Teacher stress, hope, and agency for the future - A narrative inquiry




Fowler, Margaret Sumner


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Teacher stress has long been a prevalent concern and research topic and was recently compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic has attracted considerable scholarly interest, few researchers have sought to understand the actual experiences of teachers framed by the teacher’s well-being and hopefulness. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of how teachers who taught during the COVID-19 pandemic narrate their experiences of hope and well-being. More specifically, the research aimed to explore how hope is reflected in three individuals’ stories from a challenging time, framed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in their professional teaching careers. This narrative inquiry provided three PK-12 teachers an avenue in which they could explore and reflect on their personal and professional lives while teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, these teachers were able to construct and visualize their goals, pathways, and agency for the future using a vision board. This study showcased how they activated hope during a highly stressful critical event in their profession and how it related to their well-being. The findings of this study were represented in a narrative form using a genre known as Bildungsroman. The Bildungsroman were used to highlight the evolution of the teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the teacher’s reflection of how they used hope to overcome obstacles to achieve their goals and their overall well-being through the pandemic. The intended audience for this research is educational leaders and mental health professionals working in the educational setting.


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.


educational leadership, hope, stress, teacher



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