Eastside story : the perceived impact of the Canterbury earthquakes on teacher performance.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
It is reported that natural disasters such as earthquakes impact significantly upon survivors’ psychological wellbeing. Little is known however about the impact of disasters upon the professional performance of survivor employees such as teachers. Using a survey research design with an emphasis upon a qualitative data collection, 39 teachers from 6 schools in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch, New Zealand rated the impact of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes upon their professional performance and 13 volunteered to participate in a follow up focus group interviews. The data collected was interpreted via three theoretical/policy frameworks: the New Zealand Teacher Council mandatory requirements for teachers, the basic psychological needs theory and the inclusive transactional model of stress. Contrary to expectations, relationships with learners, colleagues, learner's whanau (family) and the wider community were on the whole perceived to be positively impacted by the earthquakes, while participation in professional development was regarded in more negative terms. The results indicated that teachers were able to continue (despite some stress reactions) because the basic psychological needs of being a teacher were not disrupted and indeed in some cases were enhanced. A model of teacher performance following a natural disaster is presented. Recommendations and implications (including future research undertakings) arising from the study are indicated. It was noted that given the importance of the school in supporting community recovery following a disaster, support for them and consideration of the role of teachers and the preparation for this should be given some priority.