It has been hypothesized that negative emotions, left unresolved, contribute to feelings of burnout experienced by teachers. Self-compassion offers a kind, mindful way of approaching difficult emotions. The purpose of this study is to explore how teachers experience self-compassion by qualitative means. In semi-structured interviews, four elementary school teachers shared critical incidents of self-doubt or disappointment in their teaching. They also completed Neff's (2003a) Self Compassion Survey. Through intra-case and cross case analysis the findings revealed how teachers' lived experiences include episodes of conflict, reflection, resolution, and self-compassion, but in differing orders. Also, participants experienced self-compassion in ways that align with previous work on self-compassion, however an additional element of support seeking emerged. This study provided a context to understand the common ways in which self-compassion was lived out in the classroom while highlighting the differences in participants' experiences. This additional insight into the lived experience of the teachers adds to the body of knowledge regarding emotionality in the classroom and positive ways that teachers can and do regulate emotion through self-compassion. Additionally, participants' drive to seek support from others exposed a social side of self-compassion that Neff's (2003a) definition or a simple dictionary definition did not include.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Freeman, Stacey, "Emotions in Teaching: Self-Compassion" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 6399.
self-compassion, emotion regulation, teacher burnout