Transforming School Culture – Chapter 5 Resources – The Survivors

This is a series of posts on Transforming School Culture by Anthony Muhammad – On Audible and on Amazon. More from Dr. Muhammad on Twitter and on his website.

In this book, Dr. Anthony Muhammad shares his research on four categories of teachers found in schools. In Chapter 5, he discusses “Survivors”. Survivors are the teachers (few in number) who are burned out. Below are some further resources on some of the key points found in the chapter. Even if this book is not on your reading list, the resources are valuable tools in helping others take an inclusive stance, where ALL children are capable and competent. What other resources can you share on these topics?

I don’t think anyone will argue that teaching is a challenging profession (at least nobody who has actually tried it). It can lead to burnout – as state of being where just getting through the day is the priority. Anthony Muhammad refers to teachers in this state (2% of his study) as “The Survivors”.

Putting unprepared and/or new teachers into the most difficult assignments is a recipe for burnout. These “difficult assignments” often include teaching children and young adults who are “school dependent”.

Page 71, Transforming School Culture by Anthony Muhammad

Have you seen “Survivors” in your practice? Here are some of the characteristics attributed to them in Chapter 5:

  • given up on learning effective practice
  • no hope of improvement
  • bargaining with students to leave them alone
  • absence of good professional practice (busy work, granting of free time as a reward for cooperation)
  • not well-respected by peers

Survivors need help, not ridicule. “Leaving Survivors in the conditions that caused their breakdown can only make matters worse” (p. 74)

Unfortunately, having a Survivor as a classroom teacher can have a devastating effect on the chances a child will receive a quality education.

This classic study is referenced in Chapter 5:

Since 1996, research has repeatedly shown the importance of the quality of classroom instruction on the learning outcomes for students.

Teacher effectiveness is the critical factor in determining student outcomes.

There have been many further studies on the impact of teacher burnout on student learning. In this example, the mechanisms by which teacher exhaustion and burnout impact student outcomes are explored.

Teachers’ Emotional Exhaustion Is Negatively Related to Students’ Achievement: Evidence from a Large-Scale Assessment StudyKlusmann, Uta; Richter, Dirk; Lüdtke, OliverJournal of Educational Psychology, v108 n8 p1193-1203 Nov 2016

What are some ways school divisions can help prevent teacher burnout and focus on educator wellness to promote better outcomes for all students?

Teachers’ Emotional Exhaustion Is Negatively Related to Students’ Achievement: Evidence From a Large-Scale Assessment Study
April 2016
Journal of Educational Psychology 108(8)

Featured image by @sseeker on Unsplash

Transforming School Culture

by Anthony Muhammad

Updated 2021-2022 Resources by Chapter.

Chapter 1: From Status Quo to True Reform

Chapter 2: The Framework of Modern School Culture

Chapter 3: The Believers

Chapter 4: The Tweeners (new teachers)

Chapter 5: The Survivors

Chapter 6: The Fundamentalists (Part 1: Who Are They?)

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