Teacher burnout is a concern due to its impact, not only on individuals, but also on the quality of educational services (e.g. absenteeism, teacher attrition, high staff turnover, quality of teaching). This research addresses two main questions: 1) what are the organizational determinants of teacher burnout in terms of its two main components, professional exhaustion (PE) and professional inefficacy (PI); and 2) what are the impacts of teacher burnout on student well-being and success?
It is important to provide teachers with opportunities for professional development allowing to maximize their self-efficacy.
The findings indicate that the organizational determinants most strongly associated with the development of PE are directly linked to the presence of classroom disruptions, ineffective management of problem behaviours, and negative school climate (tension, insecurity). Conversely, no organizational factors are associated with PI, which appears to be based primarily on individual determinants.
At the elementary level, the greater a teacher’s perceived inefficacy (PI), the more difficulties his or her students experience. On the other hand, the effect of professional exhaustion (PE) appear more complex and non-linear: both in elementary and secondary school teachers, a certain level of PE is associated with positive effects in students, suggesting that PE reflects an engagement at work. Some of these effects are enhanced when the teacher feels ineffective and/or appear to be limited in advantaged and less ethnically diverse schools.
This research suggests that measures aimed at reducing indiscipline and antisocial behaviour at school and increasing teachers’ behaviour management skills would reduce the risk of teacher burnout, especially when it comes to exhaustion. It also highlights the importance of providing teachers with opportunities for professional development aimed at maximizing their professional self-efficacy. Finally, the study points to the importance of better understanding the link between professional exhaustion and student success or adaptation.
Michel Janosz, Université de Montréal
Deposit of the research report: August 2017