Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Teachers--Job stress; Burn out (Psychology)--Prevention; Teacher turnover--Prevention;


Much is changing in K-12 education contexts, including an emphasis on performativity and accountability (Au, 2016; Connell, 2009). Against this backdrop, teacher burnout and attrition have been the focus of numerous studies, including examination of organizational structures and factors contributing to burnout (Buckley et al., 2005; Konu et al., 2010). Insufficient attention has been given to how teachers are able to navigate the demands of this profession (Matteucci et al., 2017; Wilcox & Lawson, 2018). Efforts to retain teachers should not only emphasize factors associated with burnout or attrition, but also how they are affected by the systems in place, including relationships, policies and educational structures (Bottrell, 2009; Johnson & Down, 2013; Wilcox & Lawson, 2018). This study utilized qualitative methods, adopting an ethnographic perspective, to explore the experiences of one team of K-12 teachers, and how they negotiate their educational context individually and collectively. Following the ethnographic tradition, extensive time was spent in the field virtually, gathering various forms of data including interviews, classroom observations, team meeting observations, participant reflective journals, and documents. Through this study, I explored the following questions: How do teachers negotiate the demands of their educational context? What tensions do teachers express between their practices and ideologies? How might a team of teachers maintain their well-being while navigating their educational context? Three themes were identified from the data - a sense of trust and vulnerability amongst educators seemed to serve as a foundation for action, advocacy begets advocacy, and educators were able to maintain positive well-being through challenging the doxa of their particular educational context. This research contributes to existing literature about how teachers are able to maintain a sense of overall well-being while navigating the demands of the education profession.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Sarah Vander Zanden, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 133 pages)



File Format