Date of Award

12-18-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Chara H. Bohan

Second Advisor

Joseph Feinberg

Third Advisor

Jackie Lund

Fourth Advisor

Cynthia Schafer

Abstract

Social studies teachers are frequently athletic coaches, yet little educational research attends to the experiences of social studies teacher-coaches (SSTCs). Research in role conflict theory, however, suggests that TCs, those who occupy dual professional roles of academic teacher and athletic coach simultaneously, often face increased levels of stress, which can lead to role strain, burnout and/or role retreatism. Through a multiple-case study of three football SSTCs in a large, metropolitan county in the Southeastern United States, the researcher explored participants’ experiences over the course of the 2013-2014 school year. Conducting a series of interviews with each participant, the researcher investigated how balancing dual roles affected SSTCs personally and professionally, and ways in which they combated role conflict. The researcher triangulated interview data with relevant documents and participants’ responses to the Maslach Burnout Inventory Educators’ Survey (MBI-ES). Throughout the research process, the investigator utilized constant comparative analysis and cross-case synthesis to provide a rich, thorough account of both the unique and shared experiences of selected SSTCs. Results indicated that the role of SSTC is complex, replete with both benefits and challenges. SSTCs accentuated four types of teacher-coach role satisfaction (TCRS): personal fulfillment TCRS, relationship TCRS, status TCRS, and skill enhancement TCRS. Despite these benefits, participants battled moderate to high levels of role conflict (RC). While eight types of RC emerged, each participant indicated the highest levels of role overload and work-family role conflict. In spite of RC, each SSTC indicated low levels of burnout on the MBI-ES. Participants contended that contextual factors such as community support and individual coping mechanisms allowed them to avoid high levels of burnout despite RC. Findings suggested that for SSTCs to successfully balance dual professional roles, certain administrative accommodations might be necessary. Furthermore, participants proposed that mentors, organizational strategies, and personal releases helped alleviate stress and enhance their performance in each role. While the current study provided a solid foundation for research on SSTCs, further investigation is needed to determine how to better support SSTCs in order to positively impact their students and athletes.

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