Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hare, R. Dwight

Committee Member

Benton, Gary J.

Committee Member

Walker, Linda W.

Committee Member

Brocato, D. Kay

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Elementary Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Approximately 25% of beginning teachers leave the profession after the first year, and 50% have left by the end of their fifth years. The purpose of this study was to provide an opportunity for beginning teachers to identify and prioritize their problems and to state their solutions to those problems. Three research questions guided this study, which extended the research on perceived problems begun by Veenman and Ganser: (a) What are the perceived problems of beginning elementary education teachers?, (b) How do Veenman?s (1984) ranked list and Ganser?s (1999b) ranked list of 24 perceived problems compare with the problems identified in question one?, and (c) What are the beginning elementary education teachers?proposed solutions for success?. The stratified random sampling technique was used to choose participants, who were beginning teachers who graduated from Mississippi State University (MSU) and Mississippi State University?Meridian Campus (MSU-M) during the years of 1996-2000. All but one of the 103 participants were female; 95 were Caucasians; six were African-Americans; one was a Native American; and one participant was classified as ?other? Seventy participants were graduates of MSU, and 33 were from MSU-M. This descriptive study included qualitative and quantitative research methods using questionnaires and interviews. A pilot study was conducted; however, the results were not used as part of the data for the main study. The top perceived problem was a sense of being overwhelmed. The second major problem was time, which included: (a) burden of clerical work, (b) heavy teaching load resulting in insufficient preparation time, and (c) taking up money and other morning activities. The third major problem was students?needs. Participants felt accountable for dealing with slow learners and for dealing with problems of individual students. Participants offered solutions primarily for improving teaching conditions and for making changes in teacher education programs. Recommendations included: (a) providing support systems for beginning teachers, such as mentors, (b) conducting studies of graduates each year to find strengths and weaknesses of the program, and (c) replicating this study in other Mississippi universities and in other states.



beginning teachers||Teacher education||teacher retention