The Novice Teacher's Experience in Sensemaking and Socialization in Urban Secondary Schools
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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.
Berry, Joan Ramey (2009). The Novice Teacher's Experience in Sensemaking and Socialization in Urban Secondary Schools. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from