Beginning special education teachers face significant challenges early in their careers. These challenges are sometimes intensified based on their teaching environment. The problem is that novice or early-career special education teachers often lack the proper training, supports, or coping skills to address the challenges that they may face in an urban classroom. The guiding theoretical framework for this research was Vygotsky’s social constructivism theory. The conceptual framework, Kolb’s Learning Cycle is rooted in social constructivism and is the connection between the learner’s previous experience and knowledge directly impacts their responses.
This qualitative phenomenological study explored the challenges of 10 early career special education teachers who work in three different urban school districts in the Midwest of the United States. A set of semi-structured, open-ended interview questions were provided in audio-recorded interviews for the participants to respond and expound on. The data was analyzed by the researcher and found that several themes emerged regarding the overarching research question as to what is the essence of the experiences of early-career special education teachers working in an urban school district classroom environment? Six themes regarding supports emerged that describe how do beginning special education teachers describe their experiences with administrative supports within an urban school district: (a) administrative, (b) school culture, (c) mentoring, (d) school district communication, (e) resources, and (f) professional development. The implications were that early-career special educators felt a lack of administrative and district supports surrounding mentoring, professional development, school culture, and communication, yet they still find their own methods of coping and ways to feel valued in their teaching roles.
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|Commitee:||Fowler, Rollen, Shriner, Michael|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Early-career, Novice, Phenomenology, Special education, Urban|
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