Exploring the emotional well-being of educators teaching learners with autism
The purpose of this research is to explore the perceptions of educators who teach learners with autism, on their own emotional well-being. The eight educators who participated were from special schools in KwaZulu-Natal. These schools cater for learners with autism and the participants work hands-on with learners with autism. The research design and methodology employed is qualitative in nature, and adopts the phenomenological approach, which incorporates focus group interviews, individual interviews, and lesson observations of some educators after the interviews. The following questions were asked at the interviews: 'Tell me about teaching learners with autism' and 'How does it influence your well-being?' The research methodology selected elicited rich responses that led to the emergence of three main themes namely: first, these themes are everyday challenges working with learners with autism, second, educators' perceptions of the support of other role players and third, the impact that teaching learners with autism has on the workplace wellness of the educator. Conclusion and recommendations are presented, as well as recommendations for future research. Drawing from the themes, a conclusion is made that teaching learners with autism is stressful, that educators need training and support to cope with the demands of autism, and to help manage workplace wellness.