An examination of professional support in the life of the experienced urban primary teacher
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The purpose of this study was to determine how experienced primary school teachers, in urban settings, can be supported in their professional lives. Teacher turnover is a challenge both here in England and internationally. Teacher turnover can be expensive for schools, disruptive for students and problematic for both the teachers who stay and for the teachers who leave. I argue that, developing a deeper understanding of how experienced primary teachers can be supported in their professional lives appears necessary to improve teacher retention and consequently have a positive impact on a student’s school experience. This research examined the experiences of twelve urban, primary school teachers who had been teaching for more than five years. Using semi structured in-depth walking interviews, data was audio recorded, transcribed and then coded with themes. Findings from this research are that working conditions have a huge impact on a teacher’s professional experience, with leaders being the key to whether a teacher feels supported or not. Leaders may wish to consider foregrounding working conditions as a priority in their management of a school.
The three key findings are: leaders set the context for the teachers’ supportive environment; teachers who have worked for more than five years appear to experience additional emotions due to a better understanding of their professional role; walking interviews are an effective way to elicit quality data.