Theses Doctoral

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Accomplished Novice Urban Teachers Explain Their Decisions

Allen, Jennifer Ann

What factors—personal, contextual, and professional—contribute to accomplished early career urban teachers’ perceptions of effectiveness and their decisions to stay or leave their classrooms? The finding of this study was that no single factor is responsible for whether a teacher chooses to stay or leave his or her classroom; however, there is a constellation of factors that plays a role in both supporting and frustrating teachers; how the teachers respond to these factors and how these factors interact help to explain their decisions. What differentiates the degree of impact of the institutional or professional factors on the teachers’ morale and, ultimately, on their decisions to stay or leave their classrooms are the other mitigating factors—namely, the personal and contextual factors that either bolster the teachers or diminish their level of commitment.

Seven connecting assertions are drawn from an examination of the commonalities and differences between and among cases regarding the factors that contribute to each teacher’s perception of success and influence his or her career decision to stay in or leave the urban classroom. These assertions regarding the factors that contribute to teachers’ perceptions of success and their career decisions include:

• the alignment of each teacher’s classroom experience with his or her expectations shaped by earlier events and relationships
• the ability of each teacher to cope with and manage the day-to-day challenges by incorporating self-care and cognitive reframing strategies in order to maintain optimism, resilience, and well-being
• the establishment of a relationship of mutual and reciprocated trust with the school leader(s)
• the teacher’s perceived quality of relationships with colleagues
• the teacher’s perceived ability to establish individual, personal, and authentic connections with students
• the ability to make decisions regarding curriculum and pedagogical practice
• the ability to tolerate and navigate constant and seemingly questionable change


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Hatch, Thomas
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
July 27, 2020