Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Shelley L. Knudsen

Abstract

This qualitative study was an investigation of first-year teachers who completed their teacher preparation program at large, land-grant university in the west (n=16). It explored teachers' perceptions of their first teaching year centered around the questions of challenges and successes they had encountered, whether they felt prepared for their first year by their teacher preparation program, in what areas would they have liked more instruction during their teacher preparation program, and if they felt able to implement developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) within their classroom.

Study findings indicated three main areas remarked on by teachers: creating and implementing instruction and assessment; experiences of teachers; and classroom organization, management, and procedures. All of the teachers within the study had comments within the area of creating and implementing instruction and assessment. About 46% of the comments within this theme referred to whether teachers felt able to implement DAP in their classrooms. Almost 77% of teachers reported that they were able to implement DAP within their classrooms. Fourteen of the teachers had comments coded within the theme of experience. Almost 68% of those comments fell within the subtheme of student teaching experience. Over half of the teachers expressed satisfaction with their student teaching experience. Fourteen teachers also commented within the theme of classroom organization, management, and procedures. About 73% of those comments were coded within the subtheme of classroom management. Teachers reported feeling both successful and challenged within this theme, and it was also identified as an area they would have liked more instruction in during their teacher preparation programs. Five less prominent themes were also delineated: special education, teacher intrinsic qualities, teacher characteristics, child and classroom characteristics, and parent and family issues. Study findings demonstrated, as well, that most teachers felt prepared for their first year of teaching by their teacher preparation program. The majority of teachers began first teaching in a public school setting and participants were teaching students ranging from pre-school to first grade. Limitations, implications, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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