The Induction of Early Career Teachers of African-American/Latino Students in an Urban High-Needs School: A Narrative Study in Resilience

The education world is facing a growing concern for its beginning or early career teachers (ECTs) in regard to retention, especially in urban high-needs schools with predominately African-American/Latino students. The retention of ECTs is dismal, 50% attrition in five years in urban high-needs schools where teachers are most needed because of the challenges and the lack of support. In the first five years, the significant effects of these challenges are teacher attrition due to factors such as the lacking of resources, appropriate working conditions, school leadership, collegial relationships, positive school culture, professional development, and mentoring. Previous literature has shown that when ECTs in urban high-needs schools are supported through induction and the school community, there are factors of resilience that influence their decision to stay despite the challenges. This study explores a deeper understanding of how to prevent attrition of ECTs in urban high-needs schools of African-American/Latino students with average to low teacher turnover by asking about the challenges and support they received during and after their first two years of induction and the resilience factors that influenced their decision to stay. This qualitative narrative study used audio recorded interview data from eight elementary and middle school ECTs in an urban high-needs school with African-American/Latino students. The findings from the research on these eight ECTs, despite their challenges in self efficacy, teacher workload, student behavior, lack of resources, and induction, described their support from colleagues, administrators, online resources, family, and induction, and that the impact of their ability to connect and build rapport with their students was described as the most contributing factor of resilience that influenced why they stayed. The findings of this researcher further illustrated that ECT retention in urban high-needs schools with African-American/Latino students can increase when teachers feel supported and when they are aware of the factors of resilience that influences their decision to stay. The findings offered insight into another factor in teacher resilience, which is that context mattered for these eight ECTs who stayed; they stayed because of the context of the community’s diverse population. One implication of the study is for teacher programs to explore factors of teacher resilience with pre-service teachers in the context that the teacher will be employed during post-service teaching. The second implication is for districts to include interview questions that explore the intentions of new hires and their resilience factors to the community and to grow ECT support from within and/or hire teachers who have a strong history or connection with the district.