Berry, Joan Ramey (2009-08). The Novice Teacher's Experience in Sensemaking and Socialization in Urban Secondary Schools. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • 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.

ETD Chair

publication date

  • August 2009