Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Allan Feldman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca West Burns, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D.


first-year teacher, science, secondary, experience, challenge, stress, bureaucracy, case study, multiple case study, qualitative


A variety of lenses were used to examine the world of the novice science teacher. A degree of agency was provided by looking through the eyes of the beginning teacher. Previous studies focused on researcher or program’s orientation, the successes of various educator preparation programs, or were limited in scope to elementary teachers of science. This study was conducted to better understand and appreciate the high school novice science teacher’s view of science, teaching, and teaching science in the today’s contextual setting. Experiences encountered during the initial year of teaching high school science and as perceived by teachers without previous professional teaching experience presents are presented. A multiple case study was built around four individual novice cases from one of the largest school districts in the state of Florida. Of the four cases, three participants were rehired for the following year. The fourth left teaching after nine weeks. The research questions are: How do today’s novice science teachers describe their first year’s teaching experiences? How do novice teacher’s feelings about being science teachers change during their first year of teaching? How do beginning science teachers describe their successes? And, what challenges do today’s beginning science teachers face? These research questions were asked to relate the novice experiences and perceptions associated with the initial year of teaching high school science. Emergent themes included concerns for questionable ethical administrative actions and poor administrative decisions as they are perceived by the novice science teacher. Findings of the multiple case study relate experiences perceived as positive, bureaucratic, involving student and parent apathy, local administration, and missed communications. Beliefs changed about student needs, mandated science exams, district micromanagement, confidence, and unique personal changes. Descriptions provided of success involved mentoring, students, lesson planning, confidence, and retention. Perceived challenges were parent and student apathy, mandated science exam validity, student needs, micromanagement of science lessons, discipline, abandonment, and development. The researcher was employed as a science teacher in the same district as the participants, but at a separate high school.