EXAMINING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FIRST-YEAR TEACHER PERCEPTIONS, NEW TEACHER INDUCTION AND TEACHER RETENTION IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Ferdinand, Michele A.
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Across the nation school districts are faced with the dual challenge of growing student enrollment and high teacher turnover. At the same time, each year new teachers enter the profession lacking the appropriate skills required to meet the needs of students in classrooms across the nation. When teachers participate in new teacher induction, research indicates that attrition rates decrease, while teacher satisfaction and commitment levels increase. A qualitative case study method was utilized to elicit and analyze novice teachers’ perspectives on the new teacher induction program in a large school district in Texas. The purpose of the study was to understand the extent to which first-year teachers perceived that the program met the needs of new teachers during their induction year, and the extent to which the program influenced their decision to remain in the district. The research problem presented in this qualitative case study was framed by the Mutual Benefits Model which is derived from Social Exchange Theory. Data were collected through the analysis of archived documents, researcher reflexivity, field notes, audio recordings and transcripts from a focus group interview, and two individualized interviews with four first-year teachers from various schools within the district. First Cycle Coding was utilized to identify concepts, and emerging themes from the interview transcripts and field notes. In this study, four specific components were examined: professional development training, collaborative support through professional learning communities, feedback and evaluation, and mentoring support. The findings suggest that the first-year teachers’ experiences with the new teacher induction program were supportive and collaborative. Additionally, findings indicated that the experiences and participation in the new teacher induction program positively influenced two of the four study participants to remain in the district. One study participant did not reveal a reason for remaining, and the fourth participant cited personal reasons for remaining in the district and profession. The findings of this study can contribute to the existing research and the current new teacher induction program framework by clarifying the roles of new teachers, campus administrators and mentors. Implications suggest that the district could enhance the new teacher induction program by providing differentiated professional development for first-year teachers new to the profession, not just to the district. Additionally, implications for more research for policy should consider the elements of alternative certification programs, specifically web-based models, on pedagogy.
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