Berry, Joan Ramey (2009-08). The Novice Teacher's Experience in Sensemaking and Socialization in Urban Secondary Schools. Doctoral Dissertation.
Teacher attrition is costly for districts, both financially and in terms of student
achievement. Districts often address teacher attrition by focusing on recruitment
practices or by offering induction support for novice teachers. However, new teachers
continue to leave the profession at alarming rates.
This qualitative case study provides insight into how new teachers cope with the
frustrations and challenges of entry-level teaching. The study examines the entry-level
experiences of twelve novice teachers from urban secondary schools, including the
perceptions of teaching they developed prior to entry, the aspects of teaching they found
most frustrating, how they made sense of what was happening to them, and how they
adapted their own behaviors in response to what they experienced.
Viewed within a theoretical framework for examining the "newcomer
experience" developed by Meryl Reis Louis in 1980, the data suggest that traditional
group approaches to supporting novices fail to address the highly individual way in
which newcomers "make sense" of teaching as they progress through a series of stages from anticipation through adaptation. From the data, implications may be drawn in
terms of "what matters" in the design of support systems for new teachers.