Master of Arts
Teachers play an integral role in the lives and development of the students they teach. Many students are exposed to trauma and can experience mental health problems that can show up in the classroom context, making the school a natural environment for detection and response of these concerns. Unfortunately, the lack of appropriate teacher education on supporting students of diverse mental health needs can leave them feeling helpless and ill-equipped. In this current study, 236 teacher candidates enrolled in an online mental health course completed a survey examining their self-efficacy, well-being, and vicarious trauma. Correlation results indicated significant associations between the factors, with the exception of vicarious trauma with workload well-being and efficacy for managing disruptive behaviour. Overall, results suggested that higher well-being was positively associated with self-efficacy and the acknowledgement and coping of vicarious trauma. Implications for school mental health and teacher education are discussed along with consideration of future research.
Summary for Lay Audience
Teachers play an integral role in the lives and development of the students they teach. Many students are exposed to trauma and can experience mental health problems that can show up in the classroom context, making the school a natural environment for the detection and pathway to early intervention of these concerns in both children and adolescents. Unfortunately, the lack of appropriate teacher education on supporting students of diverse mental health needs can leave them feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and ill-equipped. They may also experience the impact of vicarious trauma, which can be defined as the negative outcomes (such as stress, intrusive thoughts, worrying) from direct contact with individuals who have experienced trauma (Nimmo & Huggard, 2013). Previous studies have examined this stress response in other professions, such as counsellors and social workers, but little research has been done on teachers. In seeking to develop a system that supports both teachers and students, examining teacher wellness is key. In this study, teacher candidates enrolled in a mental health literacy course at a large Canadian university completed a survey examining their self-efficacy for inclusive teaching practices (TEIP; Sharma, Loreman & Forlin, 2011) well-being as it relates to their work (TWBS; Collie et al., 2015), and vicarious trauma (ARTIC-35; Baker et al., 2015). Results indicated that those participants who rated themselves higher on well-being also tended to have higher ratings of self-efficacy and an appreciation of the impact of vicarious trauma with coping through support seeking. This demonstrated the importance of education and support in the well-being of teachers. When we ensure they feel equipped with skills and knowledge and have space for connection, they have the resources to better support themselves, students, and their community.
Yeo, Bernadette, "Caring for Teachers: Exploring Pre-Service Teacher Well-Being, Self-Efficacy, and Vicarious Trauma" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7742.