Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Molly Mee


Teacher candidate stress is a significant issue for candidates, students, mentor teachers, and the Institute of Higher Education (IHE) representatives who work with the candidates. Stress during this important stage in a new teacher’s career can be detrimental in many ways from causing early burnout (Greer & Greer, 1992; Schwab, 1989) to attrition (Brownell, 1997) and absenteeism. “It is during student teaching that preservice teachers begin to learn the habits of the profession and begin to develop adaptive or maladaptive coping skills for dealing with the stress of teaching” (Gold, 1985; Greer & Greer, 1992 as cited in Fives, Hamman, Olivarez, 2007, p. 918). Although the literature, especially within the past ten years, is scant there are scholars (Clement, 1999; Corcoran, 1989; Hemmings & Hockley, 2002; Hunter-Boykin & Thompson, 1993; Pigge & Marso, 1998; Schwab, 1989; Wadlington, Slaton & Partridge, 1998) who examined stress among teacher candidates during the field experience and find it to be a significant issue. There is agreement that stress levels are generally high during student teaching. In a seven-year study Pigge & Marso found that teacher candidate anxiety decreases as they progress through the teacher preparation program. This is further supported by Fives, Hamman & Olivarez who maintain that teacher candidates, who experience what the authors call high guidance as indicated by levels of support from the IHE, demonstrated lower levels of burnout at the end of their practicum than candidates with low guidance.


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