Academic journal article International Management Review

Teacher Burnout: A Quantitative Analysis of Emotional Exhaustion, Personal Accomplishment, and Depersonalization

Academic journal article International Management Review

Teacher Burnout: A Quantitative Analysis of Emotional Exhaustion, Personal Accomplishment, and Depersonalization

Article excerpt


Teacher burnout is a chronic phenomenon that continues to be a main cause of teacher exodus in the 21st century. Burnout is a precursor to teacher attrition (Lavian, 2012). Teaching is an emotionally draining and physically exhausting profession that causes many teachers to look for other occupations (Riggs, 2013). In addition, teachers who fail to handle burnout effectively are likely to experience poor quality student interaction, counterproductive instruction, increased absenteeism, which eventually leads to teacher attrition (Suh, 2015). Teacher turnover (30%) is higher than for other professionals, such as pharmacist (14%), engineers (16%), nurses (19%), lawyers (19%), architects (23%), and police (28%) (Ingersoll & Perda, 2014; Riggs, 2013).

In the United States, for the 2004-2005 school year, teacher attrition for first year teachers was 12.3%. Beginning-year math teacher attrition rates increased to 14.5%; science teacher attrition was the highest with 18.2% (Ingersoll, Merrill, & May, 2012). Moreover, 24.6% of teachers with little or no traditional teaching preparation left the teaching profession. The attrition percentage rate was lowest (9.8%) for teachers who earned their degree through the traditional comprehensive pedagogy (Ingersoll et al., 2012), which could be an indicator of traditional pedagogy preparing educators for their job requirements.

Within the first five years of novice teachers starting their professional paths in education, 50% or approximately half a million educators move to another school district or leave the education profession all together (Alliance for Excellent, 2014; Neason, 2014; Phillips, 2015; Riggs, 2013; Times and Democrat, 2014). According to Riggs (2013), 40% of undergraduate students who were once education majors change their majors before graduating. For those teachers who made it through education pedagogy and entered the profession, 9.5% of them left the classroom before the end of the first school year (Riggs, 2013).

Teaching is a disempowering profession (Riggs, 2013). The cornerstone ofteachers' frustrations comes from not having a voice in decisions within the environment, which reflects on their classroom instruction. A strong correlation exists between teachers' abilities to make decisions and staying or leaving the profession (Phillips, 2015). In the 2012-2013 school year, 57.4% of teachers who left the profession said they found more autonomy and control in their current jobs. In addition, 52.2% of teachers who took another career path said they found higher professional prestige. The highest findings with 60.8% of teachers leaving the education profession said they found more of a balance between professional and personal life (U.S. Department of Education, 2014), which suggests that other occupations do not have job requirements outside of the work environment.

Between 2010 and 2020, the demand for kindergarten through 12th grade teachers was projected to increase by 17% for kindergarten through eighth grade teachers and 7% for high schoolteachers (Staklis & Henke, 2013). The increase of teacher demand will be hard for low-income school districts that struggle to recruit and retain qualified teachers, especially in mathematics and science (Staklis & Henke, 2013). Teacher exodus or relocating to another school district can cost impecunious schools a substantial amount of their budget. Losing teachers can cost individual schools a range of $4,366 (New Mexico) to $17,872 (Chicago) (Frahm, 2014). Teacher attrition can cost school districts up to $2.2 billion a year (Alliance for Excellent, 2014; Phillips, 2015: Rizga, 2015). The estimated cost of teacher attrition nationwide has been as high as $7.3 billion a year (Kain, 2011; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future [NCTAF], 2007).

After understanding the magnitude and the monetary burden of teacher attrition, it is important to focus on methods to address this persistent phenomenon. …

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