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Mindfulness and Teachers’ Coping in the Classroom: A Developmental Model of Teacher Stress, Coping, and Everyday Resilience

  • Ellen SkinnerEmail author
  • Jeffry Beers
Chapter
Part of the Mindfulness in Behavioral Health book series (MIBH)

Abstract

Teaching is a demanding profession, with the potential to provide high levels of satisfaction. However, research shows that it can also be stressful: Teachers report multiple sources of chronic stress (including workload, students, parents, and administrators) and symptoms of burnout, such as emotional exhaustion, helplessness, and cynicism; rates of desistence often top 30 %. Studies of teachers’ everyday coping indicate that adaptive coping may provide a buffer and maladaptive coping a risk factor as teachers negotiate these stressors. In fact, developmental models suggest that constructive coping has the potential to transform previously stressful interactions into opportunities for learning and development, contributing to higher quality engagement in teaching, greater satisfaction, and well-being. This chapter explores the promise of mindfulness practices and interventions to aid teachers in developing personal resources that would help them cope more constructively, and thereby provide a pathway toward everyday resilience. First, we present a developmental model depicting the kinds of constructive coping that can promote teacher engagement and learning. Second, we identify multiple points in the process of coping where mindfulness could make an important difference, focusing especially on the mechanisms through which mindfulness could have its salutary effects. We conclude with suggestions for how mindful coping might change students’ experiences in the classroom, since better coping may improve educators’ engagement in teaching and the quality of their relationships with students and classroom management. We hope that the developmental model might provide a framework useful for guiding future studies on mindfulness and teachers’ everyday coping and resilience.

Keywords

Teacher mindfulness Stress Burnout Coping Resilience Protective and risk factors Teacher engagement Motivation Educator satisfaction 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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