Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Kenneth Stevenson


Forty-six percent of the nation’s teachers are expected to leave the profession by

their fifth year in the classroom. This alarming statistic has grabbed the attention of federal, state, and local leaders. In South Carolina alone, 28,500 teachers left the profession in the last five years, or an average of 5,700 per year. This translates to a turnover rate of approximately 10.1 % for the state. The attrition rate for Palmetto School District (a pseudonym given to one of the largest districts in the state and the subject of this study) was 16.4%.

The purpose of this study was to conduct a follow-up examination of Holloman’s (1998) study of first-year teachers’ self-reported burnout levels and their relationships to the following factors: personal variables, school variables, and variables related to first- year status. This mixed-methods study also examines for the first time the possible stressors that may be associated with the teacher’s South Carolina school report card grade.

The participants for the quantitative phase of the study were first-year teachers in Palmetto School District (pseudonym). 169 first-year teachers were invited to participate in an online survey that contained a demographic questionnaire and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. 101 first-year teachers responded. Statistically significant differences in levels of burnout were found in three areas: school type (urban, suburban, or rural), mentor relationship, and instructional responsibilities.

Participants of the qualitative phase were six first-year teachers who were interviewed four times throughout the school year. First-year teachers’ burnout levels are impacted by a variety of school and nonschool stressors. Teachers experience various levels of stress or support from their personal motivation to enter the profession, their school’s administration, their school’s colleagues, their students or parents, their school’s report card status and many non-school stressors. The teachers reported many strategies for coping with stress.


© 2010, Daniel J. Ilagan