Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hare, R. Dwight

Committee Member

Walker, Linda

Committee Member

Thomas, George

Committee Member

Bryan, Laura

Committee Member

Brenner, Devon

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Elementary Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Britt (1998) indicated that to get to the heart of the complex issues first year teachers face, it is necessary to give first year teachers an opportunity to tell their own stories of their experiences as neophytes. The purpose of this study was to share the experiences of first year teachers. Of particular interest was how well these first year teachers believed their teacher preparation program had prepared them. The research question posed for this study was: How do graduates of Mississippi State University describe their first year teaching experience? A multiple-case design was used in this research study. Because this research was exploratory and descriptive, and because it had multiple cases, the replication approach to multiple-case studies was employed. The researcher was the instrument used for the collection of data. Five first year teachers participated in this study. All graduated from Mississippi State University and were teaching for the first time during the 2003-2004 school year. Six major themes emerged from the data. These themes were: (a) a feeling of being overwhelmed, (b) dealing with student misbehavior, (c) concern for student learning, (d) ineffective mentoring, (e) understanding the local culture, particularly in the area of discipline, and (f) lack of commitment to remain in the teaching profession. Three additional concerns of three participants emerged as well. These were: (a) negative student teaching experience, (b) conflict with parents, and (c) difficulties with other professionals. Recommendations included: (a) re-examining the practicum experience throughout the teacher education program, (b) implementing a follow-up program for graduates of the teacher education program, (c) re-examining the critical needs scholarship, and (d) implementing a study concerning student teacher placement.



Teacher Case Studies||Teacher Education||Beginning Teachers||First-year teachers