Influences of the Heart: Novice and Experienced Teachers Remaining in the Field

July, 2013

Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 17, No. 4, 562–576, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examined the factors that influenced two novice and two experienced teachers’ decisions to remain in the teaching field.

The participants were four teachers, who taught in both Title I and non-Title I elementary schools located in a southeastern state in the United States. Title I schools receive federal funding and were created to ensure all students receive equal access to education regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status.
The participants' teaching experiences ranged from four months to 38 years.
Two teachers were identified as novice teachers and two were identified as experienced teachers, based on their teaching experience.

The authors conducted individual open-ended interviews with each of the teachers.

The findings reveal that both novice and experienced teachers mentioned administrative support and relationships as prominent influences of teachers to remain in the field. All participants stated that good administrative support provides mentors for new teachers, helps teachers with behavior management issues, and finds ways to create positive school environments.

Furthermore, all the participants suggested the stress of the profession contributes to teachers leaving the field, such as behavioral issues, requirements of paperwork, and state-mandated tests.
One significant theme was the relationship teachers had with their students. All the participants felt their interactions with students were a significant factor related to longevity in the field.
A second theme was related to the love the teachers felt for their profession. All the participants indicated that their aspiring to teach came from a sense of calling. All the teachers reported that teaching was the profession they were destined to do or had wanted to do even as young children.
The authors argue that the pressure and stress of testing, paperwork, classroom management, and lack of mentorship influence teachers’ decisions to remain in the field. They suggest that administrators and teachers could benefit from mentoring and common planning time as a way to support each other, which might facilitate teacher retention.
The authors suggest that administrators also can facilitate and maintain positive social interactions and environments with peer, colleagues, or administration. The teachers in this noted that support of the administration and other teachers are essential to teacher retention.

Updated: May. 29, 2018