UBC Graduate Research

Experiences of Stress Amongst Outdoor Learning and Indigenous Education Teacher Candidates Ho, Jenny Kar Yan


This study was conducted to learn about Teacher Candidates’ (TCs) experiences of stress at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Teacher Education Program in Vancouver. Teacher Candidates from two elementary cohorts (Outdoor Learning and Indigenous Education) completed two identical surveys in September and December 2020, which consisted of the Perceived Stress Scale and three open-ended questions. According to TCs’ Perceived Stress Scale scores, average stress levels did not change between September to December. However, countless stressors were reported. As a result of COVID-19, online learning emerged as the top stressor for Teacher Candidates in September and December. When questioned about stress management, TCs leaned on similar coping mechanisms between both data collection periods. Early on in September, TCs were hopeful they could overcome their stress. Unfortunately, the optimism faded away by December. In terms of TCs’ opinions on the stress associated with teaching, they were acutely aware the inevitable nature of stress. Furthermore, TCs were hyperaware of the negative consequences of prolonged stress to overall health. Emboldened, TCs were openly critical about the shift to online learning and how the university handled COVID-19 negatively affected stress levels. While this research demonstrated how personal management can mitigate some stress experienced in teacher education, a top-down approach is required for systemic change within teacher education programs.

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