UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Breaking the silence : beginning teachers share pathways out of the profession Beck, Jaime Leigh


This thesis explores the story of teacher attrition, the story behind the statistic that tells us that as many as 50% of teachers leave the profession within their first five years (Clandinin, Downey, & Huber, 2009, p. 145; Glassford & Salinitri, 2007, p. 5; Ingersoll and Kralik, 2004, p. 2). Research also tells us that this is not all ‘healthy’ attrition (Borman, & Dowling, 2008), and that unhealthy teacher attrition places many burdens on the education system. Using narrative inquiry, this thesis creates a space for the stories of beginning teachers. The reader is invited into a dialogue where these teachers share their experiences of induction, mentorship, bureaucracy, accountability, and their many experiences in the classroom in order to explore the complexities behind their decision to leave the classroom early. As the practices of teacher mentorship and teacher induction grow, it is essential that beginning teachers be allowed to meaningfully contribute to the dialogue in a candid way. Narrative inquiry allows the complexity of teacher induction to remain complex. This inquiry leaves space for the reader to engage in the dialogue, to bring the inquiry into his or her own context. “It is a living composting” (Leggo, 2002, p. 2); fertile ground for future inquiry and critical discussion.

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