University of Oulu

The “not yet being” of education : how hope inspires teaching practice of elementary teachers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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Author: Kapitzke, Melissa1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Pages: 84
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Kapitzke, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-18
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Paradis, Audrey
Reviewer: Paradis, Audrey


Hope is a complex concept that is often used simply in common vernacular. It can be understood as positive anticipation for the future and its power can be experienced when we feel despair or discouragement. Currently, despair and discouragement have become a lived reality for many teachers, evidenced by high teacher burnout rates. Teacher burnout is a topic that many popular publications offer opinion or rhetoric on; however, there is little to be seen as an adequate response to the phenomenon. As such, now would be a time to investigate hope. The research presented in this thesis explored the way hope inspires elementary teachers in their practice with an aim to offer suggestions and solutions to the teacher burnout problem.

Eleven elementary teachers working in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, were interviewed in the course of this study about the role that hope plays in their professional work. The research presented in this thesis takes a qualitative approach and used thematic analysis to interpret the data represented by interview transcripts. Three themes were determined: Hope for Connection explores relationships and community, Hope for Growth describes development and maturation, and Hope for Engagement illustrates action taken to influence the future towards a desired outcome. The distinctiveness of each theme is explored, as well as their interconnectedness. The researcher used the themes determined through the analysis to formulate an answer to the research question “How does hope inspire the professional practice of elementary teachers?”. Responses from participants indicate that the hopes represented in the themes informed and motivated many practical decisions teachers made in their practice, such as classroom management, lesson planning, and assessment. The experiences of hope expressed by teachers in relation to their work with students could often be connected to possible mitigation of burnout factors. Additionally, the hopes for Connection, Growth and Engagement teachers expressed for students were also hopes they expressed for themselves personally. An unexpected outcome of conversations with participants was the expression of how uncomfortable and strange it was for them to reflect and discuss the concept of hope so extensively.

The unfamiliarity of discussing hope, as well as the obstacles teachers shared with regards to experiencing hope, could indicate deficiencies in ensuring hope for Connection, Growth and Engagement are present for teachers. The possible gaps in actualizing hopes for teachers provide a starting point to determine solutions to the teacher burnout problem. As teachers use their hopes for students to inform the decisions of their practice, educational stakeholders should consider hopes for teachers to plan and inform decisions that design a hope-fostering culture in education as a means to decrease teacher burnout.

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Copyright information: © Melissa Kapitzke, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.