Date of Award

9-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Maureen Goldstein

Second Advisor

Cynthia Andreas

Third Advisor

Robert E. Seifer

Abstract

Teaching is far more stressful and challenging than ever before, and teacher burnout has an alarming effect on teaching quality, student achievement, school climate, and teacher's intention to leave. In Taiwan, the percentage of kindergarten teacher turnover is even higher, about 65% (National Policy Foundation, 2002). Battling teacher burnout and intention to leave are the most critical issues in a school system.

The general purpose of this quantitative, non-experimental comparative(exploratory) and correlation (explanatory) study is to examine the relationships between level of stress, burnout, self-efficacy and intention to leave among the kindergarten teachers in Taiwan. The sample consisted of the total target population of 1,599 teachers of schools with kindergarten in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. The post mailed survey obtained teachers' perceptions of job stress, self-efficacy, burnout, and intention to leave. The survey was translated into Traditional Chinese.

Independent t-tests and ANOVA with post hoc comparisons were used to answer the exploratory (comparative) research questions. Multiple regression analyses, simple regression analyses, mediated multiple regression analyses were used to test the explanatory hypotheses.

Findings indicated that Taiwanese kindergarten teachers' demographic characteristics (gender, marital status, age, educational level, and religious category), work profiles (working hours, salary satisfactory, total years of teaching experience), job stress, and self-efficacy, showed significant differences on the levels of burnout (Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment). Another finding suggested that levels of burnout were significant contributors to the intention to leave. In addition, there was an inverse relationship between job stress and self-efficacy.

The empowerment training for teaching should not only focus on theoretical preparation, but also pay much attention on individual's personality characteristics, included mental and physical factors. Moreover, the school systems should focus on strengthening teachers' self-efficacy. Let teachers participate in the decision making about school goals and structure; supply constant professional consultation and support; and go through informative feedback and regular evaluation sessions.

Likewise, school systems should try to create stress-free working conditions and eliminate as much stress as possible. Then teachers would not doubt their capability and cope with the challenge of obstacles and failure. Overall, teachers will build a sustainable competitive advantage, and gain superior performance for future education.

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