School Violence and Teacher Resiliency at a Midwest Elementary/Middle School
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate, from the perspective of teachers, the possible effect of school violence on teacher resiliency. School violence has been studied with respect to student behavior and academic success, as well as socioeconomic influences, but not with respect to teacher resiliency, as expressed by teachers themselves. Resiliency theory was the conceptual framework. Participants were all teachers of Grades 2-8 at an elementary/middle school in the Midwest. Twelve in-depth interviews were transcribed into text data and analyzed for common themes. Using NVivo, Version 10, I was able to more easily manage the volumes of text data. Reoccurring themes and meanings were triangulated with a resiliency questionnaire, school climate surveys, and field notes. The overarching themes that emerged were that teacher resiliency at the target school was lowered when its teachers were exposed to a school climate which allowed for excessive violence, especially fights. A second overarching theme was that there were inconsistencies in the support offered by the school administration, which negatively impacted teacher resiliency. A third overarching theme was that there was a significant lack of parental and community support, which also negatively affected teacher resiliency at the target school. Overarching themes that emerged can now be used to support the need for more effective teacher training about school violence. The outcomes may also help generate improved school violence policies at the local, state, and national levels.