Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Michelle Cook, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert P. Green Jr., Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jeff C. Marshall, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara J. Speziale, Ph.D.

Abstract

Novice science teachers leave the confines of colleges and universities to embark on a new adventure in education where they aim to influence young minds, make a difference in the world, and share their love for their content. They have learned their pedagogical skills with the support and assistance of fellow classmates, a supporting professor, and a cooperating teacher. These teachers enter their new place of employment and are met with many unexpected challenges, such as a lack of resources, no one to ask questions of, and a busy staff with already established relationships, causing them to feel an overall lack of support and resulting in many new teachers rethinking their career choice and leaving the field of education within 5 years of entering. This multiple-case study investigated the administrative support 4 novice science teachers received during an academic year and the novice teachers' perceptions of the support they received to answer the following research question: How do novice science teachers who have consistent interactions with administrators develop during their first year? To answer this question, semistructured interviews, reflection journals, observations, resumes, long-range plans, and student discipline referrals were collected.

The findings from this study show novice science teachers who had incidents occur in the classroom requiring administrative assistance and guidance felt more confident in enforcing their classroom management policies and procedures as the year progressed to change student behavior. The novice science teachers perceived administrators who provided resources including technology, office supplies, science supplies, and the guidance of a mentor as supportive. Novice science teachers who engaged in dialogue after administrative observations, were provided the opportunity to attend professional development outside the district, and had a mentor who taught the same discipline made more changes to their instructional practice. Administrators whom the novice science teachers perceived as supportive visited the classroom for observations, answered questions posed by the new teachers, and engaged the novice science teachers in conversation. The study offered 6 recommendations for administrators to enhance the development of novice science teachers at their school sites for the retention of those teachers in order to increase student engagement within the classroom setting, leading to higher student achievement.

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