Teacher Burnout, Well-Being and a Proposed "Teacher Assistant Intervention Program"

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Teacher Burnout, Well-Being and a Proposed “Teacher Assistant Intervention Program" Fall Semester 2012
COMM 200: Research Methods in Communication

Introduction/Abstract: This paper proposes the experimental study which will place new teacher assistants, assessed and qualified by a new set of requirements and qualifications, within the Providence School District Elementary Schools. What is the point? Why do we need to reassess our current set of requirements and qualifications within the paraeducation system? The field is certainly booming. It is projected that in the decade between 2010 and 2020, employment of “teacher assistants” in the United States is expected to grow 15% (Teacher Assistants, 2012). But the field is not continuing to grow for the purpose of creating new jobs. Instead, the field grows because the number of students in a given classroom continues to increase year to year. Therefore, it becomes more and more important that both the teachers and their teacher assistants are as qualified as possible. While our goal will be to eventually implement the new “Teacher Assistant Intervention Program” in elementary schools all across the United States; this study will specifically focus on two Providence School District Elementary schools, Kennedy Elementary School and West Elementary School. These two schools were chosen because of a few important factors. First of all, both elementary schools serve the community as primary public schools with grades kindergarten to fifth grade (InfoWorks, 2011). Both schools hire teacher assistants for the kindergarten and first grade levels (Providence Public Schools, 2012). Though, for the purpose of this study, we will place a teacher assistant in every classroom in every grade. We will do this so that every teacher who is assessed for their overall burnout level will have the chance to have it lowered with the implementation of the proposed “Teacher Assistant Intervention Program”. Each school has around the same number of teachers; At Kennedy Elementary School, there are 29 teachers; while at West Elementary School there are 25 teachers (Providence Public Schools, 2012). Key Terms: Burnout, Teacher Burnout, Teacher Assistant, Emotional Exhaustion, ParaPro Assessment, Copenhagen Burnout Survey Burnout is a work-related syndrome which is brought on by the intense responsibilities as well as relations with clients. Burnout can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting to the individual and often is as a result of the emotional pressures that get placed on the person within the profession (Caglar, 2011). Burnout takes on a series of physical symptoms as well as emotional symptoms. Some of these up and include: headaches, fatigue, restlessness, substance addiction, anxiety attacks, low self-esteem, hopelessness or disappointment (Koruklu, 2012). Beyond the beginner’s definition of “burnout”, “teacher burnout” enters into a dimension of its own. Teacher Burnout can be accurately defined as a physical, mental and behavioral tiredness that is exhibited in educators as a result of their working life and experience. It is characterized by a positive or negative reaction that emerges as a result of stressful situations directly impacting the teacher’s physical, emotional, and social performance. According to previous research and studies, “emotional exhaustion”, “depersonalization”, and “lack of personal accomplishment” are pertinent indicators of “teacher burnout” (Koruklu, 2012). Occupations falling under the human service profession category tend to burn out most quickly because of the emotional pressures brought on by the intense relations with other people’s burdens and personal issues (Caglar, 2011). Students are constantly depending and relying on their teacher for more than just their education. Many times, students come from homes where little to no support is provided. As a result, teachers end up taking on much of their student’s burdens and carrying them as...
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