Sotardi, Valerie A. (2018, April). Bumps in the road: Exploring teachers’ perceptions of student stress and coping. The Teacher Educator, 53(2), 208-228. (doi: 10.1080/08878730.2017.1422826) (Link:

Abstract: Among the most visible advocates for children is the elementary school teacher, who plays a crucial role in helping students identify and cope adaptively with stress. For teachers to perform this role successfully, there must be greater understanding of their perceptions of student stress, coping, and teacher-guided approaches for support. Using a social constructivist paradigm, this study explored the perspectives of eight teachers (grades 3-5) from two schools in the southwestern United States. By integrating phenomenology (qualitative) with a modified Q-sort design (quantitative), results show the influences of high-stakes testing and peer conflict as widely discussed in the eyes of teachers. Although experienced teachers appeared confident in their abilities to communicate with children about stress and to generate recommendations for improved day-to-day classroom practice, they also appeared frustrated by the systemic pressures which they perceived as negatively affecting young people. The identified stressors, methods of coping, and recommendations can be used by teachers and other educational practitioners (such as school psychologists and counselors) to facilitate dialogue around children’s wellbeing for their school and community.

Valerie A Sotardi <> is in the School of Educational Studies and Leadership, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ.