Teacher-Efficacy and Cultural Receptivity as Predictors of Burnout in Novice Urban Teachers after One Year of Teaching
Swearingen, M. Keli (author)
Roehrig, Alysia D. (professor directing dissertation)
Iatarola, Patrice (outside committee member)
Turner, Jeannine (committee member)
Phillips, Beth (committee member)
Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
Each year about 580,000 teachers enter the classroom as new hires (Provasnik & Dorfman, 2005). Those that enter urban classrooms for the first time often fall prey to the plight of inner city schools, which have high rates of student failure and teacher turnover. The goal of this study is to use longitudinal data to examine the relationship between Year 1 (n = 120) and Returning Teachers' (n = 73) initial perceptions of teacher-efficacy and cultural receptivity as predictors of teacher burnout in the urban setting one year later. Participants include first year, second year and alumni teacher-members of the Americorps Teach For America program. Data were collected via self-report questionnaires at two time points. Data collection included assessments of three characteristics: teaching efficacy, cultural receptivity and burnout. Previous research indicates that teachers with high levels of teacher-efficacy are less likely to feel professional burnout and leave the career (Betoret, 2006; Chwalisz, Altmaier, & Russell, 1992; Freidman, 2003). It is possible that programs structured to develop and maintain high levels of teaching efficacy during the teachers' first years would be successful in preventing attrition from urban schools. However, little is known about the development of teacher-efficacy, cultural receptivity, and burnout over the initial year of novice teachers' career. Analysis of the initial teacher-efficacy and cultural receptivity levels from preservice, first year and second year teachers in Teach for America were significantly different across groups (Swearingen, 2008). As novice teachers maintain contact with diverse populations in their classroom and school, it is possible that they redefine their personal level of cultural receptivity. There were three goals for this study. The first goal was to determine if teachers' perceptions of their levels of efficacy, cultural receptivity, and burnout change over time (Wave 1 = prior to starting first or second year of teaching and Wave 2 = prior to starting second or third year of teaching) and whether this change varies with amount of experience (Year 1 and Returning Teachers). The second goal was to determine if the initial levels of teacher-efficacy and cultural receptivity predict teacher-efficacy perceptions one year later. The final goal more specifically addressed the issue of high urban teacher attrition. This third goal was to determine if the initial levels of teacher-efficacy and cultural receptivity predict teacher burnout perceptions one year later and whether cultural receptivity may act as a buffer to perceptions of burnout. As expected the urban teachers (preservice and novice) experienced significant changes to beliefs of efficacy, cultural receptivity, and burnout over the course of the 2007/08 school year. Initially, cultural receptivity was expected to be a mediating variable in the relationship between teacher-efficacy and burnout. Results from the initial data collection, which provided data for Wave 1 in the study, indicate cultural receptivity is a predictor of urban teacher burnout, which is also connected to potential teacher attrition (Swearingen, 2008). It was anticipated that initial levels of cultural receptivity would add to the predictability of expected teacher-efficacy and burnout levels one year later. Cultural receptivity failed to have a strong presence in the relationship between teacher-efficacy and burnout. Cultural receptivity did not add to the power of teacher-efficacy to predict the efficacy or burnout of novice teachers (Year 1 or Returning Teachers) after a year of full time teaching (an additional year for Returning Teachers). Nevertheless, as an independent variable, used to create the cultural receptivity groups of High, Medium and Low, the influence of cultural receptivity, on the variables of teacher-efficacy and burnout, adds to the preexisting body of literature. Countering the expected pattern of developing teacher-efficacy and novice teacher burnout, those teachers that indicated lower levels of cultural receptivity reported an increase in the teacher-efficacy between Wave 1 and Wave 2. These teachers with lower levels of cultural receptivity also reported a decline in their perceptions of burnout after the 2007/08 school year. A discussion of the implications of the findings is included in the discussion.
Teach For America, Burnout, Teacher-Efficacy, Cultural Receptivity, Novice Teacher Attrition, Urban Education
March 30, 2009.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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