Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 399-420

First online:

Resilient teachers: resisting stress and burnout

  • Sue HowardAffiliated withUniversity of South Australia Email author 
  • , Bruce JohnsonAffiliated withUniversity of South Australia

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


In Australia, the incidence of teacher stress and burnout has caused serious concern. Many studies of teacher stress have focused on the dysfunctional strategies of individual teachers – in other words they have adopted a deficit approach to the problem with the focus firmly fixed on ‘what’s going wrong’. From this perspective, the failure of some teachers to cope has generally been defined as a personal rather than an institutional weakness and the solutions that have been promoted have been largely palliative or therapeutic. The study reported in this paper adopted a different approach to the question of teacher stress and burnout. Instead of asking ‘what’s going wrong’ we asked why are some teachers able to cope successfully with the same kinds of stressors that appear to defeat others – in other words, we looked at ‘what’s going right’.