Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Janet M. Alsup

Committee Chair

Janet M. Alsup

Committee Member 1

Tara S. Johnson

Committee Member 2

Christian Knoeller


This study originally intended to explore the various effects of burnout – defined by the researcher as the steady decline of joy and increase of stress associated with teaching – on secondary school teachers. Using narrative inquiry, the researcher’s story and that of three other male eighth grade junior high school teachers close to him shaped the core of the study. Students the researcher taught in a first year undergraduate course exploring teaching as a career were also surveyed to look for any possible link between preservice teacher enthusiasm and the harsh realities of teaching. A question addressed was if preservice teachers were prepared enough. What emerged became less about the effects of burnout and more about the unique exploration of the joys and stresses associated with teaching among the researcher and three educators close to him at a time when the current critical eye on education has led to diminished numbers in teacher education programs, including the undergraduate program of the surveyed preservice teachers in which the researcher was an instructor.

Narrative inquiry allowed the teachers to recall their experiences in education and provide a framework for study. Teachers were initially surveyed and then subsequently interviewed. Follow up interviews took place after the researcher compiled the opening interviews. Preservice teachers completed a one-time voluntary survey at the conclusion of their teacher preparation course taught by the researcher. Common threads emerged among the stories, and while all have followed their own paths, the lived experience of their joys and stresses highlight the reality of teaching and at times mirror the hopes and fears of preservice teachers. Some of the more challenging components of teaching, such as classroom management and excess hours spent working outside of the classroom, as described by the teachers interviewed were not as concerning to the preservice teachers surveyed. Underestimation of such challenges by either preservice teachers or their teacher education instructors could be a contributing cause of teacher attrition, and further research in this area is needed to draw more concrete conclusions. This narrative study serves as a teaching guide through experience and commentary on the realities of teaching junior high school in a diverse school corporation located near a major university in Indiana.