Student Author(s)

Kelsey Corey, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jane Finn, Education

Document Type


Event Date



Compassion fatigue is a new area of tension developing in education. Teachers showing compassion fatigue seem to care “too much” for their students. A recent survey through Research and Development and the American Teaching Panel found that three out of four teachers (75%) found their work to be frequently stressful (Steiner and Woo, 2021). When does compassion fatigue start, and can it be avoided for those in the teaching profession? Do individuals who are learning how to become teachers experience compassion fatigue during their university years when they participate in field placements with this hands-on preparation? I was interested in studying if pre-service special education teachers showed compassion fatigue during their third year in the teacher preparation program. For this research, the Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL) was given. The ProQOL is a 30 item self-report questionnaire using a Likert scale ranging from “never,” “rarely,” “sometimes,” “often,” or “very often.” Fourteen pre-service teachers were asked to answer the ProQOL questions based on the previous 30 days in their field placements and respond to each statement with how frequently they have experienced each statement. Results show that the pre-service teachers’ highest satisfaction levels are with their ability to make a change with students in terms of academic or behavioral areas during their field placement work. However, some responses show that these pre-service teachers already feel worn out from their work as helpers and instructors for students with exceptionalities. The results of this current study can help guide future research on pre-service teachers and compassion fatigue and what teacher preparation institutions can do to help prepare future teachers for this challenging field.

Included in

Education Commons