Managing the emotional aspects of compassion fatigue among teachers in Israel: a qualitative study

Levkovich Inbar, Shinan Altman Shiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Teachers interact with schoolchildren on a daily basis. Hence, they are likely to be the first to recognise a child’s problem and the first to extend help. Yet showing concern and providing help to schoolchildren with complex needs can be stressful, making teachers vulnerable to compassion fatigue in that they become over-involved and begin to identify with the suffering and distress of those they are trying to help. To date, very little research has focused on the impact of compassion fatigue among teachers. The present study adopted a qualitative approach, using in-depth semi-structured interviews to evaluate perceived compassion fatigue among 42 teachers. Three main themes emerged from the interviews: a) ‘The burden is too heavy for me to bear’: Stress symptoms as perceived by the teachers; b) ‘Each new incident shocks me, causing me to relive my own trauma’: Stress triggers; and c) ‘Small gestures bring me satisfaction’: Positive aspects of teachers’ compassionate work. The study reveals teachers’ feelings of stress and burnout at work, the significant impact of secondary trauma on their lives and the need for a formal support system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-575
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 International Review of Finance Ltd.


  • Teachers
  • burnout
  • compassion fatigue
  • secondary trauma


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