Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
There is a lack of understanding of how teachers in Early Care and Education (ECE) work to overcome occupational stress and burnout. Many investigators have documented the stress and burnout that often result in high levels of attrition in ECE teachers. The purpose of this study was to determine to what degree a teacher's protective factors help in mitigating the experiences of stress and burnout often associated with working as a teacher in the field of ECE. Guided by Werner's theory of resilience, which highlights the importance of protective factors as a means of overcoming risk factors, the research questions examined strategies that help promote resilience and mitigate stress and burnout among preschool teachers. The methodology was a qualitative, case study research design. Data were collected via in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 16 ECE teachers and analyzed using thematic analysis, which identified 3 categories of protective factors: family supports, workplace supports, and positive individual characteristics. Additionally, the study revealed that teachers did utilize particular protective factor strategies to help mitigate risk, stress, and burnout, such as family and friends serving as a positive support system, faith, prayer, and belief in a higher being. A recommendation is that teachers participate in an eLearning course developed to introduce protective factors teachers can use to increase levels of resilience. Positive social change may result from this study because it advocates for the support, promotion, and attention to the mental health and well-being of teachers in ECE. This eLearning course will promote teacher well-being, which can have a direct positive impact on the care of young children and the effective facilitation of curriculum and instructions within school systems.