Date of Award

5-22-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Bedford, April

Second Advisor

Buxton, Cory

Third Advisor

Davis-Haley, Rachel

Fourth Advisor

Casbergue, Renee

Fifth Advisor

Speaker, Richard

Sixth Advisor

Longstreet, Wilma

Abstract

Researchers have reported that by the year 2010, two million teachers will be needed in classrooms across the country. The shortage has been attributed to population increases and a rise in the number of teacher retirements. Other researchers contend that the shortage is due to rising attrition rates among new teachers. They claim that new teachers become dissatisfied with teaching due to poor working conditions. As a result, new teachers have prematurely departed the teaching profession in alarming numbers which has placed the educational system at large in a state of crisis. This dissertation examined the factors which impacted the working conditions of beginning teachers and their enculturation into teaching and school cultures. Novices' experiences before and after teacher education training included the influence of significant individuals prior to entry into teaching and their interactions with the principal, veteran teachers and students. The process of induction served as a means to facilitate or impede the enculturation process. Data gathered and generated for this qualitative study included survey, interview and observation. Through participants' shared experiences, both positive and negative factors influenced their enculturation into teaching and the school culture. As prospective teachers, significant individuals were a positive influence on new teachers' decisions to enter teaching and their educational perspectives. As new teachers, findings revealed four negative factors which hindered their enculturation process. First, the veteran-oriented school culture was unsupportive and prevented the school community from adequately addressing new teachers' needs during induction. Second, although new teachers expressed concerns about classroom management, discipline and student achievement in their interactions with students, these concerns did not have a significant negative impact on their enculturation. Third, new teachers' interactions with veteran teachers lacked collegiality and prevented the types of collaborative exchanges necessary to promote professional growth. Fourth, the empathy expressed for the new principal restricted opportunities for interactions and subsequently lowered new teachers' expectations of the principal's ability to provide support. The principal's inexperience and novice-status sanctioned the negative veteran-oriented culture which dominated the school environment, thus, limiting the impact of new teacher induction and impeding the enculturation of beginning teachers.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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