Teacher Burnout in the Public Schools
Structural Causes and Consequences for Children
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This unique study is the first large-scale sociological analysis of teacher burnout, linking it with alienation, commitment, and turnover in the educational profession. In the process of doing so, Anthony Gary Dworkin uncovers some startling trends that challenge previous assumptions held by public school administrators.
Urban public school districts spend up to several million dollars annually on programs intended to rekindle enthusiasm among their teachers, hoping thereby to reduce the turnover rates. They also assume that enthusiastic teachers will heighten student achievement. Yet data presented in Teacher Burnout in the Public Schools challenge these suppositions.
Dworkin's research shows teacher entrapment, rather than teacher turnover, as the greater problem in education today. Teachers are now more likely to spend their entire working lifetime disliking their careers (and sometimes their students), rather than quitting their jobs, and Dworkin proposes that principals, more than any other school personnel, can do much to break the functional linkage between school-related stress and teacher burnout. The author's findings also indicate that burned-out teachers pose a minimal threat to the achievement of most children, but that they do have an adverse impact on brighter students.
Teacher Burnout in the Public Schools includes an inventory of supported propositions and three levels of policy recommendations. These important policy recommendations suggest substantial organizational changes in the nature of the training of public school teachers in the college educational curriculum, in the teacher employment and deployment practices of school districts, as well as in the administrative style of school principals.
Anthony Gary Dworkin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Houston -- University Park. His previous books include The Blending of Races (with Noel P. Gist), two volumes of The Minority Report (with Rosalind J. Dworkin), The Female Revolt (with Janet S. Chafetz), and When Teachers Give Up. He is also editor of the SUNY Press series on "The New Inequalities", which examines the emergence of new hierarchies and inequalities created in the post-industrial social order.