In the past few decades, public school teachers have faced many challenges, including differentiated instruction to diverse students, increased classroom management, and standardized testing. The accumulation of these challenges has created high teacher attrition rates leading to teaching shortages. Understanding the barriers and useful supports to address the challenges teachers face can help lower attrition rates and enhance teaching quality. This study examines the workplace well-being of elementary school teachers whose students participated in a social and emotional learning program. The study included 16 elementary school teachers in schools with a large population of students who are particularly vulnerable to psychological distress and poor academic outcomes.

A two-part survey questionnaire assessing positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, accomplishment, negative emotion, and health was administered online to 16 teachers in two public schools whose students participated in the Socio and Emotional Learning (SEL) program for at least one academic semester. This study’s Workplace PERMA Profiler survey results indicated a median score of 8.06 for overall well-being from all 16 participants. According to the score interpretation chart created by the developers of the Workplace PERMA Profile, a score of 8.0-8.9 (1.1 to 3 for negative emotion) indicates high functioning and overall well-being. The results indicate that the participants achieved PERMA and possess a highly functional and above-average sense of well-being in the workplace. The results suggest that teachers whose students engaged in an SEL program for at least one academic semester reported that their well-being improved or remained the same. Teacher well-being is supported by student well-being and access to SEL resources, and teacher well-being is supported by a healthy workplace culture and self-care practice.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Primary school teaching; Social learning—Education, Primary; Well-being; Mindfulness (Psychology); Work environment; Public schools--Education, Primary

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Linda Purrington

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