Beginning Teachers' Experiences Working in a Low-Performing School with a Non-District Affiliated New Teacher Support Coach
Although most schools and districts today provide induction programs including assignment of mentors to beginning teachers, the problem of retaining teachers past their first 3 years remains a critical problem, particularly in low-performing schools. Knowing that many beginning teachers lack experience and face a variety of challenges including classroom management, effective lesson plan design and implementation, and negative working conditions, novice teachers need comprehensive professional and emotional support not only to retain them in the classroom but also to improve their quality sooner. Traditional research often excludes the voices of beginning teachers who are often written about instead of being allowed to express their own experiences. This qualitative study focuses on the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program, a Race-to-the-Top funded induction program that provides additional support to any beginning teacher who is placed in a high-needs school. The program provides teachers a full-time New Teacher Support Coach who is not affiliated with the district but instead an anchor university. Using an adult learning theory model, this study examined the experiences of 14 beginning teachers working in low-achieving schools with the support of a non-district affiliated coach. The questions guiding this research were "How do beginning teachers perceive their first years of teaching in low-performing schools?"; "How do beginning teachers perceive the difference between non-district affiliated support coaches and support provided by the school and/or district?"; and "How has having a non-district afflicted coach impacted the self-efficacy and development of beginning teachers in low-performing schools in North Carolina?" Findings suggest that beginning teachers face a variety of challenges and surprises upon entering the profession and that beginning teachers valued the support provided by their non-district affiliated coach. Findings also suggest that having a non-district affiliated coach positively impacted the self-efficacy and development of beginning teachers.