Severe teacher shortages, caused by high attrition rates, have been the focus of attention for school districts and policy leaders for over two decades. Teacher attrition accounts for approximately 40 to 50% of new teachers leaving in the first 5 years of service. High teacher attrition rates in the United States impact tomorrow’s leaders, innovators, and workers who today are struggling to succeed in math and science in a globally competitive world. By not addressing the reasons teachers leave the profession, or by not conducting further research on preservice teachers to better prepare them for the classroom, the nation will continue to be at risk. This study looks at the research on why teachers say they leave in the first 1 to 5 years of service and asks preservice teachers the extent to which they consider low salaries, working conditions that severely limit their autonomy over classroom decision-making, and the effectiveness of their teacher preparation in content areas and classroom management. Understanding whether preservice teachers considered these factors or felt they needed more effective instruction will help identify gaps in teacher education programs that may prevent new teachers from leaving the profession in the first 5 years. This study uses a semi-structured interview process to attain the unique stories of preservice teachers and to assess their consideration of the issues that have been shown to make teachers leave the teaching profession. A combination of criterion and snowball sampling techniques were used to select a group of 12 preservice elementary education teachers. The qualitative design uses a phenomenological approach to find the main themes of the preservice teachers’ stories.
The study revealed that preservice teachers do not consider low salaries, working conditions that severely limit their autonomy over classroom decision-making, and the effectiveness of their teacher preparation in content areas and classroom management prior to becoming a teacher. Although the preservice teachers in this study did not consider these factors, each expressed concern about working conditions during their clinical experience and the quality of their teacher preparation programs. The stories of these preservice teachers and the recommendations for future studies will help guide the transformation of teacher education programs and the teaching profession to lower attrition rates in K-12 schools around the country.
|Commitee:||Burgess, Kimberly, Garland, Peter|
|School:||University of Pennsylvania|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education Policy, Education, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||Elementary education, Policy, Preservice teachers, Salary, Teacher attrition, Teacher preparation|
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