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Krista Soria, Marla Hall
There is a serious problem worldwide as a result of the continuing decline in teacher retention rates. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States fell short of the required teaching staff; this decrease perpetuated the national special education teacher shortage. The COVID-19 pandemic brought education to the forefront of many homes and school districts as families and educators shifted to virtual learning formats from their homes. With increased job demands and ever-evolving state and federal special education mandates, COVID-19 likely exacerbated an already bubbling teacher shortage. Although there has been research on special education teachers’ burnout, little has been done in the wake of the new post-pandemic world. This exploratory qualitative study investigated the lived experiences of special education teachers in one Midwest public school district in order to identify themes of the effect COVID-19 has had on job-related stress and burnout. Utilizing the Job Demand-Resource model and Maslach’s burnout model, this exploratory study revealed 100% of participants had experienced an increase in job demands due to COVID-19 and had reported feelings of job-related stress. While this exploratory study had a limited sample of five educators, it is noteworthy that only two participants reported experiencing burnout over the last three years; however, generalization cannot be determined due to the small sample size. Further research examining the relationship between the increase in job demands since the start of COVID-19 and special education teacher job-related stress could reveal increased levels of burnout and a wider variety of resources that could be duplicated to mitigate burnout and stress.
Becker, A. (2023). An Exploratory Qualitative Study On The Lived Experiences of Special Education Teachers’ Perceived Burnout In a Midwestern Public School District Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic [Doctoral dissertation, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/1023