For the love of teaching: Commitment of beginning secondary teachers in Seychelles Authors: Odile de Comarmond Dr Jane Abbiss Dr Susan Lovett University of Canterbury NZARE Conference – 28th – 30th November 2012 University of Waikato Hamilton, New Zealand
How committed are beginning teachers in Seychelles? • Brief outline of the context of the study • Aim and Significance • Methodology • Key findings
Why interest in teacher commitment in seychelles? • Fewer people entering the teaching profession • Observed challenges in retention of teachers • Teacher voice about their commitment in the profession and their trajectories • Explore possible link between TC and performance, satisfaction and retention
Defining teacher commitment • commitment’- “ a strong belief that something is good and you should support it”( Macmillan English Dictionary, 2007) • ‘Teacher commitment’- (Ebmeier and Nicklaus, 1999) • part of a teacher’s affective or emotional reaction to their experience in a school setting and the level of personal investment to a particular school or group of pupils.
Gap in literature • Recent study on teachers professional lives by Day et al., (2007) revealed that teachers’ commitment fluctuate over the years based on the personal and contextual circumstances; • My study is built on previous literature, but in a different context–that of a developing country
Current paper • Part of a larger study on commitment of secondary teachers across career stages • Focus on Newly Qualified Teachers, one of the case studies of the main study • Interest in beginning teachers as a concern for both the local context and worldwide
Methodology • Qualitative study with two main approaches: case study and phenomenography; • Phenomenography is an approach to explore “variations in experiences and perceptions of a phenomenon” (Marton, 1981) and organise the findings in categories of description. • Individual interviews have been the main data gathering tool
Participants 7 NQTs (5 were still in the system and 2 had left)
Key findings 1: Motivation to teach • Passion for the profession “I joined for the love of teaching-this is the job of my dream” (Marcus) • Inspired by others “My mother is a teacher, so I was inspired by her” (John) • Shortage of teachers in the country “I knew there was a shortage of teachers in the country” (Lise) • Love for children “I really love children” (Mandy)
Key findings 1 cont... • Desire to make a difference “I really wanted to make a difference in the lives of students” (Marcus) • New life style “Now that I have a child, teaching suits my new life style” (Lise) • Career advancement “Teaching opened up a new career opportunity for me” (Teddy) • Opportunity for further training “I was looking forward to go overseas for further training” (Lise) • School holidays “I like the holidays as I can spend time with my child” (Lise)
Key Findings 2: Conceptions of teacher commitment Personal spectrum Teacher commitment Professional spectrum
Key findings 3: Push/Pull Factors • Stayer: 1 teacher (John)- “I will remain until I can no longer work. This is how I am feeling right now.” (John) • Undecided- 1 teacher (Teddy) “I am still learning the job, because teacher education only gives you the basic” (Teddy) • Planning to leave: 3 teachers (Marcus, Lise and Mandy) “If I get a job tomorrow I will go.” (Marcus) “I am planning to leave when I fulfil my bonding agreement” (Lise) “I am planning to move to private schools” (Mandy) • Left: 2 teachers (Joel and Rana) “The leadership of the school was not supportive...” (Rana) “The workload was too much...” (Joel)
What do the findings show? • Motivation to teach→understandings of TC↔teachers’ professional lives • Complexity of TC: Not just personal traits, but intersection of personal values, attributes, and social, and structural systems • Majority planning to leave • +Personal values and attributes, support • -Reality shock and disillusion dominant • -Students’ behaviour and attitude
What next? • To address disillusion and reality shock ─ include personal identities of teachers in ITE • Supporting NQTs (induction, mentoring) • Students’ behaviour: NQTs need support from school leadership and the system • Workload→frustration, stress and burnout
What next? • Build on the core values and personalities of teachers • But this alone is not sufficient-need to provide the environment that will nurture these values to develop the professional identities and the sense of efficacy of these teachers • Concerted effort (policy, school leaders and teachers) to find ways to sustain commitment of these teachers and retain them in the profession
THANK YOU QUESTIONS/SUGGESTIONS?
Some references • Day, C., Sammons, P., Stobart, G., Kington, A., & Gu, Q. (2007). Teachers matter: Connecting work, lives and effectiveness. New York: Open University Press. • Marton, F. (1986). Phenomenography-A research approach to investigating different understandings of reality. Journal of Thought, 21(3), 28-49. • Ingersoll, R. M., & Smith, T. M. (2003). The wrong solution to teacher shortages. Educational Leadership, 60(8), 30-33. • Ebmeier, H., & Nicklaus, J. (1999). The impact of peer and principal collaborative supervision on teachers' trust, commitment. Journal of Curriculum & Supervision, 14(4), 351. • Cameron, M., Baker, R., & Lovett, S. (2006). Teachers of promise: Getting started in teaching. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.