University of Macedonia (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 473-479
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0199
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Professional quality of life constitutes a concept that focuses on the effect that daily work life has on employees, their social relationships, their work performance and on various aspects of their social behavior. Particular attention has been paid, in international literature, to job satisfaction, occupational stress and job burnout, which are the basic components of the professional quality of life. In the field of education and more specifically on special education, special educators and support staff (paraprofessionals) constitute a crucial part of many scientific studies, as they experience great amount of occupational stress and job burnout (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001∙ Stempien & Loeb, 2002). Aim of the present study is to examine the professional quality of life of special educators and paraprofessionals, considering a number of factors such as age, gender, education level, working experience e.t.c. The Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL), 5th edition, (Stamm, 2009) was used as the scientific instrument in the particular study. The questionnaire consists of two parts. The first part consists of 10 questions which refer to the demographic characteristics of the participants. The second part of the questionnaire consists of 30 questions which explore job satisfaction, secondary traumatic stress and job burnout. The participants of the study were 421 special educators and paraprofessionals, age 21-60, 333 of which were working on primary education and 88 on secondary. The results have shown that employees in special education, experience high level of job satisfaction but at the same time significant level of burnout and negative feelings on the workplace. Secondary traumatic stress is also a crucial element of ProQoL, however participants seem to experience low levels. Moreover some other variables that indicate a correlation with ProQoL, is gender, years of work experience, type of disability. This research study shows the necessity of further investigation in a bigger sample and points out also the need for an evidence based practice that will improve the PQoL of employees in special education. Moreover some professions, including teachers, require decisions that affect the health or quality of life of others (Fontana, 1996). These professions are considered as more stressful than others. Teaching, therefore, is seen as a high-stressing profession.
Professional quality of life, special education, job satisfaction, job burnout, secondary traumatic stress.