Why they stayed: a study of the working lives of long serving teachers in inner city schools

McIntyre, Joanna (2010) Why they stayed: a study of the working lives of long serving teachers in inner city schools. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This study explores ways in which the experiences of long-serving teachers within three inner city schools can improve our understanding of factors that influence teachers to remain in the profession. The research is situated within a socio-political climate where there are concerns about teacher attrition in general and where the issue of teacher retention is perceived to be particularly acute in challenging schools. The thesis challenges the prevailing discourses surrounding inner city schools and the teachers who work in them by turning to the voices of experienced teachers and exploring their reasons for remaining in these schools.

The research was conducted with twenty long-serving teachers within a qualitative research paradigm employing semi-structured interviews. The design of the research was influenced by Goodson's concept of the 'Valhalla of voice' (2003). The analyses of these data comprise a 'bricolage' approach, blending thematic analysis with a discourse analysis of the teachers' use of conceptual metaphors. The theoretical underpinnings for these analyses were inspired and guided by the data generated. Tonnies' concepts of gemeinschaft and gesellschaft (2001) have been influential and the thesis identifies locational and relational ties as important factors in motivating teachers to commit to working in challenging schools and the communities they serve. The study suggests that a more informed understanding of community context and of the 'funds of knowledge' (Gonzalez, Moll and Amanti 2005) that exist within that community enhances the experiences of teachers working within the community.

Analysis of the metaphors used by the teachers provides insights into how they form their professional identities and respond to the demands of teaching in challenging schools. The study shows that dominant discourses around challenging schools and the teachers who choose to work in them need to be questioned and that there is not one homogenised way in which teachers experience their work. The study thus calls for policy-makers and researchers to find ways of recognising and valuing teachers' individual strengths and commitments in order to support retention in the profession.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Hall, C.J.
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
ID Code:1652
Deposited By:Dr Joanna McIntyre
Deposited On:19 May 2011 12:11
Last Modified:19 May 2011 12:11

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