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Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Abstract

Isolation, organisational pressures, and role-related distress, can result in teachers, particularly early career teachers (ECTs), experiencing greater risk of burnout. For many ECTs, a lack of practical strategies for dealing with these conditions contributes to this. Using self-study methodology, this research unpacks why ECTs experience burnout, identifies adaptive strategies that experienced teachers use, and discusses the applicability of these practices for ECTs. Conversations between an ECT and three experienced teachers provided alternate lenses to apply reflective unpacking of adaptive strategies. The findings illustrate how the risk of burnout for ECTs is increased by challenging student behaviour, isolation, a lack of collegiality and engagement with professional networks, and being overloaded with responsibilities. The findings also suggest that being overworked is less of a contributing factor to burnout than feeling disconnected from one’s school, peers, and community. Adaptive strategies for alleviating the effects of burnout were explored and recommendations for practice presented.

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