Beginning teacher support in urban elementary school settings : examining the principal’s roles

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hakima Michele Britt (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: My purpose in this study was to examine the roles principals play in supporting beginning teachers (BTs) in their first 3 years in the classroom in urban characteristic school districts. Previous research has found that many new teachers leave the profession within their first 3-5 years. Many BTs find that the job demands are too burdensome, that they lack autonomy and discretion, and that they lack influence over school-wide decisions that impact teachers. Some leave due to low pay and poor working conditions. Others leave from a lack of support from administrators and colleagues. Bettini and Park (2021) suggest that “states consider whether their administrator licensure programs adequately prepare school principals to cultivate positive school cultures and provide instructional support for novices in high-poverty urban schools” (p. 25). The findings from my study add to the literature on skills, strategies, and tools that principals can use to maintain a positive culture for beginning teachers that fosters high expectations for our urban schools. Using basic qualitative research methods (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016), I examined the experiences of 5 elementary principals who are currently serving or have served in urban-characteristic school settings. The principals identified 5 themes that reflected their experiences of supporting beginning teachers in these urban schools. During their semi-structured interviews with me, the principals candidly shared their thoughts and ideas on how to best support beginning teachers in our most hard-to-staff schools. My findings add another dimension of learning for current and future principals through the recommendations provided in the conclusion. This research reminded me of how overwhelming beginning experiences can be for new teachers. As a former administrator, I caution current and future principals to strategically organize the responsibilities of beginning teachers. My research highlights the intentionality of acclimating BTs to the culture and climate of the school coupled with professional learning communities, social justice, and equity. Bettini and Park (2021) suggest that “to retain teachers in high-poverty schools for longer, states should consider incorporating strategies to improve school social contexts into equity plans” (p. 25). The findings from my study may provide information that principals can use to better support beginning teachers in elementary urban school settings, resulting in decreased teacher turnover and strong educational experiences for teachers and students. The principal’s role is to lay the groundwork that is most conducive to student achievement and professional growth for teachers and staff.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Beginning Teacher, Principal
Elementary school principals
First year teachers $x Supervision of
Teacher-principal relationships
Teacher turnover $x Prevention
Urban schools

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