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Title:Examining social support networks: the relationship of interactions, mentoring, and community on novice teachers' satisfaction and career resiliency
Author(s):Sikma, Lynn
Director of Research:Osborne, Margery
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Osborne, Margery
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Lo, Adrienne S.; Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.; Robinson-Cimpian, Joseph P.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):social networks
novice teachers
job satisfaction
novice teacher support
sense of community
teacher resiliency
career resiliency
novice teacher retention
Abstract:In this research I investigate the social support networks of four novice elementary teachers. I obtained data through one-on-one interviews, egocentric social network map creation, observations, and document review. Though the four teachers had varying levels of satisfaction, at the completion of their second year teaching, all four expressed intent to remain in their positions and the profession. Examination of the four teachers’ social support networks suggests that these novice teachers need and value the following supports: emotional, contextual, relational, academic, and social. The types of supports each of the four teachers accessed were functions of the type and locations of the relationships they formed, but also reveal the priority the teachers placed on the various supports. In this study, there appeared to be a relationship between particular contextual features and the teachers’ overall levels of satisfaction. These include the teachers’ access to the following: strong, reciprocal relationships; meaningful collaboration; social capital; and validation and relational supports. Access to these features was mediated by the type of professional culture reflected in the school and the trust the novices had in their colleagues. Access to these features also seemed to relate to the teachers’ overall sense of community. When these supports were limited or not available, it was reflected in a low level of satisfaction, but did not seem to affect the teacher’s commitment to the profession. Findings suggest that these teachers’ commitment to the profession is influenced by individual attributes such as motivation. These findings have implications for anyone who works with or has a vested interest in supporting novice teachers, including teacher education programs, induction program coordinators, mentors, administrators, and school districts.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Lynn M. Sikma
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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