Reflection on Their First Five Years of Teaching: Understanding Staying and Impact Power

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beginning teachers, teacher persistence, teacher characteristics, resilience

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Teacher turnover in urban schools is occurring at a breakneck pace; thus, it is important for us to understand the characteristics of teachers who stay and succeed in these settings. In order to address this need, this study examines the preparation and induction experiences of teachers who completed a Transition to Teaching – a funded urban apprenticeship program. Three research questions guided the study: (1) How do participants describe the characteristics that influence their five-year retention? (2) How do participants describe their success as teachers? and (3) How do participants describe the professional support they received in their preparation program and during the subsequent four years after completing the program? Quantitative and qualitative data via interviews, focus group, and an examination of teachers’ district performance scores were utilized, as a means of understanding teachers’ staying and impact power. Staying power refers to the ability to endure or last within challenging contexts by possessing strength enough to persevere. Impact power refers to their ability to influence student learning. Four assertions describe the factors influencing developing teachers who stay and have impact as they teach in challenging urban schools, suggesting that these teachers possess a strong work ethic, seek specific resources to improve pedagogy, have the knowledge and skills necessary to differentiate instruction, and seek teacher leadership opportunities in their schools. This study suggests several implications for teacher educators, educational leaders, administrators, and researchers working with new teachers in urban schools or with populations that are predominantly children of color.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, v. 21, issue 3, p. 237-259