An analysis of stress factors and induction practices that influence a novice teacher's intention to stay in the profession

Sherri Lynette Cousin

Abstract

One of the dilemmas that has plagued the field of education is teacher induction practices and its connection to attrition in the profession. "Teachers have enormous potential to [impact] the lives of students...effect change, to inspire, or tragically, to defeat." [However] while teachers occupy "such a critical position in society, they receive an 'almost abrupt' introduction to full-time teaching" (Kestner, 1994, p. 39). Thus, in reality, the education profession has fallen short in preparing and orientating new teachers in the profession and, as a consequence, has lost valuable teachers who leave the teaching field feeling overwhelmed, ill-equipped, and incompetent (Hope, 1999). In doing so, the purpose of this study was to (a) analyze the relationship between those novice teachers who intend to stay in the teaching profession with those who do not; (b) identify those variables that influence that decision; and (c) determine if working conditions, job satisfaction, satisfaction with the quantity and quality of professional and peer support, teacher self-efficacy, stress induced by student misbehavior, certification routes, and satisfaction with induction experience influenced commitment level. This study was conducted in one south Mississippi school district. Participants were drawn from 10 separate schools--four elementary, two middle, three high schools, and one vocational school. Teachers wish one to 5 years of teaching experience, typically referred to as novice teachers, were asked to participate since the vast majority of teachers who opt to leave the profession do so at or by their fifth year of teaching. Participants were selected from a pool of 250 novice teachers. A total of 166 teachers, however, voluntarily agreed to participate. Once the data were collected and inputted, a multiple regression analysis and/or an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was run. Post-hoc comparisons were run under ANOVA, where applicable. R change, beta weights, and variable significance were discussed under each regression in order to determine predictive value on the dependent variable (level of commitment).