Science teachers' sense of compassion fatigue throughout the school year following Hurricane Harvey

Date

2022-12

Authors

Crysup, Kathrine Anne

ORCID

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

DOI

Abstract

Natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast region of Texas on August 25, 2017, may have potentially devastating effects on the local community and especially the public education system. Adverse health consequences because of this traumatic event may include Compassion Fatigue, a condition of emotional, physical, and psychological exhaustion for caregivers resulting in a reduced capacity to care for others (Figley, 1995). The purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain a greater understanding of the difficulties six secondary science teachers experienced with maintaining a learner-centered classroom environment while coping with Compassion Fatigue during the 2017-2018 school year. Compassion Fatigue Theory was the substantive theoretical framework and Interpretivism served as the methodological framework for this qualitative case study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted after participants completed Stamm’s 2010 Professional Quality of Life Survey and a written reflection of their experiences that school year. Participants had little to no awareness of Compassion Fatigue Theory but recognized how their potential symptoms of Compassion Fatigue may have contributed to their reporting feelings of being overwhelmed, worn out, and not happy teaching that year. This study contributes to the research community by providing evidence secondary science teachers experienced Compassion Fatigue with little or no awareness of it, yet continued to teach seemingly traumatized students with compassion, empathy, and dignity despite experiencing personal hardships. Participants highlighted the importance of teaching hands-on science despite dramatically increased classroom sizes, lack of equipment and supplies, or the destruction of the schools’ laboratory classrooms in attempts to diminish loss of scientific literacy. Further research is necessary to address factors potentially increasing teachers Compassion Fatigue, prevention and treatment of symptoms.

Description

A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Keywords

Compassion Fatigue Theory, Hurricane Harvey, professional quality of life survey, secondary science teachers

Sponsorship

Rights:

This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with its source. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the author and/or publisher., This material is made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with its source. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the author and/or publisher.

Citation

Collections