This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 26, Issue 3, Author(s): Cathrine Le Maistre, and Anthony Paré, “Whatever It Takes: How Beginning Teachers Learn to Survive“, Pages 559-564, Copyright Elsevier (April 2010).
Reports of high attrition rates among beginning teachers suggest that new practitioners need help to develop coping strategies, preferably while they are still teacher candidates under the supervision of experienced teachers.
Defining teaching as an ill-defined problem, where beginners have a limited repertoire of problem-solving strategies, this article suggests that the ability to satisfice – that is, develop temporary but sufficient solutions – enables teachers to survive the early years of practice.
However, it appears that, paradoxically, satisficing is one of the skills that is developed with experience. As the authors demonstrate, veteran practitioners have learned how to cope and by mentoring, they can help newcomers deal with the complex problems of initial practice.