Kristen Michelle Brashear, Psy.D., is a 2020 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle

Dissertation Committee

Dana Waters, PsyD, ABPP, Chairperson

Mark Russell, PhD, ABPP, Committee Member

Anne Blanchard, PhD, Committee Member


problematic behavior, teachers experience, educational system, phenomenological study, teaching, K-12, classroom management, behavior problems, teacher child relationship, teacher parent relationship, teacher efficacy, teacher support

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Publication Date



This dissertation was conducted to discover how teachers of elementary and middle school-aged children experience the phenomenon of problematic behavior in their classrooms and the support they receive from the educational system in this regard. The literature review revealed that there is a dearth of research using a purely qualitative approach to exploring the experience of teachers in this area. The idea that teachers are rarely asked how they experience problematic behavior and support was evident in the findings of this study. I conducted this study using a phenomenological approach to interview six teachers from three states. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed to find themes and codes to help elucidate the experience of the teachers that were interviewed. This study revealed that teachers find the relationships they build with students, parents, and administrators to be among the most important factors leading to how they experience a child’s behavior. The behavior alone is a small part of the larger context of the child. It is the educational system and the context of the child that mitigate how teachers experience feelings of efficacy surrounding their careers. The relationships teachers experience with each other were shown to be the most helpful in providing information and support in two ways. First, teachers learned how best to manage a classroom from other experienced teachers. Second, teachers relied heavily on each other for emotional support and understanding how to cope with the stress that comes with most aspects of problematic behavior. Feelings of efficacy and job satisfaction were experienced when a teacher was able to witness the success of their students in later stages of the student’s education. Overall teachers felt a sense of marginalization and a lack of support and agency when interacting with the educational system. The idea of marginalization and lack of support and agency was discussed in regard to how it is reflected in the political atmosphere of the current times. This dissertation and further research using the expertise of teachers could help shape effective policy and program generation in the future. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, and Ohio Link ETD Center,


ORCID: 0000-0001-5470-9697