In the past, resilience has been used as the main predictor for educator burnout – but not anymore. Our studies have shown that measuring individual and collective Hope levels is more accurate at predicting educator burnout.

Hope vs. Resilience

If Resilience and Hope are used as measurements, we need to understand their definitions and see how they differ.

Our Definition of Hope: the belief that tomorrow will be better than today, and that you have the power to make it so.

The Definition of Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

Already, we have a vastly different quality of life from these two definitions. While Hope provides a positive outlook on the future and a path for accomplishing that betterment, resilience simply states that recovery is possible if one has the capacity. Thus, resilience is only for those who already have a high capacity for it. We know that hardship reduces one’s ability to deal with stress and adversity without the proper strategies. Without Hope. So why would we lean on resilience as a predictor of burnout when it can diminish so quickly?

The Problem with Resilience

There is still something admirable in dealing well with crisis and returning relatively quickly to a pre-crisis state, like a rubber band. But, the more times rubber bands are stretched and returned to their pre-stretch state, the more likely that band will become less resilient over time and less likely to return to its ‘before’ condition. One teacher’s resilience today may be very different next year or even next month, and that difference will usually decline.

Resilience focuses on moving backward, to dealing with times of crisis so that we can return to our pre-crisis state. Moving backward doesn’t help anyone, especially if their pre-crisis state does not buffer from incoming crisis.

Not only is resilience likely to decline over time, but it puts an emphasis on trying to maintain a pattern, not change and improve it. We often discuss how creating new, healthier patterns through Hope work changes children’s lives, but what about teachers’ lives?

The Benefit of Hope

When you experience a crisis, Hope offers a way to improve your post-crisis circumstances. Resilience only sends you back to your pre-crisis circumstances.

Hope moves us forward. We have the power to make our tomorrow better than today, and certainly better than the yesterday resilience seems so fond of. Unlike resilience, Hope is more likely to stay steady or grow over time so if a teacher has measured hope levels, it is far easier to predict their risk for burnout.

The less Hope a teacher has, the more likely they will burn out. Even if a teacher starts as being highly resilient, that may not last. Our studies found that Hope acts as a buffer to crisis and adversity while resilience is only a way to hold out through the stress while still experiencing it full force, making the measurement less reliable over time.

Steadily improving one’s own circumstances builds upon itself. The longer a teacher has Hope, the more they will gain because it builds up, unlike resilience which takes away from itself. Over time, this makes Hope a much more reliable predictor.

Hope Reduces Turnover

The biggest indicator of teacher burnout is individual Hope, but the most significant school turnover predictor is collective Hope. If teachers have a hope community built in their school and feel collectively hopeful and supported by their school, they are far less likely to burn out. Reduced educator burnout also reduces staff turnover, creating a better place to work and learn.

Building a Hope Community Starts with You

Teachers, counselors, and school staff create Hope communities in their schools. My Best Me helps students with individual hope and helps teachers and schools with collective hope communities.

At Hope Rising SEL, we care about your students, and we care about you, too. Never forget, Hope is for everyone, and it starts with you.


Hope Rising SEL’s definition of Hope is making a difference in many schools and communities across the country.

If your school isn’t using My Best Me yet, we would love to help you bring Hope to your school. Our sales team is ready to answer your questions and demo My Best Me for you. Contact us to start spreading Hope in your school.