In this dissertation, the problem of early childhood teacher turnover is approached from the perspective of professional identity. During three-part semi-structured interviews with twelve highly-educated infant-toddler teachers working in NAEYC-accredited centers in a mid-Atlantic metropolitan area, participants shared information about their career decisions and professional identities. The participant teachers, who were more highly-educated than a representative sample would be, generally "fell into" the career without having had any pre-service training specific to working with infants and toddlers. Teachers described their jobs in terms of boredom and / or frustration, and found more value in experiential learning than from formal professional development opportunities. Teachers in this study self-identified as professional "teachers" while perceiving themselves to be other-identified as unskilled "day care workers." Teachers in this study did not view teaching infants and toddlers as a long-term career option. The findings suggest that the public's perception of infant-toddler teachers as unskilled workers may encourage highly-educated teachers to leave the profession. I use these findings to make recommendations for pre-service educators, administrators, and policymakers.
|Advisor:||Wright, Travis S.|
|Commitee:||Martin, Doris M., Scully-Russ, Ellen|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Administration and Policy Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||School administration, Early childhood education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Career decisions, Early care and education, Early childhood administration, Early childhood education, Infant-toddler teacher, Professional identity|
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