The Challenges of Beginning Teachers in Urban Primary Schools

February, 2017

Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol . 40, No . 1, 46–61, 2017
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to examine the specific problems of beginning teachers in Dutch urban primary schools.

The participants were 15 beginning teachers from 15 Dutch urban primary schools.
Data were collected through in-depth semi-structured topic interviews.

The findings reveal that beginning teachers encounter several challenges in urban primary schools. The authors found that most prominent challenges were common problems that teacher encounter at schools, such as a high workload, stress and inadequate guidance and support.
The participants also mentioned that they had difficulties handling with parental involvement. They had Interactions with highly educated and critical parents as well as interactions with parents from cultural minority groups. They found both types of interactions as difficult to handle.

The authors also identified three issues, which defined in the literature as ‘urban school problems’: (1) Too little time and capacity to pay sufficient attention to students ‘at risk of academic failure’, (2) Adapting to the differences in cognitive development and language development of children, (3) dealing with parents from a different culture or background and values and/or who speak a different language than the teacher.

The authors found that the teachers mentioned different reasons why they found it difficult to deal with these problems.
Teachers, who worked in schools with children from high-SES families, related their problems to large group sizes and demanding and critical parents. Teachers, who worked in schools with primarily children from low-SES and/or culturally diverse backgrounds, said that there are large numbers of children who need special attention and pressure from the educational inspectorate to raise cognitive achievements.

Updated: Nov. 25, 2018