Beginning Teachers, Resilience and Retention
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The exit of beginning teachers from the teaching profession is a costly phenomenon not only for taxpayers but also for students. The focus of this study was to examine how beginning teachers with one, three or five years of practice developed resilience and if their ability to be resilient impacted their retention in the education profession. Six research questions guided this study. Fourteen beginning teachers who were nominated by their peers as to having the characteristics of resilience as defined by the literature participated in the study.
The use of qualitative methods facilitated the exploration of teacher beliefs about their resilience and its process. The study was grounded on the notion that teachers possess valuable insight about the process of resilience development. These 14 teachers were very clear in the message that they sent about what they needed to stay focused on their jobs. The information was overwhelming that they needed a positive environment with good relationships in their educational communities. The building of positive relationships was a major factor in their being resilient.
These teachers’ ability to stick around was built through the development of internal resources that the literature states are inherent in all of us. It was the feeling of these teachers that they were in the education profession for a reason. The driving force for these participants seemed to be having a purpose in life. To know one’s self and one’s passion or purpose enabled these teachers to stay focused on their professional goals as well as the goals for their students.