Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Higher Education Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jaclyn Rivard

Second Advisor

Dr. Judah Viola

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherri Bressman


Teacher burnout is increasingly problematic, especially for special education teachers who have a unique set of job responsibilities. Survey and interview data was used in this phenomenological study to examine how the educator preparation program (EPP) experience and self-authorship journey of early career special education teachers impact their potential to experience burnout. Data findings regarding level of self-perceived burnout, recollections of being or not being taught stress management and coping strategies in their EPPs, recollections of the self-authorship journey, and intentions for remaining in the career are shared in this dissertation. The essence of this phenomenon can be summed up as such: individuals are going into special education because of a passion, but many special education teachers are experiencing mental health symptoms because of their career and/or are experiencing some degree of self-perceived burnout. Fortunately, the results of this study can help EPPs improve pre-service teacher preparation with the aim of improving rates of mental health distress and teacher burnout.

Keywords: self-authorship, educator preparation program (EPP), wellbeing, teacher self-efficacy, burnout