Malcom, L. A. C. (2007). Beginning teachers, resilience and retention. (Doctor of Philosophy), Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
This thesis examined how beginning teachers with one, three or five years of teaching developed resilience and whether their resilience influenced their retention. Resilience is characterised as “an individuals’ ability to adjust and adapt to changes, demands, and disappointments that come up in the course of life” (Morris, 2002). The study involved 14 teachers nominated by their colleagues as being resilient. Data were collected from multiple sources, namely nomination forms, semi-structured interviews, critical incident analysis, electronic journals and field notes. The analyses showed that factors that contributed to teacher resilience comprised personal attributes (building of positive relationships, humour, positive attitude, sense of purpose, faith, initiative and creativity) and environmental factors (interactions, freedom to try new ideas, supportive colleagues, mentoring, and professional development). Several resilience strategies were identified, including seeking out positive relationships and recognising and accepting offers of friendship from colleagues, having a sense of purpose, creating positive support systems, acknowledging their strengths and trying to improve their weaknesses, seeking out good mentors, being reflective and considering multiple choices. To conclude, the researcher argued that it is important for teachers and administrators to understand resilience and its cultivation. It was also contended that positive relationships and collegiality need to be promoted to build resilience.
Mansfield, C. F., Beltman, S., Price, A., & McConney, A. (2012). "Don’t sweat the small stuff:" Understanding teacher resilience at the chalkface. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28, 357-367.
This study explored graduating and early career teachers’ perceptions of teacher resilience. Within the study, resilience was argued to involve “dynamic processes that are the result of interaction over time between a person and the environment and is evidenced by how individuals respond to challenging or adverse situations” (p. 358). A survey with such constructs as teacher efficacy, motivational goals for teaching, self-perceived competence and satisfaction with teacher preparation program was administered to 259 graduating and early career teachers. The response rate was 77%. The analysis of the content and emerging themes indicated the multi-dimensional nature and complexity of resilience. The participants perceived resilience as a process of development happening over time and as a combination of motivational, professional, emotional and social strengths. From that, a four dimensional framework of teacher resilience was proposed. The data also highlighted the significance of both the individual and the context in cultivating teacher resilience. The article concluded with a number of implications for teacher education, e.g. emotional development, professional development materials for building teacher resilience, and a multidimensional approach for resilience building.
Manuel, J. (2003). 'Such are the ambitions of youth': Exploring issues of retention and attrition of early career teachers in New South Wales. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 31(2), 139-151.
This longitudinal study tracks the experiences of six NSW teachers in their first five years of working – from 'novice' to 'master' teacher. The paper outlines current issues in teacher retention and different ways of describing phases of teacher development. It suggests various strategies for supporting new teachers and recommends increased links between teacher preparation programs, employing bodies and individual schools so new teachers can access a range of types of support according to their needs.
McCormack, A., & Thomas, K. (2005). The reality of uncertainty: The plight of casual beginning teachers. Change: Transformations in Education, 8(1), 17-31
These authors present the findings of surveys and focus groups with new graduates from a range of teacher education programs at a NSW university who were working as casual teachers. They also interviewed employers and university staff. A large proportion (about one third) of graduates worked as casuals and experienced a lack of formal induction and support, difficulties with classroom management and with using work devised by other teachers. They relied on their own informal networks such as other ex-students for support. Recommendations are made for pre-service preparation for this role, and for support by employers and schools.
Morgan, M. (2011). Resilience and recurring adverse events: testing an assets-based model of beginning teachers’ experiences. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 32(3-4), 92-104.
This article drew on two empirical studies to examine the factors that foster beginning teachers’ resilience. In the first study, the analysis of 80 beginning teachers’ responses to an open-ended questionnaire indicated three main assets that facilitated the teachers’ resilience: personal strengths (commitment to teaching), social support (support of colleagues and support from outside school) and coping skills. Among these three factors, coping strategies were the most frequently mentioned. The findings of the first study were then used to inform the questionnaire for the second study, which was administered to 408 teachers. The result of the second study supported an assets-based model of resilience. Based on the results of the two studies, the author suggested that the assets model has important implications for understanding interventions that address teachers’ capacity to recover from adversity, and that, instead of trying to reduce the level of stress at the workplace, an assets approach may be more beneficial for early career teachers.
Morgan, M., Ludlow, L., Kitching, K., O'Leary, M., & Clarke, A. (2010). What makes teachers tick? Sustaining events in new teachers' lives. British Educational Research Association, 36(2), pp. 191-208.
This article outlines research conducted with 700 beginning primary school teachers in Ireland and focuses on day-to-day affective experiences that motivate them or create obstacles for them. The impact of these experiences on teacher efficacy (which influences persistence and resilience) and commitment to teaching are explored through a survey designed to measure the affective significance of recurring events (positive and negative) on teachers' lives (including their frequency, intensity and proximity). Findings from the research indicate that the presence or absence of positive experiences have a stronger impact on teacher efficacy than negative experiences. In addition, the frequency of experiences (at the local level) is a stronger influence than their intensity. Therefore, it is concluded that removing negative experiences is not enough to promote the commitment and efficacy of early career teachers since frequent positive experiences (such as positive relationships with students) are far more influential.
Muller, S. M., Gorrow, T. R., & Fiala, K. A.. (2011). Considering protective factors as a tool for teacher resiliency. Education, 131(3), 545-555.
In this article, resilience, defined as teachers’ capacity to adjust to adverse working conditions, is maintained to be an important element to promote teacher retention. To foster teacher resilience, the researchers argued that it is crucial to identify fundamental protective factors. With the aim of examining six protective factors identified by Henderson (2003) (purpose and expectation; nurture and support; positive connections; meaningful participation; life guiding skills; and clear and consistent boundaries), 92 pre-service teachers, 66 new teachers (1-5 years of experience), 55 experienced teachers (6-10 years), and 126 veteran teachers were asked to complete a 34-item five-point Likert-scale survey. The findings indicated that, while six factors in Henderson’s model were contended to make an equal contribution to the establishment of teacher resilience, the current study found they were unequally associated with teacher resilience. In addition, although all factors suggested by Henderson (2003) were proved to be present, items proposed to represent certain protective factors (e.g. clear and consistent boundaries) were found to be invalid and had to be renamed. The study also highlighted the importance of positive relationships and interactions with colleagues as well as knowing how to fit into the workplace culture and school structure in helping teachers withstand adversity. As a conclusion, the researchers suggested that schools should introduce social networking into school settings (e.g. by creating social networking sites for teachers) to encourage teacher interaction. Moreover, the protective factors verified in the study can be used by school administrators to promote teacher resilience.
Papatraianou, L. H., & Le Cornu, R. (2014). Problematising the role of personal and professional relationships in early career teacher resilience. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(1), 100-116.
Drawing on two qualitative studies, one of which was funded by the Australian Research Council, the article explored how different forms of informal support provided to teachers by their ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ relationships contribute to the sustainability of resilience. With data collected from semi-structured interviews, open-ended interviews, an online survey, and the development of a social networking site to gather teachers’ reflections on their everyday experiences, the researchers found that teachers’ informal significant relationships with colleagues, leaders, support staff, students, parents of students and family and friends appeared to play a significant role in sustaining resilience. Seven types of support afforded by these relationships were reported:
The article concluded with several suggestions for future research and action: the need to explore the role that different types of support play in promoting teacher resilience; gender differences in resilience; the need to promote informal staff interaction; the provision of informal support and learning opportunities for early career teachers; and the development of elements in teacher education programs to help student teacher develop strong supportive networks.
Pearce, J., & Morrison, C. (2011). Teacher identity and early career resilience: Exploring the links. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(1), 48-59.
This article is a part of a project that involves three Australian universities and eight industry partners. In this paper, resilience is defined as a process, not an outcome, which is located within the wider social, cultural, political and relational contexts of the teaching profession. Data collected from interviews with 60 early career teachers showed that beginning teachers’ conscious engagement in the construction of professional identities can have a positive impact on the development of resilience. By engaging in professional conversations with teaching and non-teaching colleagues, interactions with peers and others about teaching, exchanges with students and students’ parents, the beginning teacher’s identity is shaped and strengthened, which in turn enhances his/her ability to cope with negative experiences to become more resilient.
Peterman, F. P. (2005). Resiliency, resistance and persistence to be an urban teacher: Creating standards that respond to the context of knowledge construction and learning to teach about teaching. In D. B. e. al. (Ed.), Teacher professional development in changing conditions (pp. 309-329). The Netherlands: Springer.
This book chapter presented the results of a study of new teachers’ reflections upon urban teaching. The participants were 11 graduates who (a) had demonstrated skill and commitment to urban teaching while enrolled in the MUST (Masters of Urban Secondary Teaching) program (b) taught in an urban school for one to three years, and (c) were recognized by faculty, colleagues, and peers as an exemplary urban teacher. Data collected from the participants’ reflections and interviews showed that during the first few years of teaching in urban schools, the teachers experienced many adverse conditions: the cultural incongruence among themselves and their colleagues, their students, and their parents; their limited knowledge of the community, its resources, and how to understand and access them; their students’ special needs; the challenge of addressing linguistic differences; violence, bureaucracy and poverty typical to American urban communities. However, the teachers resorted to their teacher identity, relationships, coming to know their students, parents, colleagues as well as coming to know themselves in order to cope and thrive in the face of hardship. In other words, it was their resiliency, resistance, and persistence that helped the urban teachers respond successfully to the challenges of their teaching profession.
Peters, J., & Pearce, J. (2012). Relationships and early career teacher resilience: A role for school principals. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 18(2), 249-262.
The article reported the findings of a part of a longitudinal study (2008-2012) funded by the Australian Research Council and industry partners. It concerns the role principals play in promoting early career teachers’ resilience, which is conceptualised with regard to the broader social, economic and political contexts. Data collected from school leaders and first year teachers from 59 primary and secondary schools across two states in Australia indicated that, with support from the school principals, the beginning teachers found teaching enjoyable and rewarding. On the other hand, the lack of appropriate support was reported to add to beginning teachers’ sense of incompetence, as well as create a feeling of isolation and alienation, which eventually resulted in the teachers’ decision to leave the school after a short period of working. The findings consolidate the crucial role principals play in fostering early career teachers’ resilience and retention.
Price, A., Mansfield, C., & McConney, A. (2012). Considering ‘teacher resilience’ from critical discourse and labour process theory perspectives. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 33(1), 81-95.
In this paper, resilience development among early career teachers is discussed as a measure to address the issue of high teacher attrition rate in Australian schools. The views presented in the paper originated from the professional conversations in which the authors engaged as they reviewed the literature of teacher resilience for the Keeping Cool project (2009). Factors that constitute teacher resilience, such as altruism, self-efficacy, confidence and coping strategies, were mentioned, while the relationship between teacher identity and resilience was also discussed. Added to this, a significant proportion of the paper was devoted to the analysis of contextual factors such as risk factors and protective factors that affect resilience. Finally, the paper concluded with a discussion of resilience implications for pre-service teacher education.
Sharplin, E., O’Neill, M., & Chapman, A. (2011). Coping strategies for adaptation to new teacher appointments: Intervention for retention. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 136-146.
This qualitative study identified the coping strategies of newly recruited teachers in remote or rural schools in Western Australia. Coping strategies were viewed as “direct-action strategies focused on stress source elimination and palliative strategies which reduce stress by modifying internal or emotional reactions” (p. 139). Participants of the study comprised 29 teachers newly appointed to 17 rural or remote schools in Western Australia, who were classified into four groups, young novice, mature-aged novice, interstate and overseas-educated teachers. Data were collected from an initial questionnaire, ongoing telephone interviews, site visits, and email contact for up to 15 months. Through these sources of data, case studies were constructed. The results indicated three main groups of coping strategies: Direct-action strategies (getting information; seeking assistance; connecting with others; accessing professional development; reflecting; reframing; and establishing boundaries), palliative strategies (positive self-talk; accepting; using a goal focus; establishing psychological boundaries; depersonalising; use of humour; religious beliefs; maintaining health and wellbeing; and maintaining relationships)and avoidant coping strategies (taking leave, disengaging, and substance use). As a conclusion, it was recommended that teachers should be supported to increase their retention and improve students’ learning experience. Moreover, professional development was also maintained to be an important factor that could help to facilitate teacher resilience.
Smethem, L. (2007). Retention and intention in teaching careers: Will the new generation stay? Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 13(5), 465 - 480
Set within a clear review of current literature and issues, this study investigates beginning secondary language teachers' views on work, their motivations, how they cope with (largely bureaucratic) change, the impact of their induction and their intentions for career development in their early years of teaching. Three types of teachers emerged from the 18 interviews: the 'career' teacher, the 'classroom' teacher and the 'portfolio' teacher, whose commitment to teaching may be temporary. The importance of strengthening moral purpose and of supportive induction processes and the formation of professional learning communities is highlighted.
Smith, T. M., & Ingersoll, R. M. (2004). What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal, 41(3), 681-714
This comprehensive quantitative study uses data obtained from a stratified sample of all beginning teachers in the US in 1999-2000. It investigates the prevalence of induction programs, the frequency of new teachers' participation in such programmes, rates of turnover and identifies 'stayers', 'movers' and 'leavers'. New teachers were found to be more likely to stay if they have had a mentor in the same subject area, have participated in collaborative planning with other teachers, and if they have participated in an external network of teachers organised by an outside agency or on the internet. Implications for policy makers are discussed.
Sullivan, A., & Johnson, B. (2012). Questionable practices? Relying on individual teacher resilience in remote schools. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 22(3), 101-116.
Within this paper, resilience is described as teachers’ “capacity to adapt and cope despite being exposed to serious on-going threats to their wellbeing” (p. 102). The case study of one graduate teacher employed in a remote Indigenous Australian school presented in this paper was drawn from the Australian Research Council funded project (2008-2012) that investigated the resilience of early career teachers. Through two semi-structured interviews with the student conducted at the beginning and the end of the school year, and one interview with the principal towards the end of the year, the researchers reported several systematic and situated factors that threatened the teacher’s resilience: distance, feeling of isolation, different living condition, lack of teaching resources, students’ transience, range of year levels, multi-age classes, students not speaking English as a first language, lack of adequate pre-service education, absence of an Indigenous Education Worker, little formal mentoring and support and lack of opportunities to participate in professional development. However, some positive factors were identified to contribute to the teacher’s resilience: personal relationships with family and friends, connection with local community, and the development of professional identity. Based on the findings, the authors suggested that recruiting authorities should develop effective support mechanisms to assist beginning teachers’ resilience rather than relying on their own capacity to cope with the challenges of teaching in remote areas.
Sumsion, J. (2004) Early childhood teachers' constructions of their resilience and thriving: a continuing investigation. International Journal of Early Years Education, 12:3,275-290
This study was set in NSW and focused on qualified teachers working in the 'full day care prior to school age' sector. It used qualitative methodologies including in-depth interviews and line drawings denoting critical incidents, with seven teachers. The study aimed to develop an understanding of the teachers own constructions of resilience and thriving. The key research question was - what did these teachers attribute their resilience and capacity to thrive professionally in child care despite challenging circumstances that lead many to leave? Analysis of the data lead to the following 8 interrelated attributes of resilience identified by the teachers. Four were personal: self insight (thinking positively), commitment to ongoing learning, a philosophical stance or moral purpose, engagement in conscious career decision making. The other four were contextual: employer support; perceived professional freedom and agency; collegiality and recognition by others of their professional expertise. It was hoped that these insights could be used generate alternative story lines or cultural scripts of teaching in child care based on agency, hope, freedom and teaching as intellectual work.
Tait, M. (2005). Resilience and new teacher success. Education Today, 17, 12-13, 41.
Beginning teachers face many challenges, including overwhelming workloads, disciplinary problems, unreasonable expectations, poor mentoring support, and inadequate resources. To beat the odds, novice teachers need resilience, “the human capacity to face, overcome, and even be strengthened by experiences of adversity” (p. 12). One of the factors that constitute resilience is positive relationships with other people, e.g. students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. Collegial and supportive teacher preparation is another element that fosters resilience in early career teachers. Moreover, classroom concerns such as class management, student motivation, planning and organisation, have to be effectively addressed to help improve novice teachers’ confidence and sense of efficacy. Induction programs should be put in place to encourage new teachers to practice their communication, personal and social skills. A strong mentorship relationship is also crucial to help an early career teacher foster their resilience. A supportive school culture where collaboration, active participation and critical thinking are encouraged is another important factor that increases teachers’ capacity to bounce back after a setback.
Tait, M. (2008). Resilience as a contributor to novice teacher success, commitment, and retention. Teacher Education Quarterly, Fall, 57-75.
This study focused on novice teachers' resilience, personal efficacy and emotional competence and their possible impact on their sense of success, confidence, and commitment to the profession. Resilience is defined as "...a mode of interacting with events in the environment that is activated and nurtured in times of stress (p. 58). Resilience is closely linked with personal efficacy and emotional intelligence within the article. This mixed-methods study profiled a novice teacher in Toronto, Ontario who was considered to be representative of the themes raised by four resilient study participants (out of 25) who rated themselves highly in terms of both satisfaction and stressful experiences on a questionnaire. Participants completed a Stress Resilience Test (SRT) (Chrysalis Performance Strategies, 2003), participated in guided interviews, and wrote a piece of prose linking their vision of teaching to an area of personal interest or expertise through metaphor. Highly resilient novices were identified as demonstrating social competence, taking advantage of opportunities to develop personal efficacy, using problem-solving strategies, having the ability to rebound after a difficult experience, learning from experience and setting goals for the future, taking care of oneself, and maintaining a sense of optimism. The author recommended that pre-service programs emphasize the collegial nature of teaching, provide opportunities to forge personal and professional relationships, offer resilience-building activities and strategies, address emotional competencies, encourage novice teachers to recognize and talk about resilient responses to events, and provide assertiveness training. In addition, reasonable teaching assignments, promoting mentoring and networking groups and selective admissions were identified as useful strategies for promoting resilient teachers.
Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2007). The differential antecedents of self-efficacy beliefs of novice and experienced teachers. Teaching & Teacher Education, 23, 944-956.
This paper uses quantitative methods to establish that early career teachers are more affected by contextual factors such as resources and interpersonal support. The paper builds upon the work of Bandura (1986), suggesting that helping early career teachers to develop mastery experiences will lead to higher levels of self-efficacy in relation to their ability to teach. It is argued that this in turn will help to create more resilient teachers.
Warshauer Freedman, S., & Appleman, D. (2008). "What else would I be doing?". Teacher identity and teacher retention in urban schools. Teacher Education Quarterly, Summer(2008), 109-126.
The study tracked the career trajectories of 3 graduates from a targeted program (MUSE) that prepared teachers for appointments in disadvantaged urban schools. The study ran over 5 years. Three graduates were discussed in detail, two of whom no longer were teaching in the classroom. This small sample seemed at odds with the typical graduate (it was reported that, after 5 years, 73% of graduates were either teaching or doing curriculum development). Findings reported in the paper suggest that the program was having some success in disadvantaged urban schools. Higher teacher retention rates were noted.
Waterman , S., & He, Y. (2011). Effects of mentoring programs on new teacher retention: A literature review. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 19(2), 139–156.
This article explored the supportive role of mentoring programs on retaining early career teachers. Examining 14 studies on the subject, the researchers found that findings regarding the connection between mentoring programs and teacher retention from past research were inconclusive. Whereas most studies showed that early career teachers felt supported by mentors who met with them frequently, one study revealed novices rejected regular meetings with mentors while another study showed novices who rarely met with their mentors were more likely to stay in teaching than those who met with them daily. Furthermore, some studies showed positive associations between mentoring programs, administrative support, ongoing training and teacher retention, while some studies indicated the lack of or inadequacy of mentoring programs led to teachers leaving the profession, as it contributed to the atmosphere of “professional, social, and emotional disavowal” (p. 148). As an implication for further studies, the paper suggested that there should be more research collaboration across schools, districts, and states to encourage the sharing of resources and research capacities to examine more thoroughly the effects of mentoring on teacher retention.
Watt, H. M. G., & Richardson, P. W. (2008). Motivations, perceptions, and aspirations concerning teaching as a career for different types of beginning teachers. Learning and Instruction, 18(5), 408-428
The authors provided strong empirical evidence for the existence of different types of pre-service teachers. Highly engaged persisters (45%, n=230) were said to be more likely to be from non-English speaking backgrounds and lower socio-economic status. These students saw more intrinsic rewards in teaching and aspired to stay in teaching for their entire career. Highly engaged switchers (27%, n=137), on the other hand, were from more affluent backgrounds and already had planned a switch in career as they were graduating. This group were said to be more ambitious and sought leadership positions in teaching. A third group - lower engaged desisters (28%, n=143) – were reported to have become disaffected during their university studies and were not comfortable with the fit between themselves and teaching as a career path. This group was more concerned with extrinsic rewards from teaching. The paper used a rigorous quantitative approach to derive these categories and pointed towards significant implications for teacher education and professional development. Approaches to rewarding and retaining teachers should take account of the different profiles of beginning teacher, in particular their different goals, commitments, plans and aspirations.
Wei, S., Shujuan, Z., & Qibo, H. (2011). Resilience and social support as moderators of work stress of young teachers in engineering college. Procedia Engineering, 24, 856 – 860.
This theoretical paper proposes a conceptual model to help early career teachers foster resilience. It is noted that young teachers often have a lower level of resilience than more senior teachers, as their ability of seeking help, support and available resources is not as efficient as elder teachers’. The model proposed in the paper is the JDC (job demand-control) model that focuses on two variables of work environment: job demand and job control. Job demand is characterised as all kinds of work stress, including work load, time pressure and role conflict, while job control is defined as decision authority and skills judgment. The authors argue that teacher motivation and resilience can be boosted if job demand and job control are matched up, to finally achieve a transformation from high stress work to positive work. A social dimension is also added to the model: social support from supervisors and colleagues, which is argued to have a strong correlation with the level of teacher resilience. However, the authors stress that the JDC model still needs testing to verify its validity.
Woolfolk Hoy, A., & Burke Spero, R. (2005). Changes in teacher efficacy during the early years of teaching: A comparison of four measures. Teaching & Teacher Education, 21, 343-356.
The study compared 4 measures of teacher efficacy to determine if (a) teacher efficacy changed during early years of teaching, (b) there were similar patterns of change over the measures and (c) common factors emerged that might be related to changes in teacher efficacy. It was found that, on all 4 measures, teacher efficacy increased during student teaching but decreased during the first year of teaching. Bandura's theory of self-efficacy (1977) suggests that efficacy may be most malleable early in learning. Therefore, the early years of teaching could be critical to the long-term development of teacher efficacy. The findings suggest that support for early career teachers is crucial in maintaining their sense of mastery over the teaching profession and therefore their long-term efficacy in their ability to teach.
Yates, L., Pelphrey, B. A., & Smith, P. A. (2008). An exploratory phenomenological study of African American male pre-service teachers at a historical black university in the mid-south. National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal, 21(3).
This study used a narrative style to help explain the resilience of eight male African American pre-service teachers in their studies at a university in the mid-South of the United States. Three sets of protective factors helped these pre-service teachers to build resilience. These were (a) family and community (e.g. influence of parents and siblings), (b) individual factors (e.g. personal drive to succeed, influence of faith/religion) and (c) the school (e.g. high expectations, development of strong personal relationships). A mentoring program called Protégés and Provocateurs was briefly described and it was suggested that this program could be used in other circumstances. Although the mentoring program was not fully described, the apparent success of this initiative warrants further research."
Yost, D.S. (2006). Reflection and Self-Efficacy: Enhancing the Retention of Qualified Teachers from a Teacher Education Perspective. Teacher Education Quarterly (Fall), 9-76.
This study incorporated qualitative methods to identify the obstacles, the aspects of teacher education that shaped success, and the extent that teachers were able to use critical reflection as a problem-solving tool. The study involved interviewing ten second-year teachers and their principals, observations of teaching, and a follow-up questionnaire three years later. Results of the study supported the view that the development of self-efficacy during teacher training involved opportunities to successfully apply learning in practice, and to critically reflect upon challenges. A supportive school environment was not found to be the most important factor in retaining teachers, since efficacious teachers tended to transfer rather than drop out of teaching altogether.