Exploring the resilience of early career teachers: engaging positively with the realities

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Gordon, AL (2015)
  • Subject:
    acm: ComputingMilieux_COMPUTERSANDEDUCATION | ComputingMilieux_THECOMPUTINGPROFESSION

This thesis reflects on the perceptions of resilience of more than fifty early career secondary teachers and is intended as the initial stage of a longitudinal research inquiry. It focuses on how the resilience of new entrants to the teaching profession is challenged and eroded, but also sustained and nurtured, in the initial year of teacher training and as a newly qualified teacher. Drawing on bricolage, the inquiry is qualitative in approach, using a range of methods, including a resilience test, questionnaires, interviews and a range of creative writing approaches, to explore deeper insights into the experiences and perspectives of early career teachers. This thesis complements important work in the field, including Gu and Day (2013) and Johnson et al., (2015), by adopting a wide-ranging and creative approach to gathering evidence from a group of early career teachers. The honesty and vulnerability of the participants has inspired me to consider ways in which resilience may be fostered at the beginning of a career in teaching. Clear implications for a more holistic view of the individual teacher at the heart of initial teacher education are highlighted as a result. Recommendations are made for changes to provision in initial teacher education, including a stronger focus on the emotional aspects of the teacher’s role, and a re-thinking of reflective practice and mentoring as part of transformational learning in the teaching profession.
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