “The surviving teachers
see their mission and goals as the development of young people whom they gladly teach.”91 The
motivation of "surviving" teachers sounds surprisingly similar to what Freudenberger found
motivate those who do not "survive": “The high achiever, the perfectionist, the one who needs
to strive harder, is overly dedicated and committed; that cannot say no, is competitive and
always seeks to do more than he or she could possibly accomplish, is the one personality type
who is prone toward burn-out.”92 These descriptions of teachers who succeed and teachers who
do not succeed may be correct in their own rights, but they need further explanation in order not
to be confusing. In the first case the teachers feel rewarded because they have succeeded in their
efforts; in the latter case teachers feel that they make no difference to the students--they do not
feel any reward because they fail to make the students succeed. Thus, "surviving teachers"
perform their jobs on the basis of inner exuberance while "non-surviving teachers" do not have
this extra and necessary surplus of energy.
The History of American Elementary and Secondary Education
A detailed history of teacher burn-out and its causes does not exist. Some records
indicate that many of the problems causing burn-out for educators also occurred during the first
half of this century. Some of the contemporary teachers' problems for obvious reasons did not
exist in the early days of settlement in America, and these were for example cooperation with
the administration and too much time spent in meetings and on paperwork. Most likely
complaints about the lack of support from supervisors and colleagues did not occur due to that
these were not part of the job setting. Also, the cooperation between teachers and students'
parents probably was of a totally different nature than what today's norms reflect. A couple of
gauges can be used, however, to shed light on teaching conditions during the early days of the
British Colonies and onward. Teachers' salaries and status indicated their general standing in
society. From these, other conditions as for example discipline and length of career can be
estimated. It seems that these two aspects of a teacher's life always were sources of job
dissatisfaction because of the higher status and salaries of other professions.
A Massachusetts act in the 1640s required every town of fifty families to appoint a
schoolmaster, while towns of a hundred families or more had to found a Latin grammar school
so that their children could attend Harvard College. The school system that was established in
the British colonies and adopted by the new nation reflected the strong stratification of the
social classes. Elementary education was generally provided by the church, and sons of those
who could afford it were sent to private academies. Schools in the colonies at the secondary
level were called "academies," or "grammar schools," and were for the well-to-do classes that
could afford to pay the fees.
The status of teachers at this time was not very elevated. According to Fiske the
Maryland Journal reported in 1776 that "a ship had arrived in Baltimore from Belfast and Cork
[http://www.nea.org./neatoday/9802/nbpts.html]
90 Judith McEnany, “Teachers Who Don’t Burn Out,” in The Clearing House, Vol. 60, No. 2, 1986, 83-84.
91 Ibid., 84.
92 Yvonne Gold, “Burn-out: A Major Problem for the Teaching Profession,” in Education, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1984,
273.
29
with a cargo that included various commodities, among which are beef, pork, potatoes and
schoolmasters."93 Wages were rather low, comparable to those of farmers, and teachers had to
do all kinds of daily chores on the job in addition to actual teaching. Most teachers were not
well educated, and according to a Massachusetts parent in 1824, "If a young man can be moral
enough to keep out of State prison, he will find no difficulty in getting application for a
schoolmaster."94 Teacher life as servants for the community was demanding and humiliating,
and many of those entering the profession were men who aspired to the clergy. Therefore public
respect was something that these men could count on only at a later stage in their careers.
Even though the Revolution handicapped intellectual life in America, it also gave way
to ideas about Enlightenment--that reason can enlighten the individual--a result of the alliance
between the British colonies and France. American intellectuals realized that in order to secure
the new republic and its independence, the people must be literate and have access to
widespread educational opportunities. Thomas Jefferson thus called for a "crusade against
ignorance."95 He regarded education as the duty of the government because "no other sure
foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness.”96 Thomas Jefferson
understood that in order for the end result of government to be the happiness of the masses
based on spiritual rather than material values, education had to be provided by government
rather than by churches and private individuals. For Jefferson, in order to achieve the goals of
government, "to open the doors of truth, and to fortify the habit of testing everything by reason,
are the most effectual manacles we can rivet on the hands of our successors to prevent their
manacling the people with their own consent."97
Teaching conditions slowly changed for around the turn of the nineteenth century. The
Jeffersonian tenets opened up for increased prestige for being a teacher, at the same time as a
changing society required more specialized knowledge. The increasing secularization,
industrialization, and urbanization of society lead to professionalization also of teaching. The
first teacher certification was introduced in New York in 1829 where a teacher college was
founded, and teachers in public schools were now required to have good character and literacy
qualifications.
Teacher life in the first public schools was a rather rough experience, often requiring the
use of physical punishment in order to allow for actual teaching. The Calvinist doctrine of
inborn wickedness prevailed, and therefore the teaching profession was best suited for men.
They had greater physical strength and therefore managed the classroom better than women.
However, around the middle of the century many more women entered the profession and this
may have contributed to keeping salaries low and to the decline of teachers’ prestige. Women
actually made up the majority of teachers around 1850
By 1830 a widespread demand for state-supported primary education arose due to the
fear that all illiterate immigrants would be allowed to vote, and that many Americans began to
perceive education as a means for their children to get better jobs. Teachers' salaries rose, and
teacher training and teaching methods improved.
Many people decided to become teachers for reasons that they needed to make money.
Men needed money to get into business or farming, while women needed to make a living while
waiting to get married. Teachers lived a paradoxical life, and this was well-described by one
diarist in 1862: "Living in a humble sphere yet having an elevated mind; being inferior in
station, yet ‘content’ because teaching enabled one to do good.”98
93 E.B. Fiske, "Teachers May No Longer Be Lumped with Potatoes, but an Image Problem Exists," The New
York Times, (July 19, 1989), B6.
94 R.B. Morris and W. Greenleaf, USA, The History of a Nation. Vol. 1, (Chicago, 1969), 423.
95 R.N. Current, T.H. Williams, and F. Freidel, American History: A Survey, (New York, 1964), 155.
96Charles Maurice Wiltse, The Jeffersonian Tradition in American Democracy, (New York, 1960), 140.
97 Ibid., 140.
98 M. Brenton, What Happened to the Teacher? (New York, 1970), 64.
30
The demand for teachers increased with an evolving society, and as teaching attracted
more and more women (men often preferred to work in factories), salaries were low. Women's
salaries were approximately half of those of male teachers whom in turn made only half as
much as skilled workers, like blacksmiths, painters, and carpenters. Female teachers made even
less than black cooks despite the prevalent racial prejudice of the time. The majority of teachers
were very young and therefore inexperienced, and by 1910 more than half were under the age
of 25.99
The pay that teachers received at the turn of the century was very low due to the fact that
education did not receive much funding. In 1870 the annual spending on education per capita
was a mere 1,64 dollars, while this figure had increased to only 4,64 dollars by 1910. This could
also help explain why many teachers left the profession so readily. Similarly, in 1926, the
average annual salary of teachers, principals, and superintendents in high school was 1,276
dollars, while trade union members made 2,402 dollars.100
Teaching became a profession very slowly throughout the 19th century, and in 1845
Horace Mann, the first secretary of the Massachusetts board of education, initiated the first state
association of teachers. The number of public schools continued to grow, and in 1860 there
were about 300 in the nation, along with 6,000 private academies, most of them very small.
Among these there were 100 public high schools, a number which had increased to 6,000 by the
turn of the century.101 However, in order to make the increasing number of teachers
professionals, better education was needed, and they also needed the sense that they belonged to
a professional group. The 20th century brought further progress to the profession; educational
associations that originally were founded in the first half of the nineteenth century were revived,
and the National Education Association grew from 10,000 members in 1919 to 220,000 by
1932. Estimates in 1990 showed that 90-95 percent of all teachers in the US belonged to a
union. Teachers had slowly become more independent of the good will of the rest of society,
and they no longer had to make a vow to the community or the school board to live within
social restrictions that required them to be permanently accessible for service. However, as late
as in 1964, only 40 percent of the teachers surveyed believed that they were as free to
participate in official public life as other citizens.102
Post-war History of American Education
After the Second World War until 1960, American teachers enjoyed a perhaps
unprecedented social standing. A booming economy after the war allowed for improvement of
American schools so that the American educational system became the envy of the rest of the
world. However, the optimism of the 1950s and the early 60s had to give way to increased
pessimism and less economic growth as a result of the Vietnam War. Serious social problems
surfaced, like civil rights and the effects of heavy migration to urban areas. The faith in
schools as a means to satisfy a wide array of individual needs such as knowledge and cultural
uplift, hobbies and recreational activities, and solvers of social problems, was weakening, and
the educational system began to be discredited. With the economic decline and social
problems of the 1970s, the public attitude changed and people no longer looked to schools as
universal benefactors. Naturally, this was very unfortunate for teachers.
The development of the schooling system after the onslaught of the full fledged war in
Vietnam required expanded academic programs, which in turn demanded increased funding.
Because of the economic set-back in the early seventies, the need to expand was not met by
99 R.N. Current, T.H. Williams, and F. Freidel, American History: A Survey, (New York, 1964), 566.
100 Ibid., 565.
101 Barry A. Farber, Crisis in Education: Stress and Burn-out in the American Teacher, (San Francisco and
Oxford, 1991), 194.
102 David F. Labaree, “An Unloving Legacy: The Disabling Impact of the Market On American Teacher
Education,” in Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 75, No. 8, 1994, 592.
31
matching funds as it had been in the fifties and sixties. Americans were less willing to pay for
the education they wanted, and funding for education became strained. Other areas in need of
growth were social welfare, public aid, and debt servicing, and a period of heavy inflation
hardly allowed for keeping abreast with the existing conditions. Toward the end of the
decade, “public education in America was facing not only a loss of confidence but also the
annual need to beg for additional funds from an increasing strained public purse.”103
The mid-sixties brought new social conventions, and what teachers and education had
gained in terms of public goodwill fell rapidly away. Grant argued that the erosion of teachers’
authority was based on four fundamentals: 1) teaching after the mid-sixties was no longer
perceived as a desirable profession. Reforms were demanded by both the public and
government. Teachers were blamed for not knowing what they were doing, and the “baby
boomers” perceived psychology, medicine, and law as more worthwhile areas to have careers in
than teaching. 2) Communities and parents were no longer supportive of teachers’ efforts in
doing their jobs. 3) Agreement within the teaching profession eroded as new teachers unwilling
to accept established norms, rules, and values, entered the profession. This created general
uncertainty among teachers, which contributed to undermine their authority. 4) Finally, the new
generation that came of age in the sixties rebelled against the "establishment," and they
questioned and criticized conventional norms and values. This gave way to the young
generation’s dismissal of adult prerogatives and rights.104
Strained relationships between teachers and society developed as a result of social
unrest, lack of funding and the public’s dwindling faith in their schools as a source for
satisfying individual needs in the local community. Teachers were expected to provide good
education according to mainstream public opinion, and as the social unrest of the 1960
increased, this became an impossible task for the teaching force. Society’s impatience for
change put a heavy pressure on educators. The public’s call for providing “quality education”
and “equality of educational opportunity” were diffuse, and as Passow commented, these
notions were not clearly defined.105 The mounting problems faced by the educational system
were problems that would require many years to solve, and with less and less funding in the
years to follow, the task did not become easier. More and more, teachers, administrators, and
unions were criticized by the media and thereby by larger and larger segments of society.
According to Berliner and Biddle, the worsened working conditions that developed
after the late sixties caused less interest in making teaching a career. The result was a huge
teacher shortage, especially in inner-city schools. The positive effect of this phenomenon after
it was realized in the mid-eighties, was higher salaries and more power for teachers in
decision making. On the negative side the burden on the individual teacher rose as a result of
high turnover, lack of professional staff, and under-staffing. Those who chose to stay on
found themselves isolated and disrespected, and the path to reestablish good working
conditions necessarily had to be a long one.106
With three periods of Republican presidents (Reagan and Bush) starting in 1981,
attacks on public education and educators became commonplace. Right-wing politics and the
desire to re-create conditions similar to those following WW II, lead to a heavy emphasis on
the availability of private schools. With the Bush administrations’ report on publication “A
Nation at Risk” in 1983, the “mother of all critiques” on public education was born.107
However, the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 changed these conditions. The new president
103 David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis, (Reading, MA, 1995), 130.
104 G. Grant, "The Teachers' Predicament," in Teachers College Record, Vol. 84, No. 3, 1983, 593-609.
105 Barry A. Farber, Crisis in Education. Stress and Burn-out in the American Teacher, (San Francisco, 1991),
155.
106 David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis, (Reading, 1995), 139.
107 Chester E. Finn Jr., “A Nation Still at Risk,” in Commentary, May 1989, 17.
32
wants to be remembered as one who contributed greatly to education, but thoughts and ideas
from the time of the two Republican presidents still linger and cause pressure on educators.
Education Politics After the Early 1980s
The criticism of American education and teachers reached a peak in 1983 with the
National Commission of Excellence in Education's publication of “A Nation at Risk.” The
report portrayed a sad picture of the academic standards in American primary and secondary
education, and it became a landmark in the history of school reform. Teachers were accused of
being ill-prepared, students did not work hard enough, and they studied the wrong subjects,
putting the future of the nation in jeopardy. The report made many charges about recent
"declines" in the academic achievement of American students. The claim was that all these
charges were based on evidence, yet no study was cited in the document to support the charges,
according to Berliner and Biddle.108
However, following the alarming report, President George Bush and a panel of the
nation’s governors established six broad targets for educational improvements, stated in the
"Educate America Act." This act was named "America 2000" during Bush’s term, and under
Clinton it has come to be known as "Goals 2000." Since 1983 education has become a
permanent issue on the national agenda, rather than just a local and state issue. Presidents Bush
and Clinton made “educational excellence” a major part of their campaigns, and also business
interests have joined the crusade for a better-trained work force.
For his last term, in his annual State of the Union Address in February 1997, President
Clinton announced that he wanted to ensure that America has the best educational system in the
world.109 His budget proposal and the State of the Union speech signaled the unusually strong
emphasis the president is giving to education during his second term.
A general criticism of Clinton’s education agenda from the Republicans is that Goals
2000 is part of a coordinated national plan to impose federal mandates, by-pass local control,
and eliminate accountability to the House of Representatives and the Senate. One line in his
State of the Union Address in 1997 was “greeted by stony silence ... : ‘We can no longer hide
behind our love of local control of the schools and use that as an excuse not to hold ourselves to
high standards.’”110 However, Democratic politics might seem to be more fortunate to achieve
satisfactory and uniform conditions for students and teachers. A strong indication of this is that
even though president George Bush dedicated himself to improved education, very little was
actually achieved during his term. On the other hand, President Clinton's proposals for increased
spending have gained the approval also of significant numbers of Republican representatives in
Congress. Most recently Congress passed a bill that allows for important improvements in areas
as for example, special education, safe and drug-free schools, and professional development.
Also, there will be a compounded effect of this bill in 1999.
American Lifestyles
American culture has produced lifestyles that have promoted burn-out on a large scale.
The combination of the foods that Americans eat and the lack of physical activity may very
well contribute to burn-out and development of serious diseases. In spite of the mistaken
belief that there has been a fitness revolution in the United States, K.J. Spangler in 1997 found
that nearly 80 percent of adult Americans don't engage in enough regular physical activity
(such as physical recreation) to improve their health.111 Also, recent and current trends
indicate that negative personal lifestyles are on the rise. The situation has become so
108 David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis. Myths, Frauds, and the Attack on America’s
Public Schools. (Reading, MA, 1995), 169.
109 David J. Hoff, “Clinton Gives Top Billing to Education Plan,” in Education Week, Feb. 12, 1997.
[http://www.edweek.org/ew/vol-16/20clint.h16]
110 Phyllis Schlafly, “Clinton is Trying to Eliminate Local Control of Education,” in an Events, Vol. 53, No. 9, Mar.
7, 1997, 30.
33
exacerbated throughout the last couple of decades that both the federal government and many
state governments have taken steps to inspire people to change their living habits. The most
important problem remains, however, that after decades of promoting better diet and exercise,
obesity is on the rise and the vast majority of Americans still do not participate in healthsupporting
physical activity.
Although evidence has been accumulating about the benefits of physical activity,
several societal trends involve more sedentary lifestyles. In the "information age," more and
more individuals sit in front of computer screens for large portions of their work day. Public
schools, hard-pressed for financial resources, devote fewer of their financial resources to
physical activity instruction, playgrounds and after-school sports programs. Likewise,
communities strapped for funding often have less to invest in parks and recreation facilities.
Also, because of increased rates in violent crime, many people have been afraid to exercise in
their own neighborhoods, and children and youth find watching television or playing video
games easier than individual or group physical activity. As many as 250,000 deaths per year
in the United States can be attributed to the lack of regular physical activity.112 These trends
are very unfortunate because medical evidence has demonstrated that physical activity
reduces the risk of many diseases, including hypertension, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Exercise also improve many of the biological measures associated with health and
psychological functioning.
"Fast Foods"
Obesity is closely related with both the lack of exercise and eating too much. Rich
foods are easily available all over the US through "fast-food" chains. Eating out and to-go
foods are big business in the America, and more than half the population use these services
every day. Turnover in the industry in 1990 was approximately a thousand dollars per capita,
and the industry is growing, up 458 % from 1970 to 1990. Because of the large volume of
business, foods provided by these suppliers have an enormous impact on Americans dietary
habits and health.
Increased awareness among customers and within the industry itself has lead to focus
on the ingredients in fast foods. High sodium content, and too much fat and sugar in the items
served at about thirty-five fast food chains already a long time ago gave rise to concern. Much
has been done to solve these problems, and today it is possible to have so-called healthy
meals--low in sodium, carbohydrates, and sugar--if the customer is well enough educated to
choose rightly. However, all-you-can-eat menus and rich desserts easily tempt customers to
get lost in the jungle of calories, sodium, sugar and fiber. As long as these items are on the
menus, they inevitably stir the customers’ appetite for the less healthy nutrition, and they
become victims of their own craving for "junk foods."
Suggested Solutions to the Burn-out Problem
Research on teacher burn-out has produced several strategies for fighting it. Richard
E. Barter recommends changes of a funding nature, such as: higher pay and greater
production of teachers, faculty improvement funds for advanced courses in teaching, faculty
cultural funds to provide tickets to opera, theater, etc.113 Besides recommendations of a
funding nature, solutions fall into two main categories: techniques and strategies for behavior
administered by the individual teacher only, and techniques and strategies for behavior that
require cooperation with other persons.
111K.J. Spangler, “Doing Our Part to Promote Healthy Lifestyles,” in Parks and Recreation, Vol. 32, No. 10,
1997, 54.
112 National Recreation and Park Association’s Active Living/Healthy Lifestyles Program, “National Agenda,”
Parks and Recreation, Vol. 30, No. 10, 1995, 44.
113 R.E. Barter, “Rejuvenating Teachers,” in Independent School, Vol. 43, No. 3, 1984, 37-42.
34
Anthony C. Riccio observes that a number of people who do stress workshops are of
the opinion that teachers can do very little on the job to reduce stress significantly. Rather
they recommend that teachers actively avoid engaging in confrontations with peers and
supervisors, and not take personally events that can threaten their sense of well-being.
However, these workshop leaders also put heavy emphasis on diet and exercise to get the
teacher’s mind and body tough enough to withstand the rigors of teaching.114 A leading
researcher in the field of burn-out, Edward F. Iwanicki, posits that teachers use relaxation
techniques in order to deal with their role-related stress. More specifically Iwanicki
recommends TM, and a simple breathing exercise, along with physical exercise and a
healthful diet.115 Another highly recognized researcher in the field, Yvonne Gold, strongly
recommends physical exercise programs that include stress reduction through the use of
relaxation techniques. She also advises taking inventory of outside activities such as eating
and sleeping habits.116
Obviously, some leading scholars assume it is possible to achieve significant results
through changing habits in one’s private life, and that the use of relaxation techniques adds to
the ability to fight burn-out. As a response to the research in this thesis on the importance of
personal lifestyle habits and their effects on teacher burn-out, the author received an e-mail
from one of the foremost researchers on burn-out, Ayala Pines. Her opinion of the idea that
the use of TM might be a tool to prevent burn-out was “I also think that the idea of using
meditation to help cope with burn-out is a fine one.”117 Likewise, perhaps the most renowned
researcher on burn-out, Christina Maslach, sent an e-mail regarding this research saying “the
issue you have identified is an interesting one, and I hope you are able to develop a reasonable
project to study it.”118
The Press and Education
The press has come to play an increasingly important role in shaping public opinion.
Unfortunately enough, the press does not always aim at objectivity. Newspapers and weekly
magazines tend to look for catastrophes, exaggeration, and scandals. They welcome
opportunities to cause discontent, and education gets its share of unfair mocking. Myths are
created by repeating the same message over and over again. A well-known example of this,
according to Berliner and Biddle is that “those who enter teaching have little ability and
receive a poor academic education.” The fact is, according to these authors, that teachers’
SAT-scores have risen since 1981, and the percentage of teachers with advanced
qualifications increased sharply between 1961 and 1991. Moreover, during the same time
period the number of teachers with masters and doctorate degrees climbed dramatically, and
the share of these in the early 1990s stayed at about 50%.119Therefore the claim that teacherquality
has declined during the past few decades may not be an accurate account of the reality
of the matter. Supposedly, another well-known myth is that “student achievement has recently
fallen across the nation.” According to Jimmie Cook this is not true. One had to understand
114 Anthony C. Riccio, “On Coping with the Stresses of Teaching,” in Theory Into Practice, Vol. 22, No. 1, 1983,
43.
115 Edward F. Iwanicki, “Toward Understanding and Alleviating Teacher Burn-out,” in Theory Into Practice,
Vol. XXII, No. 1, 1983, 30.
116 Yvonne Gold, “Burn-out: A Major Problem for the Teaching Profession," in Education, Vol. 104, No. 3,
1984, 273.
117 Ayala Pines, e-mail, Feb. 2., 1998.
[pinesa@inter.net.il]
118 Christina Maslach, e-mail, Jan. 14., 1998.
[maslach@socrates.berkeley.edu]
119 David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis. Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s
Public Schools, (Reading, MA, 1995), 102-3.
35
the limitations of the SAT test that generated such an incorrect statement.120 A third myth that
has tended to recur in the media is that the US spends more money per pupil in public
education than any other country in the world. In fact, according to a recent survey, America
ranks number seven, and Switzerland spends twice as much (7,061 vs. 3,456 dollars).121 A
fourth myth is that America does not produce enough scientists, mathematicians, and
engineers. The truth is that the US produces more of these degrees in comparison of four-year
degrees than any other nation. Berliner and Biddle hold that America is doing relatively well
in the field of education, but that it is a problem that the media try to draw a picture that
shows the opposite.122
Since the early 1980s, Americans have been subjected to a massive campaign of
criticism directed at their public schools and colleges. As a result, the critics charge, US
students are being shortchanged and the nation is “at risk.” Unfortunately, these charges have
also often been made by the White House and other prestigious sources, and they have been
picked up and elaborated in the media. According to Berliner and Biddle the public tends to
believe in what the media presents as truth and statistical facts, and this in turn severely
influences experiences of teachers.123 The media to a great extent determines the status of
teachers and heavily influences educational policies and the teachers’ feelings of being
recognized as worthy professionals.
Fundamental Problems Attached to the Teaching Profession
The burn-out that teachers experience has several sources, and the criticism of the
profession that arises in society is one of the most important ones. The reason for this criticism
is that the educational system is not able to produce what society needs. A wide-spread opinion
has been that students do not learn, that economic productivity is not growing, and that the
country’s economic competitiveness has declined. The teachers are called to blame for all this
because they are ill prepared and do not do their jobs properly. David F. Labaree summed up
complaints about teacher education in one sentence: “Schools of education have failed to
provide an education for teachers that is either academically elevated or pedagogically
effective.”124
At the turn of the 20th century, when the primary school system could no longer meet
the demands by society for sophisticated knowledge, there was a resulting need for rapid
expansion of secondary education. The teaching profession had since the middle of the 19th
century been filled mostly by women. Generally the ratio between female and male teachers
stayed at two to one between 1870 and 1970.125 Low pay and high turnover were typical for
educators--women usually stayed only until they married. The increasing demand for more
teachers and higher efficiency around the year 1900, led to an increased pace in educating new
teachers at "normal schools" (teachers' colleges). In 1920 there were nearly six times as many
women as men in the profession.126 Labaree argues that because of the increased demand for
more teachers, and the disproportionate number of women in the profession, the pay and social
120 Jimmie Cook, ”America’s Schools More Than Measure Up,” in Teaching PreK-8, Vol. 28, No. 7, Apr. 1998,
30-31.
121 Ibid., 30-31.
122 David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle, The Manufactured Crisis. Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s
Public Schools, (Reading, MA, 1995), 64.
123 Ibid., 64.
124 David F. Labaree, “An Unloving Legacy: The Disabling Impact of the Market On American Teacher
Education,” in Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 75, No. 8, 1994, 593.
125 "Historical Statistics of the United States. Colonial Times to 1970," Washington DC, House Document Series,
No 93-78, 375-76.
126 Ibid., 375.
36
status for educated teachers have remained low and the professional training has continued to be
geared toward quantity rather than quality.127
Labaree goes on by claiming that teacher education has been inappropriate because the
market demanded that education at teachers' colleges also should provide academic degrees for
the purpose of social mobility, to allow students to aspire to other occupations than just
teaching. In other words, traditionally there has been confusion over which market teachers'
education is meant for. Moreover, there has also been a lack of defined professional
pedagogical objectives. The results, he asserts, have been thin coverage of subject matter, short
and superficial programs, accessibility for everyone, low levels of difficulty, and keeping the
training inexpensive.128
Because much of these fundamental conditions still remain, society perceives the
teaching profession to be something less than a fully respectable profession. The status
attributed to teachers is therefore a reflection of the public's mistrust in the purposefulness of
teacher preparation. Deeply rooted in history, this has been a problem hard to overcome.
Teachers still have to tolerate much unfounded criticism that should have been corrected
through changes in teacher education. However, the status of teachers is not fixed. After a trend
of lowering of teachers' status following the late sixties, the report on education "A Nation At
Risk" in 1983 helped put focus on the deteriorating conditions in the education system. As a
result negative evaluation of schools and teachers started to change, and teachers' salaries
started to improve. This as a forerunner to the commitment of President Clinton to further
improve education and teachers' working conditions holds promise that teachers are on the
move toward their rightful place on the social ladder.
Education and Public Opinion
Public opinion is determining also for much of the fulfillment teachers get from their
work. It sets criteria that the teaching profession has to take seriously in its planning. The
public's expectations to the educational system are therefore crucial factors that must be
accounted for when trying to improve student academic standards. According to the 29th
Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll in 1997 of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools,
the public, in order to ensure better academic results, would like to have public schools:
· where there is a computer in every class room,
· that parents and students can choose among,
· where "troublemakers" are put into separate schools,
· where national standards for measuring academic performance are established,
· in which students are grouped in classes according to ability,
· with a national curriculum,
· that provide health care services.129
These points are important for policy makers to heed when planning. President Clinton
supported the first two of these points in his State of the Union Address in 1997, and likewise
national standards was the first among ten points listed for education. There is an ongoing
debate whether disruptive students should be put in separate schools (spring 1998). However,
the public's desire for a national curriculum was not mentioned by the president in his speech,
but the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards is a response to the problem of
lacking standards in public schools. The last point in the poll, the providing of health care
127 David F. Labaree, “An Unloving Legacy: The Disabling Impact of the Market On American Teacher
Education,” in Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 75, No. 8, 1994, 594-95.
128 Ibid., 594.
129 C.R. Lowell, A.M. Gallup, and S.M. Elam, “The 29th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s
Attitudes Toward the Public Schools,” in Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 79, No. 1, 1997, 41-56.
37
services in public schools, was not referred to by the president but has nevertheless been
implemented in many schools.
After all, public schools and public school teachers are enjoying high credibility in
society. High public support was indicated when people were asked to grade the public school
in their community, and 46% gave them an A or a B. This poll therefore may indicate that
teachers' work conditions will keep improving. Politicians' efforts to integrate the public's
desires into their plans will strengthen teachers' goodwill in society. The public's acceptance of
the teaching profession as a "worthy" profession will through political actions provide a good
basis for better pay, more appropriate class sizes, more of the paperwork to be taken care of by
administrators, better teaching materials, improved school buildings, and more teachers to
handle assignments related to children with learning problems and the many different
expectations from society. Probably, higher status may lure more men into teaching and provide
a better balance between the sexes. Also, mocking of the teaching profession in the media most
likely will diminish greatly as a result of teachers' strengthened social standing. Furthermore,
parents' sense of responsibility might improve due to increased respect for teachers, and
disciplinary problems and crime in schools will therefore most likely diminish, too. Lastly, the
need for school option130 and school vouchers131 will be reduced when all public schools
become "good public schools."
Changes in all these areas will for many sound unrealistic. However, the simple fact is
that with a concerted effort among all relevant authorities, a much more homogenous quality of
schools could be achieved. With the efforts of the present White House administration, the hope
is that a permanent improvement of an ailing American education system already is secured.
Some problems might temporarily exacerbate the situation though, as for instance the increasing
share of single mothers among parents. However, better education may ultimately influence
also this unfortunate trend.
Concluding Remarks
American education suffers from a lack of consistent quality and inadequacies. It is
therefore a commonly accepted fact that the average private school is better than the average
public school. Teachers' problems on the job can be used as a gauge to determine the level of
difficulty in a school or in a school district, and the literature attributes the term "teacher burnout"
to depict much of the price teachers have had to pay for inappropriate working conditions.
Burn-out is probably responsible for some of the teacher attrition although clear-cut statistical
data for this does not exist. There are numerous reasons for why teachers experience the varying
degrees of discomfort and disease resulting from burn-out. Researchers conclude that the causes
of this problem include for example, teachers' idealism, disruptive students, lack of cooperation
with supervisors, low salaries, and implementation of reforms. Not surprisingly, American
history shows that teachers today have inherited some of these problems on the job from
colleagues in the distant past. In other words, some of the challenges that teachers have, always
existed while some are added as a result of changes in an evolving society. One of the
unfortunate results of an affluent society is the consumption of too much rich food and the lack
of physical activity. These nourish sedentary lifestyles and wide-spread burn-out, not only
among school teachers but also among large segments of the American people.
However, there are many positive aspects of American education. Many teachers are
very happy with their choice of career, and the desire to work with children has for many years
been teachers' most important motivating factor when choosing profession. Also, pay is no
130 "School option" is the allows students/parents to choose among public schools and has gained popularity
during the last ten years.
131 A "voucher" is a sum of money granted by the government to students that want to attend private schools. The
money goes toward covering part of the tuition.
38
longer the critical issue it used to be ten years ago and earlier. Moreover, polls show that most
Americans are very conscious of the importance of both public and private education, and this
fact promises solutions to the existing challenges. A recent national poll by the Joint Center for
Political and Economic Studies revealed that in 1998 the support for school vouchers has
declined substantially.132 This could be a sign of increasing trust in the quality of public schools.
Most importantly perhaps, the present president has made education a top priority on his
agenda, and has hopefully set in motion processes that will be carried further by his successor
regardless of political affiliation. Therefore, the present situation in American education holds
great promise that it will achieve its rightful position in society, and that the teaching profession
will attract the best teachers through their heightened status.
132 National Education Association. [http://www.nea.org/]
39
CHAPTER 2
METHODS, PROCEDURES, AND ANALYSIS
Research Design
In this study, three schools in the southeastern part of Iowa are compared with regard
to quality of school-culture. One school is public, while the two others are private--one of
these is a Catholic school. This study hypothesizes that degree of teacher job satisfaction--or
teacher burnout--is a direct measure of school culture. Student achievement has been
indicated to be the most important factor determining teacher satisfaction,133 and therefore it is
hypothesized that the public school teachers have a higher degree of burnout than their
colleagues at the two private schools. Furthermore, the practice of Transcendental Meditation
(TM) has been demonstrated to reduce stress and improve health in numerous studies,134 and
one of the hypotheses of this study is that the TM practicing teachers at the Maharishi School
of the Age of Enlightenment (MSAE) have the lowest degree of burnout of the three samples.
The questionnaire the Maslach Burnout Inventory Educators Survey (MBI--ES) was
used in order to collect quantitative data and determine degree of burnout of the three groups
of faculty members--a total of 171 full-time teachers. Additionally, thirty subjects volunteered
to be interviewed over the telephone to provide qualitative data. These persons were asked
questions on traditional causes of burnout derived from the literature on the topic. Questions
were also asked regarding their personal lifestyle habits pertaining to for example diet and
exercise, plus a few questions on cultural aspects. Finally, another three volunteers were
interviewed face-to-face regarding specific problem areas at the three schools. These specific
problem areas appeared through the telephone interviews. The qualitative data collected
allowed for a more in-depth comparison of teacher burnout and the qualities of cultures at the
three schools.
Instrumentation
The well-tested and recognized Maslach Burnout Inventory--Educators Survey (MBI--
ES) was used as the initial means of primary data collection. This questionnaire was
developed by Christina Maslach, Susan E. Jackson, and Michael P. Leiter in order to
standardize and facilitate research on burnout. Because of the high level of interest in teacher
burnout, and the necessity for more research in this particular field, the Maslach Burnout
Inventory has been adapted to the particular needs of measuring teacher burnout.
Development of the current version of the MBI has occurred over a period of eight years (3rd
ed., 1996).
The MBI measures three aspects of the effect of burnout: degrees of emotional
exhaustion, depersonalization, and the sense of personal accomplishment. When "emotional
exhaustion" becomes chronic, teachers find they can no longer give of themselves to students
as they once could. "Depersonalization" makes educators show cynical attitudes toward
students, and these may be displayed in a variety of ways: using derogatory labels, being cold
or distant, and psychological withdrawing. The feeling of low "personal accomplishment" is
very harmful to teachers. They entered the profession in order to help their students grow and
133 Steve Dinham, "Enhancing the Quality of Teacher Satisfaction," paper presented at the National Conference
of the Australian College of Education, Launceston, Tasmania. Sept. 28-30, 1994, 22 pages.
134 D.W. Orme-Johnson, J.T. Farrow, and L.H. Domash, (Seelisberg, Switzerland, 1976), and R. Chalmers, G.
Clements, H. Schenklun, and M. Weinless, (Fairfield, IA, 1990-1991), Scientific Research on the
Transcendental Meditation Program, Collected Papers, Volume 1, and Scientific Research on the
Transcendental Meditation Program, Collected Papers, Volumes 2-5.
37
achieve, and there are few other areas in which they can focus and receive rewards when they
no longer see this happen. These three qualities represent the three sub-scales of the MBI. The
subscales are kept separate at present and are not computed into an overall score. For
example, a person who scores high on emotional exhaustion, low on depersonalization, and
high on personal accomplishment, may be in a different stage or phase of burnout than
someone who scores high on both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and low on
personal accomplishment. However, there is no certain cut-off score that defines a state of
burnout. Rather there is a continuum between more and less burned out. Items are written in
the form of statements about personal feelings or attitudes. The items are: "never," "a few
times a year or less," "once a month or less," "a few times a month," "once a week," "a few
times a week," and "every day."
The inter-correlation between the MBI subscales are as follows:
Emotional Exhaustion Depersonalization
Depersonalization 0.52
Personal Accomplishment -0.22 -0.26
Source: 135
Using the MBI-ES in research studies allows for better understanding of the personal,
social, and institutional variables that either promote or reduce the occurrence of teacher
burnout. In addition to the significance of this knowledge for theories of emotional stress and
job stress, such information will have the practical benefit of suggesting modifications in
recruitment, training, and job design that may alleviate this problem. Many of the aspects that
contribute to burnout among educators have been studied, such as caseload, role conflict,
work pressure, lack of peer support, lack of promotion opportunity, personal expectations,
motivation, and differences between the sexes. However, there might be potentially important
characteristics that have not been studied yet.
The MBI-ES has the same three burnout scales as the Maslach Burnout Inventory—
Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS), and they are basically identical. The only modification
of items in the MBI-ES has been to change the word “recipient” to “student.” When
administering the MBI-ES, the same procedures are followed as with the MBI-HSS, and the
same key is used for calculating scores. The same cautions and recommendations apply to
both. The reliability and validity of these two instruments are therefore identical.
Reliability of the MBI-HSS: Internal consistency has been estimated with
Chronbach’s coefficient alpha (n=1,316), and the reliability coefficients for the three
subscales were as follows: 0.90 for "emotional exhaustion," 0.79 for "depersonalization," and
0.71 for "personal accomplishment." The standard errors of measurement were: 3.80 for
"emotional exhaustion," 3.16 for "depersonalization," and 3.73 for "personal
accomplishment."136
Validity of the MBI-HSS: Convergent validity has been demonstrated in several
ways. First, an individual’s MBI-HSS scores were correlated with behavioral ratings made
independently by a person who knew the individual well. Second, MBI-HSS scores were
correlated with the presence of certain job characteristics that were expected to contribute to
experiences of burnout. Third, MBI-HSS scores were correlated with measures of various
outcomes that had been hypothesized to be related to burnout. All three correlation sets
provided substantial evidence for the validity of the MBI-HSS and are presented in Appendix
C in the Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual, Third Edition.
135 Maslach, C., Jackson, S.E., and Leiter, M.P. Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual. Palo Alto: Consulting
Psychologists Press, Inc., 1996, p. 44.
136 Christina Maslach, Susan E. Jackson, and Michael P. Leiter, Maslach Burnout Inventory. Third Edition, (Palo
Alto, 1996), 12.
38
Eleven questions were added to the MBI-ES to gather demographic data to correlate
burnout with independent variables as for example teachers’ age and class size. Also, at the
end of this section, people were asked to write down their private telephone number for an indepth
interview over the telephone. This interview included 30 questions based on traditional
causes of burnout described in the literature on the subject. Also, 17 questions were asked on
educational issues related to politics and culture. Finally, 16 questions were asked on personal
lifestyle habits like, diet, exercise, the use of alcohol, etc. The last level of obtaining data from
the teachers surveyed with the MBI-ES, was done through interviewing some of the subjects
interviewed on the telephone face to face. The purpose with this was to probe deeper into
certain areas that seemed to be of particular interest at the schools. Other primary sources
were governmental statistics and reports on education, opinion polls and surveys on teachers
and education and union reports and newsletters. All these were available through both library
services and the internet.
Secondary sources: The bulk of the information on teacher burnout came from books
and journal articles on teacher stress and burnout, but regular history books were also valuable
sources. The date of the articles ranged from the mid-seventies when teacher burnout became
a widely recognized phenomenon, until the present. Considering the magnitude of attention
given to teacher burnout, and also the high level of interest among many scholars and
officials, it is reasonable to assume that these sources provided a well-balanced and high
quality picture of a problem that has remained potent over the last quarter century.
Sampling Techniques
A public K-12 school and two private K-12 schools were needed for this research. The
only American K-12 school where TM is practiced, is the Maharishi School of the Age of
Enlightenment (MSAE) in Fairfield, Iowa. The private school sector includes a wide array of
schools, and the most common kind, the Catholic schools, was chosen to represent the other
private school in this study. The two other schools (one Catholic and one public) had to be in
the same area of the country, and preferably in the same part of the state to ensure as similar
conditions as possible regarding geographical environments’ influences on the dependent
variable, the three schools. The Regina Education Center in Iowa City, and a public school
within an hour’s travel by car from Fairfield, were chosen. Public schools are generally larger
than private schools, and even though relatively small, the size of this public school was about
twice that of the two private schools.
Data Collection Methodology
Guidelines in the Maslach Burnout Inventory Manual estimate that filling in the MBIES
takes ten to 15 minutes. The fact that this form is a highly professional instrument
strengthened the likeliness for positive responses when asking the superintendents and
principals for permission to have the teachers complete this form. The surveying had to take
place at the schools and preferably in meetings because the schools were not allowed to give
away teachers’ addresses or telephone numbers. However, the ten minutes that was suggested
the assignment would take, was enough to make the school officials hesitate somewhat. In
reality they were asked to postpone school matters on their agendas. Also, free time would be
taken from the teachers, for which there would be no compensation. Anyhow, the requests
were honored, and the surveying could proceed with the necessary support from the officials.
Grade Levels: The public school divided their grades into three levels: grades K-4 =
lower school, grades 5-8 = middle school, and grades 9-12 = upper school. The Catholic
school, the Regina Education Center, applied a different system: K-6 = lower school, and 7-
12 = upper school. The MSAE school used the traditional way of three grade levels but
different from the public school in that their K-6 = lower school, 7-9 = middle school, and 10-
39
12 = upper school. The teachers were not instructed to inform about grades taught. Because of
only two levels at the Catholic school, the two upper levels at the two other schools had to be
grouped together when analysing results.
The surveying at the public school went smoothly. The surveyor was invited to come
to a collective meeting where all the teachers were gathered, and they could therefore receive
exactly the same information. The drawback with this was that the teachers had to be
informed orally to put down which levels they taught, and 16 teachers did not remember to
give this information. Because of the large number of teachers present and time-pressure, it
was not possible for the surveyor to receive the completed forms directly from all the teachers
and check if they followed the instructions fully. The 16 teachers that did not indicate "grade
levels taught" therefore constitute a fourth group that most likely is made up of individuals
from all the three other groups (teaching lower, middle, and upper schools). Twelve teachers
signed up for being interviewed over the telephone.
The collecting of data at the Regina Education Center was almost as easy as at the
public school. The school had only a lower and an upper school, and the completion of the
MBI-ES took place at two meetings, one for the lower school and one for the upper. Eight
teachers volunteered for being interviewed over the telephone.
The completion of the MBI-ES at MSAE was a rather time-consuming and
disorganized process. A meeting where all the teachers were present would have been the
ideal setting. This was not possible as the school’s schedule did not include such a meeting at
the time of the year. Therefore, the completion of the forms had to take place in smaller
meetings, and some ten individuals were not present. These teachers had to be tracked down
and encouraged to complete the survey at home. Also, due to the surveyor’s double-booking
on one occasion, the personnel director had to take his place and instruct teachers at a small
meeting how to follow the procedure recommended in the MBI Manual.
Ten teachers at the public school were interviewed on the telephone over a two-week
period of time, starting May 26th, 1998. Five of these were teaching in elementary school,
four in middle school, and one in upper school. Due to confidentiality concerns, information
that might reveal the identity of the teacher with whom I met face-to-face, will not be given.
At the Catholic school another eight teachers were interviewed by telephone during the same
time period, and one, who taught upper school, was interviewed face-to-face. The twelve
interviews with the MSAE teachers lasted into the summer. The reason for this was that they
were difficult to reach. However, the validity of these interviews did not seem to be
influenced by the fact that some were done late. Therefore, they were considered as useful for
this research as the rest. One of these teachers was interviewed face-to-face.
A tape recorder was used to record the telephone interviews and the face-to-face
interviews. This provided excellent quotations. A table was constructed to calculate
percentages for the responses over the telephone. The figures in this table had no statistical
significance but allowed for comparison of the schools in general ways (see table 6, Appendix
2).
The length of the telephone interviews varied between 20 minutes and 1 hour and 15
minutes, and most common was 40 to 50 minutes. The interviews were structured, asking all
interviewees the same 63 questions. Twenty questions were added or slightly re-phrased for
the teachers interviewed at MSAE to gain information pertaining to their practice of TM. Due
to the nature of the telephone conversations, the questions were not always followed exactly
because the overall impression was more important than statistics. More than half the
questions asked on teacher satisfaction did not provide particularly interesting information.
Only those which were of general common interest, and the ones that tied in with certain
problem areas at the particular schools, are referred to in this text.
40
The face-to-face interviews were used to probe into the problem areas above in order
to uncover patterns and subliminal sources of teacher dissatisfaction not apparent in the
telephone interviews. Therefore, the questions asked had to be spontaneous and unstructured.
The three teachers were also allowed to express what they thought was positive about their
jobs.
Computerization Processes and Statistical Analysis Procedures
The SPSS statistical analysis program was used for the computerization processes.
Only the data collected through the surveying of the 171 teachers qualified for statistical
analysis. These data included the scores computed for the three sub-scales for each
case--"Emotional Exhaustion," "Depersonalization," and "Personal Accomplishment"--plus
the responses to the questions on demographics. All the information was turned into
numerical data and loaded into the system as the following variables:
· Emotional Exhaustion (measuring teachers' degree of emotional fatigue). Numeric/Ratio level.
Range: 0 - 54.
· Depersonalization (measuring teachers' degree of cynical attitudes toward their students).
Numeric/Ratio level. Range: 0 - 30.
· Personal Accomplishment (measuring teachers' sense of achievement on the job). Numeric/Ratio
level. Range: 0 - 48.
· Age (classifying teachers' age). Numeric/Ratio level. Range: 22 - 63.
· Average Number of Students in Class (classifying average class size taught). Numeric/Ratio level.
Range: 4 - 94.
· Teaching Experience (classifying length of teaching experience). Numeric/Ratio level. Range: 1 -
35.
· Number of Offspring (classifying teachers' number of children). Numeric/Ratio level. Range: 0 -
4.
· Grade Level Taught (classifying the level most commonly taught). Categorial/Ordinal level.
Range: 1 - 3 (1=lower school, 2=middle school, 3=upper school).
· Place (the three different schools). Categorial/Nominal level. Range: 1 - 3 (1=public school,
2=Catholic school, 3=MSAE).
· Marital Status (categorizing teachers' marital status). Categorial/Nominal level. Range: 1 - 2.
(1=single/divorced, 2=married).
· Gender (categorizing teachers' sex). Categorial/Nominal level. Range: 0 - 1 (0=female, 1=male).
Numerical Data Testing
Analysis of variance (ANOVA) is a statistical technique designed to determine
whether or not a particular classification of data on the interval and ratio levels is meaningful.
The total variation in the dependent variable (the sum of squared differences between each
observation and the overall mean) can be expressed as the sum of the variation between
classes (the sum of the squared differences between the mean of each class and the overall
mean, each times the number of observations in that class) and the variation within each class
(the sum of the squared difference between each observation and its class mean). This
decomposition is used to structure an F test to test the hypothesis that the between-class
variation is large relative to the within-class variation, which implies that the classification is
meaningful, i.e., that there is a significant variation in the dependent variable between classes.
A list of F values is worked out and standardized so that the values can be used to determine
the level of significance for the results of the ANOVA test.
A one-way ANOVA test was performed in order to detect differences between the
three schools on two groups of dependent variables: one group of dependent variables in the
test may be termed “burnout variables” (Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and
41
Personal Accomplishment), and the other group was the “teacher background variables” (Age,
Offspring, Class Size, and Teaching Experience). Place (the three schools) was the
independent variable. The dependent variables had to be numerical (interval or ratio level).
Interval level data has no absolute zero value, but the distance between each observation has
to be the same on a scale. An example of this is time expressed in years “the absolute year
0”--when time actually started--cannot be determined. Ratio level data refers to data with
absolute zero values, like for instance “age.” In this study, only ratio level data expressed as
dependent variables (the burnout variables and the teacher background variables) was tested
by analysis of variance (ANOVA).
The reason why this particular test was chosen, is that it allowed for testing the
influence of Place (the three schools) on all the numerical teacher background variables at the
same time. The test indicated if there were significant differences between the three schools
on the burn-out variables (Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal
Accomplishment), and the teacher background variables (classified by the variables Age,
(Number of) Offspring, Class Size, and (Amount of) Teaching Experience).
Categorical Data Testing
The chi-square test was used to test the nominal level data in this study, classified by
the dependent variables Gender and Marital Status. The test allowed for testing for significant
differences in the distribution of gender and teachers’ marital status at the three schools. Only
data that can be put into a cross-tabulation can be tested with the chi-square test. In the crosstabulation,
the theoretical, expected distribution the way it would be if the two variables were
completely independent, represents the base line. To calculate the chi-square, one subtracts
the expected value in each cell of the cross-tabulation and squares each result to eliminate the
effect of minus signs. Then one divides each result by the expected value to obtain results in
the form of unitless numbers, and adds the results.
Comparisons of Means
Comparison of means was used to construct the following cross-tabulations, or
contingency tables (dependent variable listed first in each pair):
· Age/Teaching Experience, Gender/Place, Teachers’ Marital Status/Place.
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment/Teachers’ Age.
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment/Gender.
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment/Teachers’ Marital
Status.
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment/Amount of Teaching
Experience.
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment/Place.
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment/Grade Level Taught
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment/Grade Level.
· Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment/Class Size.
· Class Size/Place, Teachers’ Age/Place, Class Size/Place, Teachers’ Teaching Experience/Place.
The Pearson correlation coefficient "r" was used to indicate the correlation between
the variables: Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, Personal Accomplishment, Age,
Gender, Number of Offspring, Class Size, Amount of Teaching Experience, Grade Level
Taught, and Teachers’ Marital Status.
HYPOTHESIZED FINDINGS
Analysis
42
The two null-hypotheses express that there is no difference between the qualities of
school culture in the three schools, and that the practice of TM has no effect on teacher
burnout and therefore does not cause a level of teacher burnout at MSAE to be any different
from that of the two other schools. If these hypotheses are refuted, the research question in
this study, what were the causes of teacher dissatisfaction in the institutional cultures of the
three schools in this study, has to be answered.
In order to determine possible differences in culture between the three schools and
causes of teachers' burnout, the following items are needed:
· Correlation coefficients between Place (the three schools) and all the burnout variables (Emotional
Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment) plus all the numeric teacher
background variables (Age, (Number of) Offspring, Class Size, and (Amount of) Teaching
Experience). A frequency table for all the correlation coefficients is also needed and put in
Appendix 2.
· Chi-square coefficients to determine significant differences in the distribution of gender and
teachers’ marital status at the three schools.
· A correlation table for the coefficients between the "burnout variables" and the "teacher
background variables."
· Bivariate tables for:
· teacher burnout by Age (not shown due to no significant impact of Age on teacher
burnout),
· teacher burnout by (Amount of) Teaching Experience,
· teacher burnout by (Grade) Level Taught,
· teacher burnout by the three schools' different grade levels,
· teacher burnout by Class Size,
· teacher burnout by Gender,
· teacher burnout by Marital Status,
· Age by Place
· (Amount of) Teaching Experience by Place,
· Gender by Place,
· Marital Status by Place,
· teacher burnout by (Number of) Offspring (not shown due to no significant impact of
Offspring on teacher burnout),
· Class Size by Place.
· A graph to visualize level of teacher burnout at the three schools.
It should be noted that teacher burnout is determined by the three scores on the MBIES
subscales, Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment.
However, according to the Malach Burnout Inventory Manual, Third Edition, Emotional
Exhaustion and Depersonalization depict teacher stress and have been shown to be
consistently correlated with teachers' sense of accomplishment, measured with the subscale
Personal Accomplishment. Therefore, "teacher burnout" refers to all three parameters of the
MBI questionnaire.
Correlation coefficients that show significant differences between the three schools
with regard to the "burnout variables" and the "teacher background variables" are also
needed. A one-way analysis of variance test (a one-way ANOVA test) is used because it
allows for testing of correlation between the independent variable Place and the numeric
teacher background variables at the same time (see table 1). The two categorial/nominal level
teacher background variables Gender and Marital Status were tested with the chi-square test
to detect significant differences in distributions of gender and teachers’ marital status at the
three schools.
43
The correlation table for the coefficients between the "burnout variables" and the
"teacher background variables" serves to determine which, if any, of the independent teacher
background variables are significantly correlated (positively or negatively) with the dependent
burnout variables. The correlation coefficients indicate if any of the teacher background
variables cause significant variation in the burnout variables, and thereby cause differences in
teacher burnout at the three schools.
The bivariate tables show:
· how burnout varies according to teachers' age, length of teaching experience, grade level taught,
class size taught, gender, and marital status, and
· how teachers' age, length of teaching experience, sex, marital status, and average class size taught
vary by school.
These tables were therefore helpful in explaining what factors cause teacher stress, and
how the impact of certain such factors are different for the three schools.
Test on Significant Differences Between the Three Schools with Regard to the "Burnout
Variables" and the "Teacher Background Variables" -- One-way ANOVA Test
Table 1. One-way ANOVA (Analysis Of Variance) test table. Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
Dependent
Variables
Independent
variable "Place"
Sum of
Squares DF
Mean
Square R2 F-ratio p-value N
Emotional
Exhaustion
Place
Error
1717.999
15620.106
2
168
858.999
92.977
0.099 9.239 0.000* 171
(100.0)
Depersonalization Place
Error
632.059
3591.321
2
168
316.030
21.377
0.150 14.784 0.000* 171
(100.0)
Personal
Accomplishment
Place
Error
617.342
3981.512
2
168
308.671
23.699
0.134 13.024 0.000* 171
(100.0)
Age Place
Error
3357.086
13684.358
2
166
1678.543
82.436
0.197 20.362 0.000* 169
(98.8)
Offspring Place
Error
13.223
293.526
2
168
6.611
1.747
0.043 3.784 0.025* 171
(100.0)
Class
Size
Place
Error
1633.232
13495.041
2
165
816.616
81.788
0.108 9.985 0.000* 168
(98.2)
*Significant at the p<0.05 level.
The test shows that the independent variable Place (the three schools) cause significant
variation in all the dependent variables except for one, (Amount of) Teaching Experience. The
variation in the three "burnout variables" (the average MBI scores of each of the three groups
of teachers), and the "teacher background variables" (average scores on variables classifying
demographic data), shows that the three schools are significantly different from one another
with respect to:
· teacher stress (Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization scores),
· teachers' sense of accomplishment (Personal Accomplishment scores),
· their age,
· their number of offspring, and
· average class size taught.
These findings are significant on the p<0.05-level. Also, these results show that the
three school cultures as they relate to the “burnout variables” and the “teacher background
variables,” are significantly different from one another. The influence Place has on the
variation ratio for Teaching Experience (teachers’ average length of teaching experience) is as
close to being significant as possible (p=0.051, - not listed due its insignificance).
44
Testing for Differences in Distributions of Gender and Teachers’ Marital Status at the
Three Schools -- Chi-square Test
The chi-square test is used to test for differences in the variations of the variables
Gender and Marital Status (see Table 15 for the distribution of gender, and Table 16,
Appendix 2, for the distribution of unmarried and married teachers at the three schools). None
of the cells in the table have expected frequencies less than the required 5. The values of the
dichotomous variables are for Gender: 0=Female, 1=Male, and for Marital Status:
1=Single/Divorced, 2=Married.
Result of the chi-square test on the distribution of genders at the three schools: the
chi-square equals 1.86, with 2 degrees of freedom, and the p-value was 0.395.
Result of the chi-square test on teachers’ marital status at the three schools: The chisquare
equals 13.41, with 2 degrees of freedom. The p-value was significant at the 0.01 level.
The test proved that the differences are so great that the probability of being caused by chance
is less than 1:100, or one percent.
Thus, the results of the chi-square test shows that:
· the three schools are not significantly different from one another with regard to
gender proportions, and
· the three schools populations of teachers are significantly different from one another
with regard to marital status of their teachers
It is necessary to find out which of the teacher background variables that are
significantly correlated with the burnout variables to probe deeper into how the three school
cultures are different from one another. A significant correlation measure means that change
in one independent variable will cause change in a corresponding dependent variable, and that
the probability for this to happen by chance is indicated by the actual p-value. A positive
correlation coefficient indicates that increasing values in one variable will be followed by
increasing values in the other. A negative correlation coefficient means that an increase in the
value in one variable will be accompanied by a decreasing value in the other.
Teacher burnout reflects the quality of school culture. Therefore the teacher background
variables which are positively or negatively correlated with any of the burnout variables, will
help explain the occurrences of burnout. A Pearson correlation coefficient “r” table is worked
out below:
Table 2. Pearson correlation coefficients "r," expressed for the combinations of
"burnout variables" (MBI sub-scale scores) and "teacher background variables."
Burnout Variables Teacher Background Variables
Gender
Class
Size
Teaching
Experience
Level
Taught
Marital
Status
Emotional Exhaustion 0.31 0.141 0.050 -0.122 0.152*
Depersonalization 0.284* 0.194* 0.155* 0.236* 0.114
* Correlation significant at the p<0.05 level (2-tailed test).
Note: 137
Emotional Exhaustion (teachers’ emotional fatigue) is positively correlated with only
one variable, Marital Status (teachers’ marital status). The surprising fact in this study is that
137 Personal Accomplishment (teachers’ sense of accomplishment) was not significantly correlated with any of
the teacher background variables. However, this variable is strongly negatively correlated with the Emotional
Exhaustion and Depersonalization. This means that by knowing scores on the Emotional Exhaustion and
Depersonalization parameters, the score on the Personal Accomplishment parameter can be predicted. The
"teacher background variables" Age and (Number of) Offspring were not included in the table because they were
not significantly correlated with any of the "burnout variables."
45
the positive correlation shows that unmarried teachers have less serious experiences of
emotional fatigue than those who are married. This is the opposite of what was found by
Maslach, Jackson, and Leiter.138
Depersonalization (teachers’ cynical attitudes) on the other hand, is positively
correlated with several variables: Gender, Class Size (average class size taught by the
teachers), (Amount of) Teaching Experience (teachers’ average length of teaching
experience), and (Grade) Level Taught (lower, intermediate, and upper levels). Results:
· Male teachers in this study tend to experience stronger cynical attitudes when teaching than
women do, and this is in accord with what was found by Maslach, Jackson, and Leiter.139
· Larger classes seem to cause more cynicism for the teachers than smaller classes do, and this was
also found by Glass and Smith.140
· Teaching upper rather than lower grades causes increased degree of cynical attitudes. This finding
is consistent with what Anderson and Iwanicki reported.141
Table 3 and Graph 1 show that the level of teacher burnout varies among the three
schools. The general tendency is that the all the three burnout parameters, Emotional
Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment, indicate that teacher
dissatisfaction is highest at the public school, followed by the Catholic school and MSAE
(high degree of burnout = high Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization scores, and low
Personal Accomplishment score--average degree of burnout = average scores on all three
parameters--low degree of burnout = low Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization
scores, and high Personal Accomplishment score).
Especially prominent is the difference in teachers’ cynical attitudes (Depersonalization
scores) between those at the public school and MSAE. Moreover, teachers’ sense of
achievement (Personal Accomplishment score) is lowest at public school and highest at
MSAE. The overall conclusion is that the MSAE teachers experience least burnout of the
three groups of teachers, and that the teachers at the public school has the highest burnout
scores. The MSAE teachers also have the highest sense of achievement, followed by the
Catholic school and the public school. Table 3 below shows the actual burnout scores for the
three schools.
Table 3. Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Personal
Accomplishment (PA) by school. Ranges of MBI sub-scales: See Table 2 above.
School EE DP PA N
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Public 24.03 9.53 9.16 4.99 38.24 5.10 75 (43.9)
Catholic 20.04 10.68 6.72 4.99 39.79 5.13 47 (27.5)
MSAE 16.49 8.72 4.59 3.54 42.8 4.20 49 (28.7)
All Three Schools 20.77 10.10 7.18 4.98 39.97 5.20 171 (100.0)
MBI Norms 21.25 11.01 11.00 6.19 33.54 6.89 4,163
The graph below shows the same results as table 3:
138 Ibid., 47.
139 Ibid., 47.
140 Anthony J. Cedoline, Job Burnout in Public Education. Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills, (New York,
1982), 102.
141 M.B. Anderson and E.F. Iwanicki, “Teacher Motivation and Its Relationship to Burnout,” in Education
Administration Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2,1984, 109-32.
46
Graph 1. Comparison of stress and sense of accomplishment at the three schools. Summaries of Emotional
Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Personal Accomplishment (PA) by school. Ranges of MBI subscales:
EE=0-54 (degrees of emotional fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average, 27-54 = high), DP=0-30 (degrees
of cynical attitudes toward students: 0-8 = low, 9-13 = average, 14-30 = high), PA=48 (degrees of sense of
accomplishment: 0-30 = low, 31-36 = average, 37-48 = high).
School
Public School Catholic School MSAE
50
40
30
20
10
Emotional Exhaustion
Depersonalization
Personal Accomp.ment
Based on the information in table 3 (and graph 1), the hypothesis that the public
school has the highest level of teacher burnout and MSAE the lowest, is accepted. Also, one
of the null-hypotheses, that there are no differences among the three school culture as
reflected through differences in degrees of teacher burnout, is refuted for the same reason.
However, it is not possible to refute the null-hypothesis that the practice of TM by itself
causes lower degree of burnout for the MSAE teachers than for the two other groups. The
reason for this was that even if the MSAE school teachers appear to have the lowest degree of
burnout, it is not possible to determine the importance of the practice of TM due to interfering
practices (see page 97).
It is highly interesting to compare this study’s data with the norms established by
Maslach et. al., based on their combined surveying of 4,163 teachers. In this study only the
public school teachers have a higher Emotional Exhaustion mean score than the MBI norm.
This means that in this study only the teachers at the public school experience feelings of
being more emotionally exhausted by their work than what has been commonly reported by
teachers. All the other mean scores at all three schools are more fortunate than the MBI
norms. Therefore, the teachers at the three schools in this study in general have considerably
more positive experiences as teachers than the average teacher surveyed by Maslach et. al.
UNHYPOTHESIZED FINDINGS
47
Burn-out and Amount of Teaching Experience. All Groups Combined
In this study, the longer the teachers have taught, the higher the degrees of cynical
attitudes (Depersonalization scores) (see table 8, Appendix 2). There is no clear pattern for the
two other measures, emotional fatigue and sense of job accomplishment (Emotional
Exhaustion and Personal Accomplishment scores). However, it is interesting to note that the
group with the second longest experience has the highest scores on both Emotional
Exhaustion and Personal Accomplishment, which seems like a contradiction. Perhaps this
could be perceived as if hard work that results in emotional over-extension is rewarded with
sense of higher accomplishment.
Teacher Stress and Accomplishment Relative to Grade Level Taught. All Groups
Combined
According to Anderson and Iwanicki, those teaching at middle and upper levels are
more prone to burnout than those teaching lower levels.142 The present study, however, paints a
mixed picture similar to Schwab’s and Iwanicki’s results143 (see table 9a, Appendix 2).
Teaching middle and upper levels contrasted with teaching elementary school causes a
significant variation in teachers’ cynical attitudes (Depersonalization scores). The tendency
seems to be the same for Emotional Exhaustion scores, although not significant. The lower
school teachers have the lowest average score on this parameter, despite the MSAE lower
school teachers' relative high average score (20.05, - see table 10, Appendix 2). Teaching
lower school causes less emotional fatigue than teaching at the upper levels (see table 9b,
Appendix 2), and this supports the findings by Anderson and Iwanicki.
Teacher Stress and Sense of Accomplishment at the Three Schools' Different Levels
As shown in table 10, Appendix 2, the MSAE lower school staff appear to have a high
level of emotional fatigue (Emotional Exhaustion score) compared with the teachers at the
MSAE middle and upper schools. Even though less pronounced, the same is true at the
Catholic school. The pattern at the public school seems to be in accordance with the
conventional wisdom, that teacher stress is higher at the upper levels than in elementary
school.144
The Depersonalization scores (measuring cynical attitudes) in table 10, Appendix 2
reflect what has commonly been reported in the literature on teacher burnout. However, the
MSAE school teachers deviate somewhat from this because their middle school has the lowest
score of the three levels. The MSAE school’s middle and upper level teachers, and the
Catholic school’s lower level teachers, have relatively low occurrences of cynical attitudes
(Depersonalization scores), while the scores on this parameter for the rest of the total sample
rank considerably higher on the scale.
Teacher Stress and Accomplishment Relative to Class Size
Former secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, Chester E. Finn, argues that
over the past 40 years the teacher-student ratio has fallen from 1:27 to 1:17 without proving to
be helpful to improve teaching.145 The figures in table 11, Appendix 2 indicate that this may
not be the case in this study, even though very small classes--less than ten--cause a stress level
142 Ibid., 109-32.
143 Richard L. Schwab and Edward F. Iwanicki, “Who are Our Burned Out Teachers?” in Educational Research
Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1982, 5-16.
144 Steven Nagy and Lorraine G. Davis, “Burnout: A Comparative Analysis of Personality and Environmental
Variables,” in Psychological Reports, Vol. 57, 1985, 1324.
145 Chester E. Finn, “The Real Teacher Crisis,” in Education Week. Vol. XVII, No. 9, 1997, 48, 36.
48
slightly higher than that of class size 25-29 students. However, the number of cases in this
category is so small (N=4) that one should be careful about drawing any conclusions. Also,
teachers with class sizes of less than ten have a high standard deviation score for Emotional
Exhaustion, something which makes the mean score for Emotional Exhaustion less useful.
Not surprisingly, classes larger than 30 cause higher burnout than smaller ones but again, the
number of cases in this category is so small (N=10) that one should not rely on these figures.
Except for the very smallest class size, the general picture is that the feeling of
accomplishment appears to be reduced with growing numbers of students in class. The group
with the second highest Personal Accomplishment score (measuring teachers’ sense of
accomplishment) are those teachers who have the fewest students, which indicates that this
group has high stress but also a high degree of accomplishment (for the same indication, see
"Job Stress and Amount of Teaching Experience. All Three Schools Combined," above). But
here too, the number of cases is very low, making the results uncertain.
Differences Between Female and Male Teachers. All Groups Combined
Male teachers score higher than female teachers on both emotional fatigue and cynical
attitudes (Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization scores), and the difference between
the genders on the Depersonalization scale is striking--a mean of 9.41 points for males versus
6.29 points for females (see table 12, Appendix 2). Men seem to show more frequent and
negative feelings toward students considerably more so than women do. Also, women have a
higher mean score on the Personal Accomplishment scale than men. The standard deviation
scores are relatively alike for both sexes even though there is some more variation among men
on reported scores on feelings of accomplishment. These results are in accord with what was
found by Schwab and Iwanicki.146 They report that male teachers experience a higher degree
of stress and lower sense of fulfillment than female colleagues.
Differences Between Unmarried and Married Teachers. All Groups Combined
In this study, unmarried teachers seem to be more successful in their occupation than
married ones. Also, single teachers appear to be less stressed than those who are married
(reflected in the Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization scores) (see table 13, Appendix
2).147 This is surprising in the light of another study which showed that married teachers are
less burned out than unmarried ones.
Teachers' Age and Teaching Experience
The mean age of the teachers varies somewhat among the three schools. The Catholic
school has the lowest mean age (35.81), and it is almost 12 years lower than at MSAE, which
had the highest one (47.55). This is surprising considering the fact that the mean of the
number of years of working experience at MSAE is in between that of the two other schools.
According to the figures in Tables 14a and Table 14b, Appendix 2, and without taking into
account that some teachers have taken breaks in their careers as teachers, the teachers at the
public school started teaching at an average age of (40.71 minus 14.92) = 25.79. The teachers
at the Catholic began their teaching careers at an average age of (35.81 minus 10.81) = 25,
and the MSAE teachers did not start before they averaged (47.55 minus 12,60) = 34.95. It is
therefore likely that the teachers at the MSAE school in general were much older than the
teachers at the two other schools when they entered the teaching profession.
146 Richard L. Schwab and Edward F. Iwanicki, “Who Are Our Burned Out Teachers?” in Educational Research
Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1982, 5-16, and M.B. Anderson and E.F. Iwanicki, “Teacher Motivation and Its
Relationship to Burnout,” in Education Administration Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1984, 109-132.
147 P. Holt, M.J. Fine, and N. Tollefson, “Mediating Stress: Survival of the Hardy,” in Psychology in the
Schools, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1987, 51-58.
49
Many of the teachers at the public school represent a segment of the population that
take an education and settle to have a career in an area where they were born and where they
want to live. It follows that such individuals start their careers at a fairly young age. The
situation at the Catholic school is dominated by the fact that perhaps as many as half of the
teachers are recent graduates from the University of Iowa. These individuals teach for a
limited period of time--perhaps a couple of years--before going on to better paid jobs in public
schools. These “rotating” teachers keep the mean age relatively low even though the
permanent faculty members grow older. The situation at MSAE probably is a unique one.
These teachers are older than the teachers at the two other schools but have a similar amount
of teaching experience. Therefore these teachers most likely had other careers before moving
to Fairfield. They work at MSAE primarily for two reasons: they want spiritual growth,
and/or they have children in this school, whose tuition they work to cover (the symbolic
salaries there are too low to motivate for teaching).
In the nation as a whole the median number of years of teaching experience was 15 in
1996.148 This compared with the same for the public school, 7 years for the Catholic school,
and 11 years for the MSAE school.
Gender Distribution
Teaching has traditionally been a women’s profession. The balances between the sexes
at the public school and MSAE are much in accord with the situation at the national level
where only 25.6% of all teachers in the K-12 system is male (see table 15, Appendix 2).149 The
proportion of male teachers at the Catholic school (36.2%) is higher than what might be
expected. This fact is somewhat surprising because these men after all have chosen an
occupation that traditionally has been dominated by female workers, and the surprise is
further compounded by the low pay for teachers in private schools.
Teachers’ Marital Status
The share of married teachers at the public school is relatively high (81.3%) compared
with the national norm (75.9%--see table 16, Appendix 2).150 This may be an indication that
these teachers come from a stable and established part of the population for whom traditional
values are important. The low percentage of married teachers at the Catholic school (68.1%)
probably reflects the low mean age of these teachers, and that many of them just started to
have a career at a pre-marital stage of their lives. At the MSAE school approximately half of
the teachers were married, but many of the unmarried ones have children that attend this
school.
Average Class Size Taught
In the initial survey the teachers were asked how many students they were teaching in
class. In some cases the responses were several different class sizes. Therefore the average
number of students in those cases was calculated. The class-size means are fairly alike at the
public and Catholic schools (see table 17, Appendix 2). The MSAE school, on the other hand,
has much lower means: 16.93 (MSAE lower school) and 15.67 (MSAE middle and upper
schools) versus 21.02 (public lower school) and 23.96 (Catholic lower school), and 22.34
(public middle/upper schools) and 21.63 (Catholic upper school). The standard deviation
scores indicate that classes at MSAE are consistently smaller than those of the two other
148 National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1997, U.S. Department of Education,
Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Table 69.
149 Ibid., Table 69.
150 Ibid., Table 69.
50
schools. Classes at the public school seem to vary much more in size than those at the
Catholic and MSAE schools.
INTERVIEWS
Summary of Telephone Interviews 151
A striking difference between the three groups of teachers appeared in what motivated
these people to become teachers. Almost all the public school teachers, and all of the Catholic
school’s faculty members (90% versus 100%), agreed that the desire to work with children
was the most important reason. However, none of the MSAE teachers referred to this, but
rather that they, 1) wanted to work to get free tuition for their children (50%), and 2) that they
wanted personal spiritual evolution from being full time with the TM movement (25)%.
While all the teachers in the first group said that the greatest reward about teaching came from
seeing children grow, half the MSAE teachers said the same while the other half also referred
to the way they were able to connect with their students. Most of the teachers (70% at the
public school, 88% at the Catholic school, and 92% at MSAE) would have chosen teaching
over again as a career. This was perhaps a surprising response from the MSAE teachers,
because they were primarily motivated by a combination of financial and philosophical
desires rather than a particular desire to teach. However, two-thirds of these teachers were
experienced as teachers before coming to MSAE, suggesting that the motivation to teach had
changed with moving to Fairfield.
Less than half of the interviewees had broken illusions of some sort (the public school
teachers’ answers were too vague to estimate a percentage), 38% at the Catholic school, and
42% at MSAE). The ones at the public school mentioned inadequate discipline and would
have liked to receive more respect from parents as reasons for their disillusionment. The
Catholic school teachers referred to class size, lack of physical space in classrooms, pay (this
should not have been unexpected), and the lack of parent support. The MSAE teachers felt
somewhat disillusioned due to problems with discipline, lack of buying power, and
dissatisfaction with the administration of the school. These responses painted a general picture
of the schools’ problem areas and indicated some sources of burnout. It should be noted that
the Catholic school seemed to be almost a “perfect” place to work if it were to be judged by
the lack of serious complaints.
When asked about cooperation conditions, half the teachers at the public school
referred to negative experiences with both supervisors and the school administration. For the
teachers who complained about the lack of cooperation, this was clearly a major source of
distress. All the teachers at the Catholic school were happy with their supervisors and the
administration. At MSAE two-thirds were happy with the supervisors, and three-fourths were
happy with the administration of the school. For more detailed summaries of complaints, see
table 6, Appendix 2.
Specific Complaints and Problem Areas at the Public School
Specific complaints among the public school teachers centered around the policies
concerning employment and allocation of funds. According to the teacher who was
interviewed face-to-face, an example of better use of funds would be not to spend so much
money on a new parking lot but rather “... money could have been appropriated more to
benefit the students. I think there is [sic] some of us that feel that money is being appropriated
to make things look nice at the outside, you know, appearances like a nice new parking lot
over there and so on, and then they cut elsewhere.” However, this subject did not perceive that
151 For a detailed summary of interviews, see percentages in table 6, Appendix......
51
the use of money was the main complaint: “Hiring and firing is questionable sometimes ...
Older teachers are loaded down and picked on, [to] get them to retire, and some people are
given jobs that they are not qualified for. They seem to have some kind of inroad with the
supervisors doing the hiring. I mean, perfectly qualified people don’t even get an interview
for a job and someone who is not even certified for a particular job will get it.”
A severe problem was experienced by all of the public school teachers with both some
of the students at the upper levels and many of the students’ parents. The use of alcohol and, to
some degree, drugs was very common: “A drug called meta-amphetamine is a big problem
around here. However, I think that for the school age kids alcohol is the biggest [problem]. It
starts even before that [7th, 8th grades] ... .We have parents who will buy what we call kegs,
these big kegs of beer that their underage kids have [a] party with ... . Drinking is pretty casual
in this area ... in my opinion the drinking problem is getting worse.”152
Paperwork, administration, and meetings appeared to be a burden at the public school.
This problem was reported more frequently at the public school than at the two other schools.
Such complaints is a well-known problem from the literature on the teacher burnout, and public
schools are more influenced by reform demands, change of routines, etc. than are private
schools. Figures reporting on the school year 1993-94 show that full-time public school teachers
worked an average of 45 hours per week, which was actually less than private school teachers
worked.153 Assignments such as meetings and paperwork are naturally not considered very
invigorating and might therefore often be a considerable source of tiredness for teachers. It is
likely that long hours and tedious meetings and paperwork also had an impact on this study’s
public school teachers.
As opposed to the Catholic school teachers and their colleagues at MSAE, many of the
public school teachers (60%) were unhappy with the school’s facilities. Some of the buildings
were located in communities far away from the main facilities, and these were not sufficiently
maintained or modernized. Also, parts of the buildings at the main location had problems in
terms of lighting, noise from the street, and ventilation and air-conditioning. These were factors
that for some individuals--students as well as teachers--would contribute to feelings of
discomfort and fatigue. This may be another part of the explanation for the high score on the
Emotional Exhaustion variable at this school.
Even though teachers’ salaries have improved, 50% of the teachers at the public school
felt that their buying power was not good enough. Iowa ranks number 41 in the nation and that
could be some of the reason why so many of these teachers were dissatisfied with their financial
situation. Such difficulties induce stress, and the interviewer was informed that it was common
for the teachers to take extra jobs, especially during summers. Increased pay would therefore
probably help these teachers experience improved job satisfaction. However, this factor should
not be given a prominent role in explaining teacher burnout at this school, as salary has been
found to have a low correlation with teacher satisfaction.154
While all the teachers interviewed at the Catholic school and MSAE felt that they had
enough autonomy in the job, only 70% of the public school teachers did so. Therefore these
teachers seemed to be somewhat disadvantaged compared with those at the two other schools.
This factor was one that was pointed out by the National Center of Education Statistics to be of
major significance in explaining teacher satisfaction.155
152 "Jane Doe,” face-to-face interview Aug. 20, 1998.
153 National Center for Education Statistics, "The Condition of Education, August 1997."
[http://nces.ed.gov/pubsold/ce96/c96007]
154 National Center for Education Statistics, “Statistical Analysis Report: Job Satisfaction Among America's
Teachers: Effects of Workplace Conditions, Background Characteristics, and Teacher Compensation, August
1997.” [http://nces.ed.gov/pubs97/97471.html]
155 Ibid.
52
Specific Complaints and Problem Areas at the Catholic School
Except for teacher pay, and the school’s financial situation, the Catholic school could act
as model for how a school ought to function. None of the teachers interviewed reported any
serious complaints with regard to either supervisors or administration. In fact, the teachers
seemed to be very appreciative of their good cooperation with these. Aside from pay, which was
perceived as a problem by 87%, there was minor concern about the cooperation with parents
(29%) and the size of some of the classrooms. Also, some of teachers (50%) felt that meetings
and paperwork took too much time, and this could possibly be responsible for some of the
reported fatigue. This faculty experienced recurring cycles of attrition due to the low pay in
Catholic schools, but the impression was that this was not a potential source of teacher
dissatisfaction at this particular school. However, half the interviewees took extra jobs to make
more money, which was common also among their peers, and long extra work hours naturally
lead to higher levels of tiredness.
A strong positive factor in this school’s culture was that the students were keenly
interested in high academic achievements, and an impressive average ACT score of 25.7
indicated that these students were highly motivated.156 Close to 100 percent enter college after
graduation.
Specific Complaints and Problem Areas at the Maharishi School of the Age of
Enlightenment (MSAE)
The MSAE school is most likely unique considering the low pay of its teachers and the
high degree of teacher satisfaction as measured with the MBI-ES. Notwithstanding their good
scores on the initial survey, this was also a school that had a great potential for improvement of
teachers’ working conditions. Although the teachers received some benefits in terms of health
related products and services for rejuvenation as prescribed by ancient Ayurvedic medicine,
these teachers’ motivation to teach was directly or indirectly based on the desire for being part
of a spiritual movement. This way they expected personal evolution that might lead to spiritual
enlightenment. Many of them reported that they had children in school at MSAE, and this fact
should be perceived as an effect of the parents’ desire to join the TM movement. After all, in
most cases all of these parents had moved into the area from far away, and the reason for their
migration was the desire to join together with other followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his
Transcendental Meditation movement.
The pay situation of MSAE was intricate and not easily understood by outsiders.
Several Sanskrit terms were used to label benefits when explained during interviews. A small
amount of cash, an average of around $550 per month ($250 - $750) was all the cash the
teachers received. In addition to free tuition for however many children the teacher had in
school, the teachers received dental, medical, and life insurance along with alternative
medical treatment rebates. The total market value of all these benefits amounted to substantial
pay, but it must not be forgotten that these teachers hardly received any cash for their fulltime
work. Also, many of them lived in humble conditions, being accommodated in 15 yearold
trailers. Subsequently, many of these teachers could not act as role models for their
students who in many cases had rich parents living in luxury homes. Moreover, the free
tuition for an undefined number of children seemed unfair compared with those who worked
and had no children that they could “benefit” from.
The surveying with the MBI-SE resulted in surprisingly high figures for Emotional
Exhaustion and low scores for Personal Accomplishment at the lower school level compared
with the MSAE middle and upper schools. The same was the situation at the Catholic school
but the difference was much less dramatic (see table 10, Appendix 2). This in itself is peculiar
in the light of what was found by Anderson and Iwanicki, that those teaching from junior high
156 Figure reported by the secretary Mary Kay, Aug. 25, 1998.
53
school level and up compared with those teaching lower grades, experience significantly higher
degrees of burnout.157 During a face-to-face interview with an experienced teacher the
interviewer was informed that when the surveying took place, the lower school teachers were in
the process of filing a complaint with the administration regarding their low pay. They were
demanding a pay increase of several hundred percent, and their mood was aggravated. The rest
of the faculty were not part of this action. This could possibly explain the high level of
emotional fatigue among these teachers compared with their middle and upper school
colleagues. However, ”only” 83% of the MSAE teachers expressed dissatisfaction with their
salaries in the telephone interviews.
Girls and boys are kept separate in class at MSAE. Some teachers preferred this
arrangement while others did not. According to one teacher, the presence of girls in middle
school classes help boys behave civilized to some degree.158 Without their presence, boys are
very difficult to handle. However, teachers at all three levels reported some degree of discipline
problems. Many of the teachers were concerned about this, even though some teachers
perceived the students’ rowdiness as “healthy” and therefore nothing to worry about.
Some of the teachers at MSAE (42%) reported that meetings and paperwork took too
much time. Use of time related to group meditation took more than an hour every afternoon,
and therefore meetings and other job-related activities that cut into free time after teaching
classes were experienced as a strain. The amount of complaints, however, did not give reason to
perceive this as a major problem.
Due to the low pay and discipline problems, teachers have tended to come and leave
quickly at MSAE. This opinion was reported by 57% of those interviewed. Over the years this
situation has improved, but some people are not able to get by on the low salaries. Also,
teaching certain subjects at certain grade levels has been too challenging for some, causing them
to leave during the school year. Recruiting of new teachers has traditionally not been easy
because of the pay situation, and these factors combined have produced extra work-loads for
those who have had to replace those who quit.
Doing a good job as a teacher requires preparation, knowledge in the subject matter, and
motivation. Teachers who all of a sudden are being asked to add to their jobs therefore
inevitably will experience increased stress. This situation at MSAE become somewhat
alleviated over the years, but one of the teachers interviewed reported that this was a major
problem for her, causing extra fatigue. Most likely the frequently recurring situation of having
to cover for leaving teachers was a source of added burnout for some of the faculty members.
Summary of Interview Results
Results published by the National Center for Education Statistics in 1997 indicate that
several factors are strongly correlated with teachers’ job satisfaction.159 In short, these are:
· In both private and public schools administrative support and leadership, parental support, student
behavior, school atmosphere, and teacher autonomy are working conditions associated with teacher
satisfaction. Elementary school teachers tend to be more satisfied than secondary school teachers.
Teacher's age and years of experience were related to teacher satisfaction, but they were not nearly
as significant in explaining satisfaction as were administrative support and parental involvement.
157 M.B. Anderson and E.F. Iwanicki, “Teacher Motivation and Its Relationship to Burnout,” in Education
Administration Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1984, 109-32.
158 Lynwood King, middle school teacher at the MSAE.
159 National Center for Education Statistics, "Job Satisfaction Among America's Teachers: Effects of Workplace
Conditions, Background Characteristics, and Teacher Compensation, August 1997,” statistical analysis Report.
[http://nces.ed.gov/pubs97/97471]
54
Teachers with greater autonomy show higher levels of satisfaction than teachers who feel they have
less autonomy. Teacher satisfaction showed a weak relationship with salary and benefits.
· In public schools, younger and less experienced teachers have higher levels of satisfaction than
older and more experienced teachers.
· Private school teachers tend to be more satisfied than public school teachers. The very youngest
and very oldest private school teachers had the highest levels of satisfaction as did the least and
most experienced teachers.
It is hypothesized that the working conditions at the public school is less teachersupportive
and result in greater teacher burnout than working conditions at the two other
schools. Based on the above outline of the causes of problems for teachers, obviously table 4,
page 102, indicates that the public school had more problem areas than the two other schools.
Support from administration, supervisors, and parents is crucial in order to secure teachers’
satisfaction, and these were all factors the public school teachers referred to as problemcausing.
Also, some of these teachers felt that they had too little autonomy, which also
reduced their jobs satisfaction. Another major problem area was the cooperation with parents,
their own and their children's abuse of alcohol and to a lesser degree the abuse of drugs.
Students’ classroom behavior may be strongly related to parental support and alcohol abuse.
All these problems made teaching more difficult and they probably had an effect on these
teachers’ sense of satisfaction and their burnout scores. In addition to these unfortunate
conditions, this group also reported that more trivial aspects of their jobs were burdensome.
For example, too much time was spent in meetings and on paperwork, they felt dissatisfied
with building standards, and they complained about insufficient pay and resulting extra jobs.
All these factors together represented a burden, and took away some of the joy from working.
The Catholic school teachers did not experience any of the serious conditions that are
known to considerably reduce teachers’ satisfaction. The problem with parental support was
too much support rather than too little. The negative effect of too much parental involvement
is not well debated in the literature and effects are therefore difficult to assess. Also, this was
a problem mentioned by only one subject, and perhaps this individual was the only one
among the entire staff with this kind of complaint. However, "minor" problems like too much
time spent in meetings and on administrative responsibilities, that some of the classrooms
were too small, at times high faculty turnover, low private school salaries and therefore need
for additional income, are also important factors that without doubt reduce teacher
satisfaction. In any case, these teachers have much less reason to develop frustration based on
the information in table 4, page 102, than the public school teachers. Therefore, the
hypothesis that the Catholic school’s culture is better than the public school’s, seems to be
supported by the interviews.
The teachers at MSAE had more serious reasons for complaints than their colleagues
at the Catholic school. Although the responses on dissatisfaction with the administration and
supervisor support were much less intense and frequent than at the public school, they
nevertheless represent some reduced teacher happiness. Also, some teachers reported the
discipline problems to be quite serious, something which is supported by the fact that
especially middle school grades had caused high turnover of teachers. Naturally, the ones who
felt they had to leave would have been much more negative in their estimation of this school’s
culture, but all these were for obvious reasons not available for interviewing. Below a table
listing the problem areas at the three schools in this study.
Table 4. Summaries of interviews results indicating problem areas at the
different schools.
Problem Areas
Public
School
Catholic
School MSAE
55
Employment Policies X
Allocation of Funds X
Students and Alcohol X
Administration Support X X
Supervisor Support X X
Teacher Autonomy X
Parents and Alcohol X
Parental Support X X
Discipline X X
Administration/Meetings X X X
Facilities X X
Attrition X X
Pay X X X
Additional Income X X X
Sum Problem Areas 13 6 7
Responses to Questions on Personal Lifestyles
The responses to the questions on personal lifestyle habits serve as indications of what
could possibly be the situation for the entire faculties. Some of the figures in table 5, page
105, are better comparable with one another than others. For instance, any abuse of alcohol
most likely would have been covered up by calling it social drinking, which easily would
make a comparison between schools irrelevant.
The figures in table 5 suggest that the frequencies of obesity among the faculty
members are much higher than the norm for the nation. But most faculty members seem to
recognize the need for exercise and also so called healthy dietary habits. Types of exercise
reported in this study covered a wide array of physical activities, ranging from walking to
mountain climbing. Time spent watching television does not seem to interfere much with time
available for exercising (average time spent in front of television was very moderate
compared with the national average of more than 7 hours per day 160). The differences between
the three schools are major, and this could indicate that the government’s message to the
nation that exercise is important has been accepted.
It is important for teachers to act as role models for their students. Thus, smoking was
no longer permitted on any of these schools’ grounds, and this had been a powerful incentive
for many teachers to quit this unhealthy habit. Some interviewees reported that only a very
few individuals still smoked.
Obesity has become a major health concern in the US. According to the Health and
Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of adults were
overweight in 1991, and the trend was on the rise.161 The unhealthy eating habits in the nation,
as defined by the government, are related to the fast-food culture--a culture that is still
thriving but which is gradually including healthier items on its menus. A combination of too
much and too rich foods, and the lack of exercise, is common in modern America. However,
the teachers at the three schools in this study seem to be of a more healthy kind with regard to
exercise and the awareness of what is commonly thought to be healthy dietary habits. Except
for one subject at the public school, all teachers paid attention to diet, and only small amounts
of red meat were eaten by all at the public school and a limited number at the Catholic school
160 Mary Hepburn, “The Power Of the Electronic Media In the Socialization Of Young Americans: Implication
For Social Studies Education,” in Social Studies, Vol. 89, No. 2, 1998, 72.
161 NCHS HHS News, "Prevalence of Overweight Among Adolescents - United States 1998-91" for release
Nov. 10, 1994, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
[http://www.cdc.gov/nchswww/releases/94news/94news/nr941110.htm]
56
(57%). Eighty-two percent of the MSAE teachers are vegetarians. However, 80% of the
interviewees at the public school reported that they were more or less overweight, and one
subject informed that the peers ate much meat. Also, as one subject expressed it, “eating is a
pastime out here.”162 Sixty-three percent of the Catholic school teachers reported being more
or less obese while this figure was 43% at MSAE. The meditating teachers that were
overweight, however, weighed only slightly too much, and some of them weighed less than
normal.
Coffee was consumed by a fair number of teachers at the public and the Catholic
schools. According to Wayne Eastman, coffee in large amounts is counterproductive to good
health due to a number of “side-effects,”163 but only one teacher appeared to be a major
consumer (8-10 cups per day). The rest used this drink in moderate or small amounts only,
less than 4 cups per day.
Sufficient energy through enough sleep is essential in order to reduce or avoid
burnout. Only half the teachers at the public school and MSAE felt they slept enough, and for
the public school teachers the problem was more serious than for the meditators. TM is a
technique to release stress and recover from being tired, and the MSAE teachers therefore
have a means to compensate for their lack of sleep. Average bed time for the teachers at the
three schools varied. The one group that went to bed latest, also had the highest percentage
that reported insufficient amounts of sleep. The group that went to bed first, had the lowest
frequency of those who felt they did not get enough sleep.
The overall impression from the lifestyle habits part of the interviews, is that teachers
are aware of health hazards connected with diet and exercise. However, even though statistics
may show that obesity, drinking much coffee, and the use of tobacco have detrimental effects
to good health, it is also common that eating, coffee drinking, and smoking serve as means for
relaxation for many. As mentioned above, smoking is banned at the public school, and this in
itself might have increased teacher dissatisfaction for the ones that had to quit. In general,
being forced to lay off old habits easily becomes a source of tension and dissatisfaction.
Estimating advantages and disadvantages in this case is not possible due to the lack of data.
Below a table summarizing teachers' lifestyle habits.
Table 5. Summaries of interview results indicating teachers’ lifestyle
habits by school.
Lifestyle Factors Public
School
Catholic
School
MSAE
Exercise - Percentage 90 75 92
162 "Jane Doe," face-to-face interview Aug. 20, 1998.
163 Wayne Eastman, “Avoiding Faculty Burnout Through the Wellness Approach,” a paper presented to the
Association of Canadian Community Colleges annual conference, May 1996, 17-18.
57
Average Minutes/Week 199 227 242
Smoke - Percentage 10 13 0
TV/ Day, Average Minutes 93 75 42
Social Drinking - Percentage 30 63 0
Pay Attention to Diet - Percentage 90 100 100
Eat Fast Food - Percentage 44 63 8
Coffee - Percentage 56 75 18
Soft Drinks - Percentage 50 63 8
Vegetarians - Percentage 0 0 82
Weighing too much - Percentage 80 63 42
Enough Sleep - Percentage 50 88 50
Average Bed Time 10:40 10:10* 10:22
*Excluded were two people at the Catholic school: one who went to
bed at around 7 PM., and one who went to bed at 1 am. on a regular
basis.
Note:164
Summary of In-depth Interviews
It became clear during the course of the telephone interviews that the three schools
differed from one another with respect to specific problems. As mentioned in the rationale for
my hypothesis, the average student in private school is recruited from more resourceful strata
of the population than the average public school student. However, in affluent suburban areas,
public schools share many qualities with private schools and provide excellent working
conditions for the faculty. As previously mentioned, public high school seniors from Illinois
who competed in the Third International Mathematical and Science Study (TIMSS), scored so
high that Illinois would have ranked among the top five nations in the world if the state were a
nation.165
The public school in this study is disadvantaged because it is located in a rural area
where social conditions are not comparable with those in Fairfield and Iowa City. This school
therefore has to deal with local problems like widespread alcohol and drug abuse among some
of the parents. This compounded the problem with their children’s abuse of these substances.
A problem like this does not exist among the two other groups of parents. The need for
parental support for the teachers at the public school is therefore pressing. However, those
parents who are the most needed for support, are the problem itself, and it follows that they
are not easily accessible for cooperation. Thus, the teachers are presented a task that is almost
hopeless to deal with. In the following is a short account of the highly interesting face-to-face
interview with “Jane Doe,” teacher at the public school.
Public School’s “Jane Doe”
A new principal was hired recently and teachers had great hopes that this would work
out well. The retired principal tended to give no back-up to the teachers--perhaps he did not
want to “create waves,” according to "Jane." She felt some dissatisfaction with the
administration, which seemed to want things to look nice from the outside. She mentioned a
164 Amount of consumption of so called unhealthy nutrients such as many of the fast food items, is crucial in
order to determine any unfortunate effects. The same principle applies to obesity, the use of alcohol, and the
drinking of coffee and soft drinks. Unfortunately enough, not enough data was collected to probe deeper into
these areas.
165 Bob Chase, “Why Standards Matter. It’s a Question of Moral Wrongs and Civil Rights,” in NEA Today, Oct.
12, 1997. [http://www.nea.org/society/]
58
new parking lot as an example of this. Teachers, she believed, want to spend more for the
good of the children. Her main complaint, however, was the policies of hiring and firing. In
some cases unqualified personnel seemed to be hired due to their inroads with some of the
officials, while qualified people were not even interviewed for the jobs. Also, older teachers
were burdened with work and picked on to make them retire. This of course put much extra
stress on these people.
“Jane” went on to say that a major problem in the area is the abuse of alcohol and
meta-amphetamine by many students and some of their parents. The casual drinking habits
and that parents often purchased alcohol for their children had resulted in a lawsuit last year.
A drunk high school girl who had attended a party, had fallen off a bridge and died. One of
her parents had been part of a group of parents that had bought the alcohol for the party. The
drinking starts in some cases before 7th grade. The police are trying to prevent this kind of
behavior and come into the school to teach. The DARE program (Drug Abuse Resistance
Education program) is an effort by the police to educate students about the consequences of
drinking and the use of drugs. However, peer pressure, sub-cultures, and low economic levels
in the area, make it difficult to curb a situation that seems to worsen. Part of the problem is
that many children are left by themselves after school, with no parents at home. The time
between the end of the school day and the parents’ return from work, often is the time when
the children get into unfortunate situations. This in fact reflects a national trend that is
reaching also this area, according to “Jane.”
In addition to alcohol and drug abuse, related disciplinary problems also seemed to be
getting worse in her school district. Teachers are often left with such problems with no
support from principals. Last year a principal would even tell the teachers to take care of the
problem themselves if students were sent to his office for inappropriate classroom behavior.
Moreover, parents tended to perceive the school as a day-care center, and teachers' backing
both among younger and older parents is lessening. Giving a child detention often results in
the reaction among parents that the detention is a way to punish them--not the child--because
giving a child detention forces a parent to come and pick up the child. A quite common
opinion among those parents is that they believe in what the child says, and not in the reason
for detention given by the teacher. Thus, the teachers many times find themselves on the
defensive in disciplinary matters, with regard to reactions from both supervisors and parents.
“Jane” continued that a major factor that ties in with the discipline problems in the
public school is that the area has a very high incidence of single parents, divorced parents, and
blended families. This results in the lack of parents’ high academic hopes for their children,
and the only goal is to get by--“to collect the welfare check and run.” However, some are
excellent parents, and some students are great achievers although she believed the percentage
of high-achievers was relatively low compared with other schools.
Focus on well-being for the teachers is provided by health insurance rebates for those
who participate in weight loss competitions, and the winner is awarded. Walking competitions
are also part of this program, and rewards could be for instance tickets to ball games. The
overall goal is to promote healthy living habits. As mentioned above, smoking among
teachers is dramatically reduced by the fact that it is not allowed on the school’s grounds. The
use of alcohol among the faculty is not a problem either, and the teachers therefore act as
good role models for their students.
The faculty is very cohesive. They care for one another and show compassion if a
colleague has got problems. Many teachers come from the local area, but for the last couple of
years new teachers seemed to have used the school as a “stepping stone,” and had left quickly
for better jobs. As a result the turnover had increased, “Jane” believed.
“Jane” gave a realistic, even though a somewhat negative, description of her and her
colleagues' working conditions. She did not seem to have any illusions with regard to
59
expectations to the administration, student achievement and behavior, and some of the
students' parents. The impression she gave was that she and other teachers have to work under
strained conditions, and that they need more understanding and support from supervisors, the
administration, and some parents to feel that they thrive on their jobs. The most surprising
fact, however, might have been that the conditions she described concern a public school in a
rural area, rather than one in an urban area where problems like these are known to occur at a
higher rate.
Catholic School’s Barb Reilly
The Catholic school, the Regina Education Center in Iowa City, is a well-functioning
institution. Barb Reilly is one of the faculty members that have worked there for many years,
and she told about the school in positive terms and a fascinating manner. She believed that
Catholic schools are better simply because parents pay tuition, "if you're paying money,
parents expect more from their kids when they're paying cash like that, they don't want them
to fail so they're going to be more supportive at home. We have a good parent support. I think
that makes a big difference." Parents therefore have a vested interest in the functioning of the
school on all levels. Parents have very high expectations to their children’s academic school.
As Barb put it, "I think we're teaching to a more college-bound group .....99.9 percent of them
are going to go to college, so they want to do well."
Barb believed that the moral upbringing of the students is very important to achieve
good academic results. Religious morale has a strong position in the philosophy of the school,
and religion is taught four days per week in all grades. Most students at this school have
parents that are Catholics. Unlike the situation in big cities, Iowa City has got very good
public schools, and parents do not have to ensure their children’s safety by sending them to
private schools. Despite the trend that religion is losing its appeal to young people, more than
50% of the students at this school go to church regularly. Also, the students have to take part
in and arrange religious celebrations at the school, and a priest works on campus to help and
inspire students.
Policies for enrolment are flexible at Regina. Lately no children had been denied
enrolment at the school, although increasing enrolment is a trend that makes the classroom
situation difficult. Sometimes the parents do not have the money for the tuition, and for these
students, the school has work-study programs sponsored by the parishes. Some students are
sent to Regina because of problems. Most of these succeed as good students, and only a few
have to go back to public school. A few students also leave Regina in 8th and 9th grade to go
public school and to save tuition.
The students have "wonderful" ACT scores (American College Testing scores), and
this school like most Catholic schools serves as a preparatory college school. Social
promotion--moving students up into the next grade level without being academically strong
enough--does not happen here because the need never arises. Many students have enrolled in
honors programs in math and science. Moreover, during the last four years, twelve students
have enrolled at Notre Dame, a university with very high entrance requirements. The main
reason why the students do so well, Barb believed, is the parents’ influence on their children.
Only about half the teachers adhere to the Catholic faith, and some teachers meet in
groups to prey. Even though many of the teachers are not religious, this is not a problem
because teachers are committed to not to teach against Catholic doctrines. The philosophical
foundation of the school is the Catholic faith, and this probably contributes to smooth
functioning and good academic results for the students.
A classic problem at private schools is the low teacher salaries. By teaching in public
school in Iowa, teachers make approximately $10,000 more per year. Many new teachers
therefore use also this school as a “stepping stone” before going on with their careers. Young
60
teachers at this school tend to leave for public school in "waves," and when this occurs the
negative effects are felt by the remaining faculty members. The many new college graduates
often stay for only a couple of years before they go on to teach at public schools. This
turnover had been particularly large the most recent academic year, and had caused some
dissatisfaction among the faculty: "Our problem right now, I think, is teacher turnover. We've
had a lot of turnover this past year, and I think it is because of salary, you know. We are never
going to be able to afford the salary at the public school.... We are lucky to have the ones
[teachers] we do."
Money is a growing concern at Regina as the four parishes prefer to contribute with
less than before. The need to buy more computers makes the financial situation even more
challenging. One alternative is to raise tuition but this has not been tried yet. Parents,
however, actually responded very positively when the school arranged a campaign and asked
for donations, and many other benefactors also donated money. These sources of capital
enables the school to meet the most urgent requirements for high equipment standards.
Also, according to Barb, a major problem at this school is that the school offers no
vocational training program. This does not pose a problem for the majority of the students but
some suffer because college preparation is not what they naturally need. Naturally, at a school
where most students are focused on high academic achievements to ensure access to good
colleges, the ones not fully motivated for this will experience that they do not fit in well.
However, social problems do not make many of the students use alcohol or drugs. A
few do, but Barb believed the problem here is much less than what is common in most
schools. Parents provide an invaluable safety measure because they are much aware of a
potential problem and look out for it.
The account Barb Reilly gave of her work place was positive and optimistic in most
respects. The fact that religion is at the basis of the ideology for this institution, does not seem
to interfere negatively with practical aspects and the goal of most of the students–going on to
college with high academic grades. Barb gave the impression that the good academic
achievements resulted from committed teachers, high morale strongly inspired by Catholic
faith, and strong and sincere parental support and involvement. However, as a small school
with limited financial means it is hard to provide academically for all students, and the low
teacher pay also generally contributes to some decreased satisfaction among the faculty
members.
MSAE's Kate Wetter
Many of the teachers have been with MSAE for a number of years, and supposedly
they all share the common goal of spiritual enlightenment. This great source of inspiration,
however, is not something they keep thinking about when performing their jobs, according to
Kate Wetter, lower school teacher and long-time practitioner of TM. The students are taught a
subject called the Science of Creative Intelligence (“SCI” from here on), which is the
theoretical aspect of the TM program. Learning about spiritual enlightenment is important in
creating the feeling that they--both students and teachers--are moving toward it. This common
ground provides a forum for agreement among the teachers, a field to explore for the young
students, and sometimes something to rebel against for the high school students. Kate Wetter
did not think of her job in terms of serving a guru. Her perspective is rather that TM is so
clearly of benefit for both students and teachers at this school, that she pays no attention to the
service aspect when working.
Teachers’ low pay was a main theme of the interview. The low salaries at MSAE have
been an issue since the school started, and this probably is the most important source of
dissatisfaction at this school. “The dignity of our living situation is completely incompatible
with the dignity of the knowledge [the SCI],” Kate Wetter stated. At the time of the surveying
61
with the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the teachers in the lower school were particularly
frustrated with the pay situation and were filing a complaint with the administration. Kate
Wetter believed that this was the reason why the lower school teachers scored so high on
Emotional Exhaustion on the Maslach Burnout Inventory, when compared with the middle
and the upper schools. “I would say that on a day to day basis, from what I see, the lower
school is happier than the middle and upper.” She went on, “there are so many things that are
a problem with the way we’re paid, that it’s difficult to just meet with forty-some people, the
issues are so ... you know ... no one has enough money. That’s the bottom line thing.”
One of the main reasons for turnover at MSAE is the extremely low pay. The turnover,
particularly in the middle school, is huge. Especially the discipline of SCI generates this
problem. This of course causes an extra burden for both the teachers that have to fill in for the
ones that might leave any time during the school year, and for the administrative personnel
that have to hire new teachers on short notice. Advertising is done but new teachers “just
happened to come in" independently of any formal efforts. Word by mouth seems to be the
common way of hiring new staff. In response to the question on how her standard of living
prospects are, Kate said that she might have to leave to make money and become
"responsible." Insurance and retirement are major concerns for the teachers. In the past
idealism and the desire for enlightenment were enough to motivate teachers and others to
work full-time in the TM movement, but this had changed with their aging (the mean age of
these teachers is almost 48 years--see table 14a, Appendix 2).
Kate Wetter said that she could see that her students have qualities that she attributes
to the practice of TM. These students, she said, have a shorter day than what is common at
other schools; they devote time to study of SCI, and still they are able to produce excellent
results comparable with those of other students. However, the middle school represents the
beginning of disciplinary challenges and is another major reason for why teachers often have
left so quickly. As Kate Wetter said, “Our kids are more powerful as a group because their
container of consciousness is bigger. If they don’t like you they’ll run over you.” She
continued, “they’re rowdy and high achievers, they’re well balanced, they are confident. They
don’t get it from their parents that they should be orderly--you don’t need an orderly
classroom to produce. There are a few teachers that are concerned about the discipline.” She
explained the success of the students by the fact that they are self-sufficient, that they have
relatively little need for support and guidance. One or two students that might need a lot of
attention from the teacher, are not able to stop the rest from being productive. She said that
the strength of the group-consciousness is crucial for these students to function so well, “we
want enlightened individuals, and these kids have been very successful.”
She also reported that the teachers in some ways are like the students. They do not
always agree with one another, and want to do things their own way in the classroom. The
teachers see life as unfolding in two spheres--the relative level of existence, and the
transcendental or absolute level. On the relative level (the day-to-day activities) they tend to
disagree with one another, but on a more refined and profound level of life they are moving
together toward spiritual enlightenment. “We’re moving toward enlightenment so that the
wave that we’re riding here, even though it has the trappings of day to day of the things that
are going on. But what we’re really riding is the thing that we are all aware of all the time
when our attention goes there, and that’s the bliss, that’s the unbounded, that’s the CI
[”Creative Intelligence,” an aspect of SCI], that’s the pure knowledge, that’s being and that’s
all of that, and that we do share, and is so big ....”
The description that Kate Wetter gave of her job and work conditions had a dramatic
character. Even though she did not normally think that she serves a guru, her narration of the
value of spiritual enlightenment the way it relates to her and her colleagues lives, reminded of
religious attitudes and strong faith in a belief system. This made teaching at MSAE sound as
62
much a mission as a regular job. Also, unruly student behavior seemed to be more acceptable
than what would be expected in other educational settings, and she suggested that this might
be excused because, as she said, “we want enlightened individuals, and these kids have been
very successful.” Perhaps the long-time acceptance of the extreme pay-situation more than
anything else indicates that religious faith is of major importance to keep these teachers on the
job, and provide a basis for recruitment. The contrasts in what she portrayed are striking, and
would most likely make outsiders perceive these teachers as followers of a quasi religion.
However, the net result is that also these private school students are academic high achievers,
and that the teachers are relatively happy with their work. These facts indicate that MSAE is a
well-functioning institution in the most important respects.
63
CHAPTER 3
CONCLUSION
Review
Since the problem of burn-out among teachers came to the public's attention in the
early 1970s, much has been done to alleviate this problem. The American educational system
has been subjected to numerous reforms, especially since the landmark report on public
education, "A Nation at Risk" in 1983. President Bill Clinton has given education top priority
in his last term as president, and he wants to be remembered as an "education president."
However, the problem of teacher burn-out persists despite the attempts made by
politicians to provide better working conditions for educators and scientists' concerted efforts
to explain the phenomenon and recommend solutions. Most research has been done in public
education, perhaps for the five following reasons: 1) its availability, 2) its size, 3) it is
vulnerable because of accessibility as a public institution, 4) its tremendously variation in
quality due to changing demographic conditions, and 5) its prominence as a focal point for
White House politics over many years. The private sector has been more protected from
public attention simply because private schools are private property. In addition, private
education has attracted students from the more privileged strata of society. These
circumstances, in turn, have made the public believe private education is better than public
education, without taking into account that public schools have to accept students from all
social strata. Nevertheless, many of the problems faced by public school teachers also have to
be endured by their colleagues in the private sector. For instance, one major reason why there
is a major migration of teachers from private schools to public schools is the low pay offered
in private schools. Today, public schools in most states offer their employees reasonable
wages and benefits, which is an important improvement as indicated by studies made as
recently as late as a decade ago.
Changes in society have caused changes in the schools. However, many of the
teachers' challenges have been part of the profession since the beginning. Teachers' status has
traditionally been low and is still a concern for many educators. The widespread lack of
respect for their work is one of the reasons why so many quit for “better” jobs. Other
unpleasant aspects of a teacher's profession may include unruly students–assault weapons,
which have become more and more common among students, lack of proper parental support,
uncooperative supervisors and administrators, large classes, run-down buildings, too many
administrative assignments, too many tedious meetings, isolation from peers, lack of
opportunity for advancement, and pressure from society and parents to fulfill conflicting
expectations. Everybody wants teachers to provide a high quality education, while the reality
is often that they have to take over too much of the parents’ role in order to socialize their
children.
Educators enjoyed higher status in American society from the Second World War until
the late 1960s. Education was seen as the means to achieve a high standard of living, and
thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s political agenda, this opportunity was extended to
the black community as well for the first time. However, social unrest, the Vietnam War, and
limited governmental revenues began to have an impact on education and teachers’ status in
the latter half of the ‘60s. The following three decades became a period of struggle between
the teaching profession and society. Teachers tried to reclaim lost esteem at a time when the
quality of education became so questionable that many saw it as a threat to American society.
President Clinton’s plan for education is still in the process of implementation, and the hope is
that it will lead to improved academic results and happier teachers.
65
Even though it is easy to draw a negative picture of the typical teacher's work
situation, the fact is that many teachers are happy and feel fulfilled in their jobs. One study
shows that highly successful teachers display a special quality, a locus of inner control. These
people “prove” that it is possible to succeed under conditions that might cause many of their
colleagues to give up. This circumstance suggests that perhaps something could be done to
enhance the average teacher's ability to cope with challenges. Westerners often get stressed
simply because they are too inspired to achieve goals and succeed. Perhaps the wisdom from
the Far East has something to offer that could help teachers increase their coping ability.
Meditation might possibly be of value to release stress, thus healing impaired emotional and
physical health. Could such a change in educators' lifestyle habits enable them to succeed
rather than having to suffer from the burn-out syndrome? The category of personal lifestyles
also encompass areas of diet and exercise–areas given much attention by the government and
health authorities particularly during the last ten years.
No sure figures for the amount of burn-out in the teaching profession exist. Estimates
vary between 10 and 80 percent. Furthermore, the state of burn-out is a nebulous phenomenon
which appears to varying degrees, difficult to assess. The term burn-out has been used rather
haphazardly, and several definitions have been launched. Christina Maslach, as one of the
foremost researchers on burn-out has suggested that victims become emotionally drained and
turn callous toward their clients (or “students”), and treating them in dehumanizing ways.
This is usually accompanied with a feeling of reduced accomplishment from the job.
Definitions made by other researchers vary some but do by and large depict the problems
experienced when burn-out has become a fact.
By comparing the cultural conditions at three different schools in Iowa, this study
attempts to shed light on specific facts and conditions related to teacher burn-out. The public
school that is compared with two private schools proved to have the greatest scope of
conditions perceived as problems by the teachers, and it also has the highest degree of burnout.
The fact that public schools are more problem-ridden than private schools is in accord
with the conventional wisdom among researchers and confirms the public belief. The Catholic
school teachers appeared to enjoy a very good work environment, and have the second best
scores on the burn-out measures. The other private school, MSAE, is what could be classified
as an innovative school. The entire faculty, the students, and the parents practice a technique
for improvement of health and attainment of spiritual enlightenment, Transcendental
Meditation (TM), and it is hypothesized that these teachers are less prone to burn-out than the
rest. This hypothesis was borne out, but it is uncertain to what degree the practice of
meditation accounts for of this result because these teachers also use other remedies to
alleviate stress.
Conclusions
The figures in table 3, page 84, show that one of the hypotheses of this study--that
burn-out is highest at the public school and lowest at MSAE--can be accepted. The second
hypothesis—that the practice of TM caused the teachers at MSAE to have the lowest degree
of burn-out—cannot be accepted. Even though the MSAE teachers have the most favorable
scores on all three subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), it is not possible to
conclude that these teachers’ practice of the TM technique explains all of the variation in the
three burn-out variables (the three subscale scores) compared with those of the two other
groups of teachers. The reason for this is that during the course of the interviews, both on the
telephone and face-to-face, it became clear that the MSAE teachers also apply herbs and oil
massages to avoid accumulation of stress and improve health. However, the use of these
supplemental factors were not structured like the practice of meditation–the use varied with
66
the individual while TM was practiced on a regular basis–and this might indicate that the
mediation practice was the one factor which caused most of the positive effect.
Teacher stress is measured by two of the subscales of the MBI–Emotional Exhaustion
and Depersonalization, and Maslach, Jackson, and Leiter found that these two are negatively
correlated with the teachers’ sense of accomplishment, measured by the subscale Personal
Accomplishment.166 The results shown in table 3 and graph 1 support this finding because
teacher stress is highest at the public school and lowest at MSAE, while the sense of
accomplishment was lowest among the teachers at the public school and highest at MSAE.
The average scores of the three schools were favorable compared with the MBI norms
based on a survey of 4,163 teachers. This was mostly attributable to the results at the Catholic
school and MSAE. The low scores of the Catholic school and MSAE necessarily suggest a
relatively high burn-out rate at the public school to explain the actual combined average scores.
Furthermore, the level of the teachers' job satisfaction at the Catholic school was only fair,
Outstanding positive results were achieved by MSAE, and especially by the middle and upper
schools. No guidelines exist for the degree of teacher burn-out to expect in a farm state like
Iowa. However, based on the research by Moracco, D’Arienzo, and Danford, who report that
teacher stress increases with larger schools,167 and the findings by Farber that burn-out is
greater for teachers in urban schools than for teachers in suburban and rural schools, 168it is
natural to assume that rural conditions in Iowa would produce fewer cases of the problem than
the established MBI norms. It is interesting to note that for the three schools combined, the
Emotional Exhaustion scores are reversed compared with the findings by other researchers,
that burn-out is higher at the upper levels than in elementary school.169 However, two points
should be noted: the “good” Catholic school does not have a separate middle school--grades
usually referred to as middle school are divided between both the lower school and the upper
school. Therefore, this school’s fortunate scores might have caused the scores for the upper
school in particular to turn out somewhat more negative than would have been the case if
there had been a middle school. In fact, a middle school at the Catholic school might have
made the “reversed” Emotional Exhaustion scores more unfavorable for the lower school as
well. The causes of the “reversed” pattern of Emotional Exhaustion scores cannot be
explained with the data available.
A central research question of this study is, "What are the causes of teacher
dissatisfaction in the institutional cultures of the three schools in this study?" The figures in
table 2, page 82, are helpful in answering this question:
· The burn-out variable, Emotional Exhaustion, (measuring emotional fatigue) is positively
correlated with the teacher background variable, Marital Status. Based on the definition of values
of Marital Staus (unmarried=1, married=2) it can be concluded that in this study, married teachers
were more prone to feeling emotionally exhausted than unmarried ones (increasing value of
Marital Status causes higher scores on Emotional Exhaustion). MSAE had the lowest occurrence
of married teachers, followed by the Catholic school, and this explains in part why MSAE had the
lowest degree of emotional fatigue, and the public school the highest.
166 Christina Maslach, Susan E. Jackson, and Michael P. Leiter, Maslach Burn-out Inventory Manual. Third
Edition, (Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc., 1996), 12.
167 J. Moracco, R. D’Arienzo, and D. Danford, “Comparison of Perceived Occupational Stress Between Teachers
Who Are Contented and Discontented in Their Career Choice,” in Vocational Guidance Quarterly, Vol. 32,
No.1, 1983, 44-51.
168 Barry A. Farber, Crisis in Education: Stress and Burn-out in the American Teacher, (San Francisco and
Oxford 1991), 49.
169 M.B. Anderson and E.F. Iwanicki, ”Teacher Motivation and Its Relationship to Burn-out,” in Educational
Administration Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1984, 109-32.
67
· The burn-out variable measuring teachers’ cynical attitudes, Depersonalization, is positively
correlated with four of the teacher background variables: Gender, Class Size, (Amount of)
Teaching Experience, and (Grade) Level Taught. The values of Gender (female=0, male=1) show
that male teachers had greater degrees of cynical attitudes toward their students than female
educators did (increasing value of gender causes higher scores on Depersonalization). The
distributions of gender at the public school and MSAE are almost the same, and therefore do not
explain any of the high Depersonalization score at the public school. The Catholic school had the
greatest share of male faculty members, and this school’s Depersonalization score is enhanced
some by that fact.
· The Depersonalization variable’s correlation with the variable Class Size indicates that large
classes cause more cynical attitudes in teachers' dealing with students than smaller ones do. The
exception is the very smallest classes, of 1 - 4 students, which cause approximately the same level
of stress for teachers as classes of 25 - 29 students. The teachers’ sense of accomplishment is
actually lower for these small class sizes than for the second largest category, 25 - 29 students.
The reason for the high level of teacher stress could be that these small classes are made up buy
students with learning difficulties and/or behavioral problems. MSAE classes averaged less than
75% of the class sizes at the two other schools, whose classes are approximately equal in average
size. According to Cedoline, classes smaller than 20 students are valuable in order to produce
better learning conditions for students and consequently reduce teacher stress.170 Therefore,
MSAE’s small class size is a fortunate factor that helped reduce these teachers’ cynical attitudes
toward their students.
· Length of teaching experience also has an effect on the Depersonalization scores: the more
experience, the higher the Depersonalization scores. Therefore, in this study a school benefit from
having teachers with relatively little experience. This benefits the Catholic school more than the
two others (see table 14b, Appendix 2), and puts the public school in the most unfortunate position
with its teachers having a high amount of teaching experience.
· Teaching higher levels causes more cynical attitudes than teaching in elementary school.171 In this
study this phenomenon is indicated by the positive correlation between Depersonalization and
(Grade) Level Taught. Because sixteen teachers did not state what levels they teach, and the
Catholic school had no middle school, it is not possible to determine whether any of the schools
benefit from having a relatively large share of teachers teaching in elementary school.
The causes of teacher dissatisfaction vary between the three schools. At the public
school the predominant reasons for lack of contentment are the lack of support from the
supervisors, the administration, and parents. Also, classroom discipline is a major concern.
Moreover, the specific uses of funds cause some frustration among these teachers, and
employment policies lowered the job security of older teachers. Furthermore, too little teacher
autonomy is also a concern along with too much time spent in meetings and on paperwork.
The teachers at the Catholic school have a low frequency of complaints but not surprisingly,
almost all the teachers agree that their pay is too low. Many have to take extra jobs for this
reason. Half of the interviewees said that they have to spend a lot of time in meetings and on
taking care of administrative duties, something which also may cause some dissatisfaction.
The teachers at MSAE reported complaints regarding relatively few aspects of their work
setting. However, the dissatisfaction with their salaries is a critical issue that causes much
discontent and need for extra income. Some also said that discipline at this school is
problematic, and these two aspects of the work setting probably represent the most serious
detrimental factors to their happiness as teachers.
A close look at the burn-out scores for the different levels at the three schools shows
that the public middle school have a much higher Emotional Exhaustion score than the two
170 Anthony J. Cedoline, Job Burn-out in Public Education: Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills, (New York,
1982), 102.
171 M.B. Anderson and E.F. Iwanicki, ”Teacher Motivation and Its Relationship to Burn-out,” in Educational
Administration Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2, 1984, 109-32.
68
other levels and therefore causes the high average Emotional Exhaustion score for this school.
Its middle school’s Depersonalization score is about equal to the MBI norm, and the Personal
Accomplishment score is somewhat better. The conclusion from this is that the public school
has a pronounced problem in the area of teachers’ experiences of emotional exhaustion and
fatigue, and especially in the middle school, where teachers experience more burn-out than
any of the other groups. A comparison of the public school’s three subscale scores with the
MBI normative scores indicates that this school is not doing particularly well, except that its
Personal Accomplishment score is considerably higher than the MBI norm.
The Catholic school teachers’ scores are fortunate compared with the MBI norms,
especially for Depersonalization and Personal Accomplishment. Because the school is private
and located in a relatively small and prosperous town, low burn-out scores were expected.
Therefore the question is whether the Emotional Exhaustion score is unexpectedly high,
especially compared with the low score for MSAE. Could it be caused to these teachers’ low
salaries, or is it just normal? Paradoxically, this question might be more pertinent with regard to
MSAE than the to Catholic school. The reason for this is that the Catholic school functioned
better as a school than MSAE, which is reflected in the fact that these teachers have no specific
problems except for the traditional low pay. Better pay most likely would have improved these
teachers’ job satisfaction, but normal pay would improve job satisfaction even more for the
MSAE teachers. Additionally, the teachers at MSAE had greater discipline problems with
students than their colleagues at the Catholic school. The question is therefore whether the
MSAE teachers could have increased their jobs satisfaction significantly given normal pay and
less rowdy students.
How Universal is the Situation and Responses of These Groups of Teachers
A public school and its culture in important ways represent local culture rather than
objectives and goals established by policy makers elsewhere in the state or the nation. At
many public schools, teachers tend to be recruited from the local population and among
people that have ties with the local population. Although there are many schools where
virtually all the students come from somewhere else, typically elite schools for rich students,
most students take their K-12 education at schools close enough to their homes so that they
can commute every day. Thus, in a nation with the huge geographical size and large
population of the US, educational conditions will vary much from one school district to the
next. Some studies have produced results that support this rationale: Moracco, D’Arienzo,
and Danford found that teachers’ burn-out rates are greater in large schools than in small
ones, indicating that small-town schools in general provide better teaching conditions than
schools in metropolitan areas.172 The NYSUT Information Bulletin reported results to the effect
that teachers in urban school as opposed to those in suburban and rural schools tend to
experience higher burn-out.173 Moreover, a study by Malanowski and Wood concluded that
dealing with large number of students is a burdensome experience for teachers.174 This is also
observed by Cedoline who found that large classes--which are more commonly found in large
cities and poor areas--reduce job satisfaction for teachers.175 This is an interesting fact because
it points to the obvious advantage of private schools with their small classes. However, Catholic
schools are not included in this group of private schools, as they have an average student-
172 J. Moracco, R. D’Arienzo, and D. Danford, “Comparison of Perceived Occupational Stress Between Teachers
Who Are Contented and Discontented in Their Career Choice,” in Vocational Guidance Quarterly, Vol. 32,
No.1, 1983, 44-51.
173 “NYSUT Stress Survey,” in NYSUT Information Bulletin, 1979: 3.
174 James R. Malanowski and Peter H. Wood, “Burn-out and Self-Actualization in Public School Teachers,” in
Journal of Psychology, Vol. 117, No.1, 1984, 23-26.
175 Anthony J. Cedoline, Job Burn-out in Public Education: Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills, (New York,
1982), 102.
69
teacher ratio greater than that of public schools, 20.9 versus 19.1 students in elementary school,
and 15.9 vs. 14.9 in secondary school. 176
It would be preposterous to claim that the conditions at the schools in this study are
unique, with the exception that the entire staff at the MSAE practice the TM technique. The
questions asked in the telephone interviews were all based on the literature on teacher burn-out.
In other words, the problems these teachers experienced had been in researchers’ awareness
since the early 1970s, and therefore these schools are representative of many with similar
problems. An attempt to compare the conditions at these three schools with other schools would
require a limitation to schools in areas of similar socio-economic, geographic, and climatic
conditions, and similar density of population. Such schools might be found in other Mid-
Western states like Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota, provided the big cities in these states
are not included. Also, the size of the schools should be matched, and in this study all the
schools have less than 1,500 students, and are therefore relatively small. A good indication that
the public school’s culture belonged to the Iowa mainstream is its average ACT (American
College Testing) score, which the last few years has fluctuated around the Iowa average score.
Data on teacher burn-out would also be essential to calculate reliable results, but this author
found that a pool of such data does not exist.
Suggested Implications of Findings
Three positive findings dominate the results of the research on the three schools: 1)
the teachers’ sense of accomplishment is much higher than the normative MBI data, 2) the
functioning of the Regina Education Center (the Catholic school) is good and satisfying for
the teachers, and 3) the MSAE teachers’ burn-out scores are extremely positive compared
with both the public and the Catholic school teachers, as well as with the MBI norms.
Particularly pleasing in the light of the public school’s relatively high burn-out rate is
its high score on Personal Accomplishment compared with the MBI norm. This shows that
the feeling of achieving good results with the students is fully possible despite feeling
emotionally overextended and somewhat cynical when teaching. One reason for this
unexpected result could have been the long teaching experience of these teachers, but this
conclusion is not supported by the low negative correlation between Teaching Experience and
Personal Accomplishment (correlation coefficient -0.035).177
The teachers at the Catholic school had no serious complaints about their working
conditions, and this school apparently embodies qualities that could benefit many other
schools due to its smooth functioning. All the teachers interviewed on the telephone felt
happy with their choice of profession (see table 6, Appendix 2), and this is a strong indication
of the excellent school operation. These teachers mentioned none of the traditional areas of
serious teacher complaint--administrative, supervisor, parental support, student behavior, and
teacher autonomy--as being issues. Although private school teachers tend to be more satisfied
than teachers in public schools, the total absence of serious complaints is unexpected.
Therefore, a recommendation is that a number of schools be surveyed with a questionnaire
similar to the one used for the telephone interviews in this study (see Appendix 1b) in order to
find schools where teachers have few complaints. Such schools could be found in both the
public and the private sector and be used to set norms or act as model schools.
The low burn-out scores among the MSAE teachers are remarkable. To its advantage
the school has smaller classes than the two other schools (see table 17, Appendix 2). Also, the
MSAE teachers score “better” than the other two groups of teachers in the following areas:
exercise, diet--almost all were vegetarians, frequency of obesity, smoking, TV watching, and
very little “fast food” and coffee consumption. Of all these lifestyle factors, overweight is the
176 The Center for Education Reform. [http://edreform.com/pubs/edstats.htm]
177 This particular correlation coefficient was not significant and is therefore not listed.
70
one that possibly could have the most effect on burn-out level, but more accurate measures
would have to be undertaken in order to determine effects in a case like this. Also, eating
might to some degree prevent burn-out because for many people it provides satisfaction. It
should be noted, however, that none of the three groups are extreme with regard to
overweight. Therefore, concluding that this factor in combination with the actual occurrences
of exercise has a major effect on burnout seems unreasonable.
Teachers have a high degree of education compared with the rest of the population.
They are therefore relatively easily accessible through campaigns. Efforts through campaigns
to promote healthier lifestyle habits deserve to be considered as an important means to attack
the problem of teacher burn-out. The degree of obesity among teachers and their exercise
habits ought to be scrutinized to estimate the seriousness of this problem in general. On the
basis of the results, the Maslach Burnout Inventory could be used to control for the effects of
body weight and exercise on teacher job satisfaction. The teaching profession needs such
attention to produce better academic results, to increase teacher job satisfaction, and to
improve teachers’ qualifications as models for their students.
The need for change in the American public education system is reflected in the high
number of reform proposals made in the US. More than 80% of the population want school
choice, charter schools, and quality education, according to a 1997 survey. The time may
seem right to be innovative to produce better educational results, which is the objective of the
public schools that have become charter schools. If charter schools succeed in their innovative
efforts to produce better academic results, they are granted permission to go ahead--if not,
they lose their license to operate. The question whether private schools ought to be included
in a school-choice program is a particularly polarizing one among politicians. The reason for
this is that the choice of attending private rather than public schools is a reform alternative
that involves governmental vouchers and the use of taxpayers’ money. These issues have
stirred a hot political debate, and the final outcome is yet to be decided on. Charter schools,
however, seem to have proven their rightful place in education because they have been
increasing in numbers since the idea was put into practice in 1991.
Based on the facts obtained through this research and the results achieved by MSAE
students, it is recommended that the TM program be tried out as a possible reform in the
American educational system. The MSAE students all supposedly practice the TM technique,
and most have done so for a number of years. These students have produced an excellent
academic track record over the years, and in the academic year 96/97 the following
achievements were made:
· Grades 9-12 scored in the 99th percentile in the Iowa Tests of Educational Development--both
nationally and in Iowa--for the second year in a row.
· Two seventh grade teams won 1st place in the Iowa Odyssey of the Mind competition to advance
to the world finals.
· An eighth grader scored highest on the American Junior High School Mathematics Exam in Iowa.
· Upper school teams won first place on the American High School Mathematics Exam two years
running. The AHSME is the most prestigious math competition in the nation.
· Eight-graders won the Iowa State Spelling Bee for seventh and eighth grades for the second year
straight.
· The upper school team took first place in the Iowa State History Fair-Group Media Competition
two years in a row.
· Two upper school students were selected as National Merit Scholar finalists.
Also, the following were arts achievements at MSAE in the academic year 96/97:
· The upper school choral reading “Visions of Light” won the Critic’s Choice award in the Iowa
High School Speech Association Competition as the most outstanding performance in the state.
71
· The upper school students won the highest honor--National Gold Key awards--in National
Scholastic Art Competition.
· Upper school students took first place in the color competition at the Iowa Educational Media
Association (IEMA) photography competition, and second place in the black and white
competition.
· Three upper school students were selected as outstanding performers at the Iowa High School
Speech Association, and appeared at the All-State Festival. 178
These results promise a quality education at MSAE which measures up to the
expectations set by educational authorities. That these students also are being taught the
philosophical aspect of the TM program, the SCI discipline, would not have to interfere with
the implementation of the practice of TM anywhere else. The TM technique supposedly
works independently of its philosophical aspect, and this opens the way for neutral research
designs. It should also be noted that the MSAE students do not take additional health
promoting treatments.
Experimenting with the TM program in both public and private schools is an
interesting idea. The effect of the practice of the TM technique by itself without the
interference of additional ingredients for health promotion has not been controlled for in this
study. However, there is reason to assume that the practice of the TM technique provides the
main effect because the rest of the other factors which may have contributed to the good burnout
results--extra meditation during weekends and summers, the use of herbal remedies, and
body massages and internal cleansing--took place irregularly. On the other hand, the TM
technique is strongly recommended practiced regularly in order to produce desired results.
The TM program could be tried out in different settings in both public and private
education sectors. The practice of the TM technique could be kept isolated from interfering
with other health-promoting approaches. Also, the TM technique could be practiced by part of
a faculty body, randomly selected, and it could also include part of, or all of, the students at
different schools. Furthermore, the effects of the ancient Ayurvedic treatment, which includes
the use of herbs and bodily cleansing, could be scrutinized, with or without the use of the TM
technique. A great number of research designs could be worked out, and the concept of
charter schools and the idea of school-choice options also open up additional possibilities for
trying out new ways to enhance school culture.
Comparing and Debating the Problem of American Lifestyles Versus Other Factors
Contributing to Teacher Burn-out
The reasons for teacher burn-out are well documented by scholars as for example
Herbert Freudenberger, Cristina Maslach, and Anthony J. Cedoline (see Chapter 1). These
researchers point to a variety of causes for this serious problem among public school teachers:
the lack of support from supervisors, administration, parents, and peers, student behavior,
students’ abuse of alcohol and drugs, student violence, and the lack of autonomy are but a few
examples. Estimates for frequency of burnout vary greatly and Cedoline reports that 25
percent of public school teachers feel burnt out at any given time.179 Other scholars estimate
the amount of burn-out to range from 10 to 80 percent (see p. 26). Much less research has been
done on burn-out in the private school sector, but these teachers are in general more satisfied
with their working conditions despite their low pay.
Even though the problem of teacher burn-out has received much attention during the
last two and a half decades, efforts to curb it have not been very successful. Teachers’ salaries
have risen and reduced attrition from the occupation, but the profession still battles much the
178 Brochure published by the Maharishi Universiity of Management in 1997.
179 Anthony J. Cedoline, Job Burn-out in Public Education: Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills, (New York,
1982), 93.
72
same conditions as it has done for the last twenty-five years. Fortunately, all problem areas do
not manifest at all schools. In this study problems of importance at the three schools are
pointed out, and the nature of their particular problems varies even if the schools have certain
general problem areas in common. Teachers at all three schools feel that they spend too much
time in meetings and on paperwork, but these seem to be unimportant compared with more
pressing problems. The desire for more pay is also present among all three groups of teachers
but while this is a minor concern at the public school, its impact is more serious at the
Catholic school. At MSAE this problem probably is the most important by far in causing
frustration. Of other common problem areas referred to in the literature, the teachers at the
public school and MSAE reported dissatisfaction with the support from both supervisors and
administration. However, while this was a serious complaint at the public school, the MSAE
teachers were only slightly unhappy with their supervisors and administration. By and large,
in this study sources of stress and teacher burn-out seem to coincide with what has been
commonly reported by other researchers. The location of the public school and the fact that
two of the schools are private determine many of the problems experienced by the 171
teachers surveyed.
According to some scholars, personal lifestyle habits such as exercise and type of diet
may have an effect on burn-out. Therefore, the results from surveying the 171 teachers on
their personal lifestyle habits are interesting. Nationally about one-third of adult Americans
weigh too much, and more than three-fourths do not exercise at all. The teachers at the three
schools in this study were not expected to represent any exception. The figures in table 5,
page 105, indicate higher percentages than the national norm for overweight at all three
schools. Unfortunately, the research in this study did not obtain data for degree of overweight.
The impression is that the number of excessive pounds per individual is within reasonable
limits-- “a few pounds extra” and “ten pounds extra” were mentioned by some. One among
the 171 teachers was reported to be extremely obese. However, there is reason to assume that
the rate of overweight among the three faculty bodies represents a potential for potential
opportunity to make changes leading to better health and less burn-out. Large percentages of
teachers reported that they exercise--most of them regularly--and this may have counteracted
some of the negative effects of weighing too much. When governmental authorities report that
overweight plus no exercise put one at risk for serious diseases, they do not debate the value
of exercise when one’s weight is too high and stays that way despite regular exercise. The
average figures for how much these teachers exercise are higher than what is recommended as
a minimum requirement by the government. The combined effect of overweight and plentiful
exercise is therefore unclear, but normal body weight for all of these teachers might have
contributed to their lower their burn-out scores. However, the relative importance of obesity
as a source of these teachers’ job dissatisfaction compared with other factors is uncertain due
to the lack of specified data. Further research is needed in order to conclude whether the
actual degrees of overweight are a statistically significant problem that can be related to
teachers’ job satisfaction.
There is no indication that obesity among American teachers is more serious than that
found among the public in general, but the results in this research indicate that it is a potential
problem. Part of situation is that the amount of overweight is increasing in the nation at large,
and there is no reason to believe that teachers are an exception. Therefore, there is reason to
believe that teachers also develop serious health problems due to weighing too much. The
figures from this research indicate that even among those who are vegetarians, there are 40%
who said they weigh too much. This was surprising but care should be taken not to
overestimate the consequences from it. After all, there is a major difference between weighing
5 or 10 pounds too much and being extremely obese. The case of the MSAE school can be
termed an exception because so many of those teachers are vegetarians. Therefore the obesity
73
reported by the other teachers involved in this research most likely is more severe due to
higher intakes of saturated fatty acids.
What the Individual Teacher Who Experiences Work Problems May Do to Improve
His or Her Situation, Especially Regarding Lifestyle Changes
Teachers have achieved much improvement in their working conditions through
organized efforts, but much remains to be done. External forces in society add to the
complexity of their challenges, and even unions may have to give up in the fight for what they
believe are teachers' rights and privileges. Therefore, positive changes related to teachers’
work take place over long periods of time. Ironically, waiting and hoping for needed changes
can often cause a build-up of stress and tension that ultimately leads to burn-out.
However, as was pointed out in chapter 1, the one area over which a individual can
have control is personal lifestyle habits. One’s habits outside the workplace influence how
one feels when at work, and therefore spare-time may be used in constructive ways to form
new and healthy habits. Physical workouts and improvement of diet are ways to strengthen
health that are available to all, and avoidance of obesity would provide increased well-being
for many teachers. Though much attention has been given to these issues, they still have not
become integrated parts of school cultures. The application of such practices must become
integral parts of the collective attitudes at the individual school. If this were the case, it would
be much more difficult for those who are physically inactive to remain so.
It is difficult to estimate how realistic the idea of organized workouts and changing to
a healthier diet may be. Trends in society have allowed for the ban on smoking in K-12
schools, and this is an important victory in the battle against degenerative lifestyle habits even
though it may have caused increased discomfort for many smokers. Also in addition, this
research indicated that the teachers’ use of alcohol is low compared with that of the rest of the
population, and this hopefully signal similar conditions in greater geographical areas and in
comparable strata of the population. Nevertheless, habits like eating and physical activity
require changes of a different nature, and perhaps it would put unacceptable strain on many of
those being encouraged to adopt new habits.
This research indicates that the lifestyles of the MSAE teachers are very effective in
preventing burn-out. Their lifestyles include several factors which may have helped them as
teachers. The TM technique is practiced on a regular basis and therefore probably contributed
to the most to resisting burnout. Also, a large amount of scientific research support this
assumption. For example, sleep disturbances, tension, smoking, the use of alcohol and drugs,
and overweight are some of the areas in which research has proven the use of TM to be
beneficial.180
In order to gain maximum benefits, teachers should apply several recommended
means to combat burn-out. Therefore the combination of regular exercise, a healthy diet--not
necessarily vegetarian--and the use of the TM program would probably enable the majority of
teachers to avoid serious burn-out. These factors--one, two, or all three combined--would help
energize teachers to manage their jobs without having to suffer from a build-up of tensions
that might become very harmful in the long run. This is a practical approach for the individual
teacher to solve the problem because it has nothing to do with, for instance, structural changes
of school systems and extra efforts to educate parents.
What Ought to Be Done Through Changes in Education Politics
180 For details, see Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program, Collected Papers, Volume 1,
edited by D.W. Orme-Johnson, J.T. Farrow, and L.H. Domash, Seelisberg, Switzerland, 1976, and Scientific
Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program, Collected Papers, Volumes 2-5, edited by R. Chalmers, G.
Clements, H. Schenklun, and M. Weinless, Fairfield, IA, 1990-1991, recommended papers: 8, 9, 22, 30, 32, 34,
44, 65, 67, 68, 75, 78, 92, 40, 124, 126, 144, 162, 163, 233, 235, 247, 282, 287, 290, 359, and 380.
74
“This nation [the US] has wasted billions of dollars on poorly conceived but
politically popular reform movements that have sapped the energy out of school-people. We
need a national moratorium on reforms so that educators and local policy makers can analyze
their own problems. This could lead to a new concept: local system analysis. Each local
school district would systematically study its own cultures--yes, cultures--and then implement
a carefully, well-coordinated, and well-funded plan for specific improvements.” This
comment was made by Donald C. Orlich who is a professor in the Department of Educational
Administration and Supervision at Washington State University at Pullman. The quote is
taken from his article “Education Reforms: Mistakes, Misconceptions, Miscues,” and
epitomizes what could be the necessary prerequisites for trying out and implementing the
conclusions made in this thesis.181 His views are fully supported by James W. Guthrie who
contends that local schools have to be re-enfranchised and regain their rights to evaluate and
change their policies.182 Given cultures supportive of innovative thinking, new and old ideas
could be implemented and monitored to find out what actually works with regard to
preventing teacher burn-out. As Orlich also points out in the same article (p. 536), two factors
work against the reform of education: 1) experienced teachers tend to think they know what
is best while at the same time politicians meddle with professional aspects of teaching, and 2)
the empirical knowledge base in schools is rather weak. If politicians would let go of their
tendency to try to control education in their local area, and teachers would open up to new
ideas, much would be gained in terms of the ability to test recommendations such as those
made in this thesis. Politicians simply have to let local school boards, superintendents,
principals, and teachers assume more power in decision making. If such new thinking were
accompanied by scientific scrutiny of new approaches of improving education, teachers most
likely would welcome the opportunity to gain more influence over their own work situation.
For more than twenty years the problem of teacher burn-out has received a great deal
of attention aimed at helping teachers cope with their jobs and improve academic results.
Despite all efforts including the improvement of teachers’ salaries and status, the fact is that
burn-out is still a problem that plagues many educators. A possible explanation for this might
be that burn-out is more prevalent in any profession than has been assumed, and that the
present level of teacher burn-out is just normal. The teaching profession is large and exposed
and has possibly attracted more attention than most professions with regard to work
conditions. Whatever the case, in addition to mending obvious flaws in the average teacher’s
work setting, new and untraditional ways to increase teachers’ job satisfaction ought to be
tried out. The practice of TM is one such means which could prove to be very helpful. Other
meditation techniques might be useful as well, even though few have been scientifically
tested. Also, researchers have recommended an array of remedies, as for example remedies
such as time management, social network support, and the monitoring of exercise and dietary
habits. Initiatives on the personal level seem to hold an important potential to contribute to
improved school culture. This in addition to such initiatives in combination with continued
good will from society most likely would make teachers a very happy group of professionals.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Primary Sources
181 Donald C. Orlich, “Education Reforms: Mistakes, Misconceptions, Miscues,” in Phi Delta Kappan, Mar.
1989, 517.
182 J.W. Guthrie, “The Paradox of Educational Power,” Educational Week, Vol. XVII, No. 7, 1997, 34.
75
Chase, Bob, president National Education Association. “Still a Nation at Risk” in NEA Today, Apr. 12, 1998.
[http://www.nea.org/society]
Draper, Sharon. “What is the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards? Ready To Get Certified?" The
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Education Association.
[http://www.nea.org./neatoday/9802/nbpts.html]
Historical Statistics of the United States. Colonial Times to 1970. House Document Series, No 93-78.
Washington DC: U.S. Printing Office.
Kay, Mary. Telephone conversation, Aug. 25, 1998.
Maslach, Christina. E-mail to Svein Pedersen, Jan. 14, 1998.
National Education Association. [http://www.nea.org/]
NEA Research 1995-96: Highlights, "Status of the American Public School Teacher. Sept. 1997."
[http://www.nea.org/neatoday/9709/status.html]
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Statistical Data and Research Center/Financial and Personal
Services. Teacher Attrition 1980-1996. (Engin Konanz, 1996).
Pines, Ayala. E-mail to Svein Pedersen Feb. 2, 1998.
Teleport Internet Services.
[http://www.teleport.com/otr/taxfax-t.htm]
U.S. Department of Education. The Center for Education Reform. Elementary and Secondary Education at a
Glance, Sept. 1997. [http://edreform.com/pubs/edstats.htm].
U.S. Department of Education. The National Center for Education Statistics The Condition of Education
1997. Indicator 39. [http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/ce/c9739a01.html]
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Schools and Staffing Survey,
1993-94. [http://nces.ed.gov/esn/n16a.html]
U.S. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Statistical Analysis Report: Job
Satisfaction Among America's Teachers: Effects of Workplace Conditions, Background Characteristics,
and Teacher Compensation. NCES 97-471. August 1997. [http://nces.ed.gov/pubs97/97471.html]
U.S. Department of Education. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for
Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics 1997.
U.S. Department of Education. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for Education
Statistics. Migration and Attrition of Public and Private School Teachers: 1991-1992. Aug. 1995.
[http://nces.ed.gov/pubs/95770.html]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NCHS HHS News. Prevalence of Overweight Among
Adolescents - United States 1998-91. Nov. 10, 1994.
[http://www.cdc.gov/nchswww/releases/94news/94news/nr941110.htm]
INTERVIEWS
"Doe, Jane." Interview by Svein Pedersen, Aug. 20, 1998. Interview 8/20, Svein Pedersen's private collection.
Reilly, Barb. Interview by Svein Pedersen, Aug. 13, 1998. Interview 8/13, Svein Pedersen's private collection.
76
Telephone interviews, a total of 30, performed between May 26 and July 2. 1998. Svein Pedersen's private
collection
Wetter, Kate. Interview by Svein Pedersen, Aug. 18, 1998. Interview 8/18, Svein Pedersen's private collection.
Secondary Sources
NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES
Chandler, Alfred. 1991. A Chat With the Dean of American Business History. Financial World (June 25): 42.
Finn Jr., Chester E. “A Nation Still at Risk.” Commentary, May 1989, 17.
(The New York Times, Sept. 19, 1982).
(USA Today, Oct. 21, 1994).
Wattenberg, Ben J. 1990. The Halting Progress of Blacks in the Last Generation. U.S. News and World Report.
(Jan. 22): 28.
Teaching in Trouble. U.S. News and World Report, ( May 26, 1986 ): 55 .
BOOKS
Balian, Edward S. How to Design, Analyze, and Write Doctoral or Masters Research. Lanham, New York,
London: 1988.
Berliner David C., and Bruce J. Biddle. The Manufactured Crisis. Reading, MA: Addison.Wesley Publishing
Company, 1995.
Brenton M. What Happened to the Teacher? New York: Coward McCann, 1970.
Cedoline, Anthony J. Job Burn-out in Public Education: Symptoms, Causes, and Survival Skills. New York:
Teachers College Press, 1982.
Cones, James H. III, John F. Noonan, and Denise Janha. Teaching Minority Students , San Francisco,
Washington, London: ?, 1983.
Current, R.N., T.H. Williams, and F. Freidel. American History: A Survey. New York: Alfred A. Knoph, Inc.,
1964.
Darling-Hammond, Linda. Beyond the Commission Reports: The Coming Crisis in Education. Santa Monica:
Rand Corporation, 1984.
DeVitis Joseph L., and John M. Rich. The Success Ethic, Education, and the American Dream. Albany, NY:
State University of New york Press, 1996.
Farber, Barry A. Crisis in Education. Stress and Burnout in the American Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Publishers, 1991.
Gall, Timothy L., and Daniel M. Lucas. Statistics on Alcohol, Drug & Tobacco Use. New York: ITP, 1995.
Haskins, Loren, and Kirk Jeffrey. Understanding Quantitative History. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990.
Hinton, Perry R. Statistics Explained. A Guide for Social Science Students. London and New York: Routledge,
1995.
77
Hoover, Kenneth, and Todd Donovan. The Elements of Social Scientific Thinking. Sixth edition. New York: St.
Martin’s Press, Inc., 1995.
Kennedy, Peter. A Guide to Econometrics. Third edition. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1992
LeCompte, Margaret D., and Anthony G. Dworkin: Giving Up On School: Student Dropouts and Teacher
Burnout. Newsbury Park, CA: Corwin Press, Inc., 1991.
Loren Fishkin, Gerald. American Dream, American Burn-out: How to Cope When It All Gets to Be Too Much.
Grawn, MI: Loren Publications, [distributed by] Publishers Distribution Service, 1994.
Freudenberger, Herbert J. Burn-out: The High Cost of High Achievement. New York: Anchor Press, 1980.
Gold Yvonne, and Robert A. Roth. Teachers Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout: The Professional
Health Solution. Bristol, PA: The Falmer Press, Taylor & Francis Inc., 1993.
LeCompte Margareth D., and Anthony G. Dworkin, Giving Up on School. Student Dropouts and Teacher Burnouts.
Newsbury Park, CA: Corwin Press, Inc., 1991.
Maslach, Christina, Susan E. Jackson, and Michael P. Leiter. Maslach Burnout Inventory. Third edition. Palo
Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc., 1996.
Morris R.B., and W. Greenleaf. USA, The History of a Nation. Vol. 1. Chicago: Rand Mc Nally & Company,
1969.
Orme-Johnson, D.W., J.T. Farrow, and L.H. Domash. Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation
Program, Collected Papers, Volume 1. Seelisberg, Switzerland: MERU Press, 1976, and Chalmers, R.,
G. Clements, H. Schenklun, and M. Weinless. Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation
Program, Collected Papers, Volumes 2-5. Fairfield, IA: MIU Press, 1990-1991.
Pines Ayala, and Elliot Aronson. Career Burn-out. Causes and Cures. New York and London: The Free Press,
1988.
Roth, Robert A. How to Conduct Surveys, Follow-up Studies, and Basic Data Collection in Evaluation Studies.
Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1981.
Silberman, Charles E. Crisis in the Classroom. The Remaking of American Education. New York: Random
House, 1970.
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York: Charles Schribner's Sons, 1958.
Welch, Susan, et. al. Understanding American Government. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1995.
Wiltse, Charles M. The Jeffersonian Tradition in American Democracy. New York: Hill And Wang, Inc., 1960.
JOURNAL ARTICLES
Anderson, M.B. and E.F. Iwanicki. ”Teacher Motivation and Its Relationship to Burn-out.” Educational
Administration Quarterly 20, no. 2 (1984): 109-32.
Barter, R.E. “Rejuvenating Teachers.” Independent School 43, no. 3 (1984): 37-42.
Bloch, Alfred M. “The Battered Teacher” Today’s Education 66, no. 2 (1977): 58-62.
Burke, Ronald J. and Esther R. Greenglass. "Career Orientation and Psychological Burnout in Teachers."
Psychological Reports no. 63 (1988): 107-116.
Coates, Thomas J., and Carl E. Thoresen. “Teacher Anxiety: A Review with Recommendations.” Review of
Educational Research 46 no. 2 (1976): 160.
78
Cook, Jimmie. ”America’s Schools More Than Measure Up.” Teaching PreK-8 28, no. 7 (1998): 30-31.
Cornell, T. “Narrative Insights into African-American School Experiences: Combating the Culture of
Defeatism.” International Journal of Educational Reform 6, no. 3 (1997): 324-25.
Cunningham, William G. “Teacher Burn-out - Solutions for the 1980s: A Review of the Literature.” The Urban
Review 15, no. 1 (1988): 39.
Gold, Yvonne. “Burn-out: A Major Problem for the Teaching Profession.” Education 4, no. 3 (1984): 273.
Gold, Yvonne. "Does Teacher Burnout Begin with Student Teaching." Education 105, no. 3 (1986): 254-257.
Gold, Yvonne. "Stress Reduction Programs to Prevent Teacher Burnout." Education 107, no. 3 (1987): 338-340.
Grant, G. "The Teachers' Predicament." Teachers College Record 84, no. 3 (1983): 593-609.
Guthrie, J.W. “The Paradox of Educational Power.” Educational Week XVII, no. 7, (1997): 34.
Hepburn, Mary. “The Power Of the Electronic Media In the Socialization Of Young Americans: Implication For
Social Studies Education.” Social Studies 89, no. 2 (1998): 72.
Holt, P., M.J. Fine, and N. Tollefsen. “Mediating Stress: Survival of the Hardy.” Psychology in the Schools no.
24 (1987): 51-58.
Iwanicki, Edward F. “Toward Understanding and Alleviating Teacher Burn-out.” Theory Into Practice XXII, no.
1 (1983): 30.
Kyriacou, Chris. "Teacher Stress and Burn-out: An International Review." Educational Research 29, no. 2
(1987): 147.
Labaree, David F. “A Kinder and Gentler Report: Turning Points and the Carnegie Tradition.” Journal of
Education Policy 5, no. 3 (1990): 249-64.
Labaree, David F. “An Unloving Legacy: The Disabling Impact of the Market On American Teacher
Education.” Phi Delta Kappan 75, no. 8 (1994): 592.
Labaree, David F. “An Unloving Legacy: The Disabling Impact of the Market On American Teacher
Education.” Phi Delta Kappan 75, no. 8 (1994): 593.
Labaree, David F. “An Unloving Legacy: The Disabling Impact of the Market On American Teacher
Education.” Phi Delta Kappan 75, no. 8 (1994): 594-95.
Litt, M.D., and D.C. Turk. “Sources of Stress and Dissatisfaction In Experienced High School Teachers.” Journal
of Educational Research 78 (1985): 178.
Lowell, C.R., A.M. Gallup, and S.M. Elam. “The 29th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s
Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.” Phi Delta Kappan 79, no. 1 (1997): 41-56.
Ludwig, M. “Channel Surfing: Race Talk and the Destruction of Today’s Youth.” Educational Leadership 55,
no. 7 (1998): 88-89.
Malanowski, James R., and Peter H. Wood. “Burn-out and Self-Actualization in Public School Teachers.”
Journal of Psychology 117, no.1 (1984): 23-26.
Maslach, Christina. "Burned Out.” Human Behavior 5, (1976): 16.
Mattingly, M.A. “Sources of Stress and Burn-out in Professional Child Care Work.” Child Care Quarterly 6, no.
2 (1977): 131.
McEnany, Judith. “Teachers Who Don’t Burn Out.” The Clearing House 60, no. 2 (1986): 83-84.
79
McIntyre, T. “The Relationship Between Locus of Control and Teacher Burn-out.” British Journal of Education
Psychology 54, no. 2 (1984): 235-238.
Moracco, J., R. D’Arienzo, and D. Danford. “Comparison of Perceived Occupational Stress Between Teachers
Who Are Contented and Discontented in Their Career Choice.” Vocational Guidance Quarterly 32, no.1
(1983): 44-51.
Nagy, Steven, and Lorraine G. Davis. “Burn-out: A Comparative Analysis of Personality and Environmental
Variables.” Psychological Reports 57, (1985): 1324.
National Recreation and Park Association’s Active Living/Healthy Lifestyles Program. “National Agenda.”
Parks and Recreation 30, no. 10 (1995): 44.
Postman, Neil. “The First Curriculum: Comparing School and Television.” Phi Delta Kappan 61, no. 3 (1979):
163-168.
Orlich, Donald C. “Education Reforms: Mistakes, Misconceptions, Miscues.” Phi Delta Kappan (Mar. 1989):
513.
Riccio, Anthony C. “On Coping With the Stresses of Teaching.” Theory Into Practice 22, no. 1 (1983): 43.
Riccio, Anthony C. “On Coping With the Stresses of Teaching.” Theory Into Practice 22, no. 1 (1983): 44.
Roness, Atle. Utbrent? Arbeidsstress og psykiske lidelser hos mennesker i utsatte yrker. Oslo:
Universitetsforlaget, 1995.
Schlafly, Phyllis. “Clinton is Trying to Eliminate Local Control of Education.” Human Events 53, no. 9 (1997): 30.
Schwab, Richard L. and Edward F. Iwanicki. “Who are Our Burned Out Teachers?” Educational Research
Quarterly 7, no. 2 (1982): 5-16.
Shotwell, Steve. “Connecting to the Future. Part IV - A Blueprint For the Electronic Classroom.” Electronic
Learning 13, no. 4 (1994): 14-15.
Spangler, K.J. “Doing Our Part to Promote Healthy Lifestyles.” Parks and Recreation 32, no. 10 (1997): 54.
PAPERS
Dinham, Steve. "Enhancing the Quality of Teacher Satisfaction." Paper presented at the National Conference of
the Australian College of Education, Launceston, Tasmania. Sept. 28-30, 1994, and Dinham, Steve, and
Catherine Scott. "Modeling Teacher Satisfaction: Findings from 892 Teaching Staff at 72 Schools."
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago,
March 24-28, 1997.
Eastman, Wayne. “Avoiding Faculty Burn-out Through the Wellness Program,” paper presented to the
Association of Canadian Community Colleges Annual Conference, May 26-28, 1996, 8.
MISCELLANEOUS
MetLife Statistical Bulletin.
[http://www.metlife.com/Sb/Recaps/Docs/1teens.html]
Pew Research Center. “Optimism About TV Ratings.” January 1997 News Interest Index.
[http://peoplepress.org/jan97mor.htm]
Taylor, Betsy. “Poverty, Race, and Consumerism,” in Poverty and Race, July/Aug. 1997.
[http://www.newdream.org/discuss/taylor.html]
80
Hoff, David J. “Clinton Gives Top Billing to Education Plan.” in Education Week, Feb. 12, 1997.
[http://www.edweek.org/ew/vol-16/20clint.h16]
Thompson, Lois J. "Partners in Encouragement." Individual Psychology Journal of Adlerian Theory, Research
and Practice. Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec. 1982): 315-321.
81
APPENDIX 1A
83
MaslachBurnout Inventory.
EDUCATORS SURVEY
___________________________________________________________________________
HOW OFTEN: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Never A few times Once a A few Once A few Every
a year month times a a times day
or less or less month week a week
___________________________________________________________________________
HOW OFTEN
0-6 Statements:
1. _______ I feel emotionally drained from my work
2. _______ I feel used up at the end of my workday.
3. _______ I feel fatigued when I get up in the morning and have to face another day on
the
job.
4. _______ I can easily understand how my students feel about things.
5. _______ I feel I treat some students as if they were impersonal objects.
6. _______ Working with people all day is really a strain for me.
7. _______ I deal very effectively with the problems of my students.
8. _______ I feel burned out from my job.
9. _______ Working with people all day is really a strain for me.
10. _______ I've become more callous toward people since I took this job.
11. _______ I worry that this job is hardening me emotionally.
12. _______ I feel very energetic.
13. _______ I feel frustrated by my job.
14. _______ I feel I'm working too hard on my job.
15. _______ I don't really care what happens with some of my students.
16. _______ Working with people all day puts too much stress on me.
17. _______ I can easily create a relaxed atmosphere with my students.
18. _______ I feel exhilarated after working closely with my students.
19. _______ I have accomplished many worhtwhile things in this job.
20. _______ I feel I'm at the end of my rope.
21. _______ In my work, I deal with emotional problems very calmly.
22. _______ I feel students blame me for some of their problems.
(Administrative use only) cat. cat. cat.
EE:_______ ________ DP:________ _________ PA:________ ________
=====================================================
84
Additional questions asked for demographic information:
23. Age: ______________________________________
24. Ethnic origin: _______________________________
25. Gender: ___________________________________
26. Marital status: ______________________________
27. Number of offspring: ________________________
28. Number of years teaching: ____________________
29. Number of years in current position: ____________
30. Extra job responsibilities (e.g. department head):
____________________________________________
31. Number of hours of volunteer work (e.g. sports, drama):
_________________________________________
32. Number of hours usually worked each week:
_____________________________________________
33. Number of students in each class you teach:
_______________________________________________
85
APPENDIX 1B
86
SUBJECT:________________________________________ Ph. #_______________
School:______________ # of colleagues______ Call again _______day at ________
JOB SATISFACTION:
1 Why did you choose to become a teacher?....................................................................
2 Are you happy as a teacher?..........................................................................................
3 What is the greatest reward about teaching?...................................................................
4 Would you become a teacher over again if you could choose?.......................................
5 Do you have broken illusions?......................................................................................
6 Do you feel that you get enough recognition for your work?...........................................
7 Would you change anything if you could?.....................................................................
8 Do you ever feel stuck as a teacher?............................................................................
9 Are boredom and routine a problem?..........................................................................
10 Do feel you get enough support from your supervisors?..............................................
11 Is the cooperation with the administration good enough?............................................
12 How about support from peers?...............................................................................
13 Are reforms, or have they been, a source of stress?...................................................
14 Is the feeling of isolation a problem?..........................................................................
15 Do you feel you have enough free time? ...................................................................
16 How do you feel about the discipline at your school?.................................................
17 Are classes small enough?.........................................................................................
18 Is racism a problem at your school?...........................................................................
19 Is drug abuse among the students a problem?............................................................
20 How about violence?................................................................................................
21 Is cooperation with parents satisfactory?...................................................................
22 Do you feel there is too much paperwork or administration besides teaching?............
23 Do you think meetings take too much time?...............................................................
24 Do you feel that you have enough autonomy?...........................................................
25 How about promotion possibilities?.........................................................................
26 Is absenteeism a problem at your school?..................................................................
27 Is it easy to fill vacancies with qualified personnell?...................................................
28 Do teachers tend to come and quit quickly?.............................................................
29 Are you satisfied with the facilities?..........................................................................
CULTURE:
30 Do you feel that it is possible to fulfill the American Dream as a teacher (money and
freedom)?.................................................................................................................
31 Do you feel that your buying power iss good enough?.......................................
32 Is teachers’ pay good enough?..............................................................................
33 Do you have extra jobs to make more money?.....................................................
34 How about your peers?........................................................................................
35 Do you believe in ever-increasing material achievement as a sign of success in life?
................................................................................................................................
36 What do you think about American consumerism?..................................................
POLITICS:
37 Is teacher preparation in the US good enough?.........................................................
38 How do feel about merit pay?................................................................................
39 Do you think that Clinton’s “master teachers” is a good idea?.................................
40 Do think of Clinton as an education president?.......................................................
41 Should parents be able to choose private schools instead of public schools?..........
42 How do you feel about charter schools?...............................................................
43 What do you think about national testing?.............................................................
87
44 What do you think of national
standards?.............................................................. .....................................................................................
...........................................
45 Is there anything in particular you don’t like about education politics these days?....
................................................................................................................................
CRITICISM:
46 Do you agree with the complaints about the American school system, like students
do not do well compared with students in other countries?.........................................
47 Is the demand to follow up on new technology in the classroom stressful? .............
LIFESTYLES:
48 Do you smoke?......................................................................Peers?...................
49 Do enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages?..................................Peers?.....................
50 Do you exercise/practice yoga?..............................................Peers?.....................
51 What kind of exercise? ........................................................................................
52 Hrs./week ..........................................................................................................
53 Do you drive when you could have walked or bicycled? ......................................
54 How much time do you spend watching TV per day? .........................................
55 Do you pay attention to diet?.................................................Peers?..................
56 Do you eat fast food? ........................................................................................
57 How much meat do you eat per day? ................................................................
58 Do you drink coffe - cups/day?..........................................................................
59 Do you drink soft drinks - how much/day? ........................................................
60 Are you over-/underweight?...................................................Peers?.................
61 Do you get enough rest - going to bed early?.....................................................
62 When do you normally go to bed?......................................................................
63 Do you practice any relaxation technique?..............................Peers?.................
88
APPENDIX 1C 183
183 This set of interview questions were specifically meant for the teachers at the Maharishi School of the Age of
Enlightenment (MSAE). The questions in bold types were asked to obtain information about their practice of
Transcendental Meditation (TM),
89
SUBJECT:________________________________________ Ph. #____________
School: MSAE
JOB SATISFACTION:
a (1) Why did you choose to become a teacher at the MSAE? ...................................
...............................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................
b Were you educated as a teacher at MUM? 184........................................................
c Had you taught before coming to MSAE? .......................................................
d If “yes,” how do the experiences compare? .......................................................
...............................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................
2 Are you happy as a teacher?.....................................................................................
3 What is the greatest reward about teaching?............................................................
e What is the greatest source of stress at work? ...................................................
f How is TM important to you? .............................................................................
...............................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................
g (4) Would you become a teacher over again at MSAE if you could choose? .
...............................................................................................................................
h Do you consider MSAE better than any other K-12 school? .........................
i If ‘yes,’ why? .....................................................................................................
..............................................................................................................................
...............................................................................................................................
j How long have you practiced TM? ....................................................................
k Is it easy to find time to meditate twice per day? ............................................
l Do you feel that TM provides enough energy to avoid burnout? ....................
m Do you think your energy level would have been considerably lower without
the practice of TM? ...............................................................................................
o Could you imagine teaching without the TM practice? .....................................
p (15) Do you feel you have enough free time? ....................................................
5 Do you have broken illusions?................................................................................
6 Do you feel that you get enough recognition for your work?....................................
7 Would you change anything if you could?...............................................................
8 Do you ever feel stuck as a teacher?.....................................................................
9 Are boredom and routine a problem?....................................................................
10 Do feel you get enough support from your supervisors?........................................
11 Is the cooperation with the administration good enough?.......................................
12 How about support from peers?..........................................................................
13 Are reforms, or have they been, a source of stress?...............................................
14 Is the feeling of isolation a problem?.....................................................................
16 How do you feel about the discipline at your school?...........................................
17 Are classes small enough?...................................................................................
18 Is racism a problem at your school?.......................................................................
19 Is drug abuse among students a problem?.............................................................
20 How about violence?............................................................................................
21 Is cooperation with parents satisfactory?..............................................................
22 Do you feel there is too much paperwork or administration besides teaching?..........
23 Do you think meetings take too much time?...........................................................
24 Do you feel that you have enough autonomy?........................................................
184 "MUM" is short for Maharishi University of Management, and the MSAE is located on this campus.
90
25 How about promotion possibilities?.......................................................................
26 Is absenteeism a problem at your school?...............................................................
27 Is it easy to fill vacancies with qualified personnell?.................................................
28 Do teachers tend to come and quit quickly?..........................................................
29 Are you satisfied with the facilities?......................................................................
CULTURE:
30 Do you feel that it is possible to fulfill the American Dream as a
teacher?...................................................................................................................
31 Do you feel that your buying power is good enough?............................................
32 Is teachers’ pay good enough?............................................................................
33 Do you have extra jobs to make more money?.....................................................
34 How about your peers?.......................................................................................
35 Do you believe in ever-increasing material achievement as a sign of success in life?
...............................................................................................................................
36 What do you think about American consumerism?................................................
POLITICS:
37 Is teacher preparation in the US good enough?....................................................
38 How do feel about merit pay?................................................................................
39 Do you think that Clinton’s “master teachers” is a good idea?.................................
40 Do think of Clinton as an education president?.....................................................
q What is the adavantage with private schools compared with public schools?
...............................................................................................................................
41 Should parents be able to choose private instead of public schools?...................
42 How do you feel about charter schools?..............................................................
43 What do you think about national testing?............................................................
44 What do you think of national standards? ......................................................
45 Is there anything in particular you don’t like about education politics these days?
...............................................................................................................................
CRITICISM:
46 Do you agree with the complaints about the American school system, like students
do not do well compared with students in other countries?........................................
47 Is the demand to follow up on new technology in the classroom stressful? ............
LIFESTYLES:
48 Do you smoke?......................................................................Peers?..................
49 Do enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages?..................................Peers?...................
50 Do you exercise? ..................................................................Peers?...................
51 What kind of exercise? ........................................................................................................
52 Hrs./week ..........................................................................................................
53 Do you drive when you could have walked or bicycled? ......................................
54 How much time do you spend watching TV per day? .........................................
r Do you practice yoga asanas? .............................................Peers? ...................
55 Do you pay attention to diet?.................................................Peers?.....................
s Are you a vegetarian? .........................................................Peers? ...................
56 Do you eat fast food? ..........................................................................................
57 How much meat do you eat per day? ...................................................................
58 Do you drink coffe - cups/day?.............................................................................
59 Do you drink soft drinks - how much/day? ...........................................................
60 Are you over-/underweight?...................................................Peers?....................
61 Do you get enough rest? ......................................................................................
62 When do you normally go to bed?........................................................................
t Do you attend advanced TM courses? ..............................................................
91
APPENDIX 2
92
Table 6. Summaries of Telephone Interviews by School. Percentages.
Public
School
Catholic
School MSAE
Chose to become a teacher due to idealism 90 100 0
American Dream can be fulfilled as teacher 80 100 100
Happy as teacher 90 100 100
Student growth as greatest reward from teaching 100 100 50
Would become teacher over again 70 88 92
Broken illusions vague 38 42
Get enough recognition 33 71 82
Feel stuck at times 30 14 40
Enough support from supervisors 40 100 67
Enough support from administration 50 100 75
Discipline no problem 13 75 46
Alcohol/drug abuse a problem 100 14 50
Parent support is good 56 71 92
Too much time in meetings 86 43 42
Too much time on paperwork 70 50 42
Have enough autonomy 70 100 100
Satisfied with school buildings 40 100 92
Buying power good enough 50 13 17
Table 7. Correlation frequency table for the burnout variables (MBI sub-scales) and the teacher
background variables. EE = Emotional Exhaustion, DP = Depersonalization, PA = Personal
Accomplishment. Total sample = 171 teachers.
Burnout Variables Teacher Background Variables
Age Gender Offspring
Class
Size
Teaching
Experience
Level
Taught
Marital
Status
Emotional Exhaustion 169 171 171 168 171 155 170
Depersonalization 169 171 171 168 171 155 170
Personal Accomplishment 169 171 171 168 171 155 170
Note: The following classes had missing cases: Age=2, Level Taught=16, Marital Status=1, Class
Size=3.
Table 8. Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Personal
Accomplishment (PA) by Amount of Teaching Experience. Ranges of MBI sub-scales:
EE=0-54, DP=0-30, PA=48 (degrees of emotional fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average,
27-54 = high), DP=0-30 (degrees of cynical attitudes toward students: 0-8 = low, 9-13 =
average, 14-30 = high), PA=48 (degrees of sense of accomplishment: 0-30 = low, 31-36 =
average, 37-48 = high). Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
Years of Teaching
Experience EE DP* PA N
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
0-4 19.80 8.10 6.20 3.77 39.90 4.47 40 (23.4)
5-12 20.20 10.33 6.69 5.00 39.82 4.63 51 (29.8)
13-24 22.54 10.86 7.83 5.34 41.13 4.92 48 (28.1)
25-38 20.25 10.90 8.22 5.61 38.56 6.91 32 (18.7)
All 20.77 10.10 7.18 4.98 39.97 5.20 171 (100.0)
*Significant at p<0.05.
93
Table 9a. Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and
Personal Accomplishment (PA) by Lower and Middle/Upper Grades Taught.
Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Personal
Accomplishment (PA). Ranges of MBI sub-scales: EE=0-54, DP=0-30, PA=48
(degrees of emotional fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average, 27-54 = high),
DP=0-30 (degrees of cynical attitudes toward students: 0-8 = low, 9-13 =
average, 14-30 = high), PA=48 (degrees of sense of accomplishment: 0-30 =
low, 31-36 = average, 37-48 = high). Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
Level(s) EE DP* PA N
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Lower 21.54 10.78 5.61 3.77 40.36 4.98 69 (40.4)
Middle/Upper 19.80 9.85 8.15 5.63 39.79 5.47 86 (50.3)
Total 20.57 10.28 7.02 5.04 40.05 5.25 155 (90.7)
MBI Norms 21.25 11.01 11.00 6.19 33.54 6.89 4,163
*Significant at p<0.05.
Note: Sixteen teachers at the public school did not indicate which grade levels
they taught, and these were not included in this table.
Table 9. Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and
Personal Accomplishment (PA) by Public and Catholic Lower and Middle/Upper
Grades Taught. Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization
(DP), and Personal Accomplishment (PA). Ranges of MBI sub-scales: EE=0-54,
DP=0-30, PA=48 (degrees of emotional fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average, 27-
54 = high), DP=0-30 (degrees of cynical attitudes toward students: 0-8 = low, 9-
13 = average, 14-30 = high), PA=48 (degrees of sense of accomplishment: 0-30 =
low, 31-36 = average, 37-48 = high). Percentages of combined samples of the
public and the Catholic school in parenthesis.
Levels EE DP PA N
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Lower 22.14 11.44 5.96 4.06 39.82 5.09 49 (46.7)
Middle/Upper 22.95 9.54 9.98 5.49 37.84 5.23 56 (53.3)
Total 22.57 10.42 8.10 5.25 38.76 5.23 105 (100.0)
MBI Norms 21.25 11.01 11.00 6.19 33.54 6.89 4,163
94
Table 10. Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and
Personal Accomplishment (PA) by school and Grade Level Taught. Summaries of
Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Personal Accomplishment
(PA). Ranges of MBI sub-scales: EE=0-54, DP=0-30, PA=48 (degrees of emotional
fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average, 27-54 = high), DP=0-30 (degrees of cynical
attitudes toward students: 0-8 = low, 9-13 = average, 14-30 = high), PA=48 (degrees
of sense of accomplishment: 0-30 = low, 31-36 = average, 37-48 = high). Percentages
of total sample in parenthesis.
School Grades EE DP PA N
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Public K-5 23.04 12.01 7.28 4.35 38.96 4.83 25 (14.6)
Public 6-9 27.48 9.00 11.10 5.70 36.19 5.81 21 (12.3)
Public 10-12 22.00 4.88 10.15 4.85 38.92 4.23 13 (7.6)
Catholic 1-6 21.21 10.98 4.58 3.27 40.71 5.30 24 (14.0)
Catholic 7-12 18.83 10.46 8.96 5.55 38.83 4.88 23 (13.5)
MSAE K-5 20.05 9.08 4.75 2.86 41.70 4.53 20 (11.7)
MSAE 6-9 14.00 6.94 4.18 3.88 42.06 4.15 17 (9.9)
MSAE 10-12 14.08 8.96 4.92 4.25 45.67 2.10 12 (7.0)
Sum 155 (90.6)
Note: Sixteen teachers at the public school did not indicate which grade levels they
taught, and these were not included in this table.
Table 11. Summaries of teachers’ scores on Emotional Exhaustion (EE),
Depersonalization (DP), and Personal Accomplishment (PA) by Number of
Students in Class. Ranges of MBI sub-scales: EE=0-54, DP=0-30, PA=48
(degrees of emotional fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average, 27-54 = high),
DP=0-30 (degrees of cynical attitudes toward students: 0-8 = low, 9-13 =
average, 14-30 = high), PA=48 (degrees of sense of accomplishment: 0-30 =
low, 31-36 = average, 37-48 = high). Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
Class Size EE DP* PA N
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
1-9 23.75 4.38 8.25 2.87 41.75 3.59 4 (2.3)
10-14 16.00 7.24 3.96 3.87 42.25 5.28 24 (14.0)
15-19 18.00 9.11 6.71 4.38 40.83 4.60 41 (24.0)
20-24 22.10 10.54 7.60 5.57 39.40 4.39 52 (30.4)
25-29 23.38 11.19 7.84 4.87 38.76 5.89 37 (21.6)
30- 26.30 7.13 11.00 4.47 37.30 7.07 10 (5.8)
Sum 168 (98.2)
*Significant at p<0.05.
Note: Three teachers at the public school did not inform about average class
size taught and are missing cases.
95
Table 12. Summaries of teachers’ scores on Emotional Exhaustion
(EE), Depersonalization (DP), and Personal Accomplishment (PA) by
Gender. Ranges of MBI sub-scales: EE=0-54, DP=0-30, PA=48
(degrees of emotional fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average, 27-54 =
high), DP=0-30 (degrees of cynical attitudes toward students: 0-8 =
low, 9-13 = average, 14-30 = high), PA=48 (degrees of sense of
accomplishment: 0-30 = low, 31-36 = average, 37-48 = high).
Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
Gender EE DP* PA N
Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Female 20.57 10.11 6.29 4.75 40.45 4.70 122 (71.3)
Male 21.27 10.17 9.41 4.90 38.78 6.18 49 (28.7)
Sum 20.77 10.10 7.18 4.98 39.97 5.20 171 (100.0)
*Significant at p<0.05.
Table 13. Summaries of Emotional Exhaustion (EE), Depersonalization
(DP), and Personal Accomplishment (PA) by Marital Status for the total
sample. Ranges of MBI sub-scales: EE=0-54, DP=0-30, PA=48 (degrees of
emotional fatigue: 0-16 = low, 17-26 = average, 27-54 = high), DP=0-30
(degrees of cynical attitudes toward students: 0-8 = low, 9-13 = average, 14-
30 = high), PA=48 (degrees of sense of accomplishment: 0-30 = low, 31-36
= average, 37-48 = high). Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
EE* DP PA N
Marital
Status Mean SD Mean SD Mean SD
Single 18.43 9.34 6.32 5.16 41.02 4.48 53 (31.0)
Married 21.74 10.29 7.55 4.89 39.44 5.44 117 (68.4)
Total 170 (99.4)
*Significant at p<0.05.
Note: One teacher at the public school did not inform about marital status
and is missing in this table.
Table 14a. Mean Age and Median Age by School.
Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
School
Mean
Age SD
Median
Age N
Public 40.71 10.16 43 73 (42,7)
Catholic 35.81 10.41 32 47 (27.5)
MSAE 47.55 5.12 48 49 (28.7)
All 41.33 10.07 45 169 (98.8)
Note: Two of the teachers at the public school did
not inform about their age, and these represent
missing cases in this table.
96
Table 14b. Years of Teaching Experience by School.
Percentages of total sample in parenthesis.
School Mean SD Median N
Public 14.92 9.64 15 75 (43.9)
Catholic 10.81 9.02 7 47 (27.5)
MSAE 12.60 8.50 11 49 (28.7)
Total 171 (100.0)
Table 15. Gender by school. Percentages of
samples in parenthesis.
School Female Male N
Public 55 (73.3) 20 (26.7) 75 (100)
Catholic 30 (63.8) 17 (36.2) 47 (100)
MSAE 37 (75.5) 12 (24.5) 49 (100)
Total 122 49 171
National (74.4) (25.6)
Table 16. Marital Status by school. Percentages of
samples in parentheses. National norms added as
percentages for comparisons.
School Single Married N
Public 14 (18.7) 61 (81.3) 75 (100)
Catholic 15 (31.9) 32 (68.1) 47 (100)
MSAE 24 (49.0) 24 (49.0) 48 (98.0)
National (25.6) (74.4) (100)
Total 53 (31.0) 117 (68.4) 171
Table 17. Comparisons of number of students
in classes by school. National norms added.
School Lower
Middle/
Upper
Mean SD Mean SD
Public 21.02 7.23 22.34 12.37
Catholic 23.96 2.03 21.63 8.045
MSAE 16.93 3.70 15.67 3.13
National 24 31
97
98