Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Alley, Kathleen

Committee Member

Brenner, Devon G.

Committee Member

Lemley, Stephanie M.

Committee Member

Elder, Anastasia D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education


This descriptive case study examined the perceptions of 6 beginning teachers regarding the supports offered to them during their 1st year of teaching. Based on purposeful and convenience sampling through administrative recommendations, the participants included 4 middle school 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers in their 2nd year of teaching. I collected data from documents and multiple interviews to understand the needs of beginning teachers and how to best support them. Utilizing the social cognitive learning framework, I analyzed the results in terms of which supports provided vicarious reinforcements, self-reinforcements, and ultimately self-efficacy. These perceptions and understandings were then compared to what is recommended in the research literature.

The results of the study provide insight into the perceptions and understandings of the participants as they transitioned to their new roles as teachers. Findings suggest (1) new teachers need to be formally assigned a mentor in close proximity to them, (2) administrators should explicitly schedule times for novice teachers to observe effective instructional practices, and (3) a lack of administrative support can be offset by other positive, collegial relationships. Such findings suggest multiple implications for both school building administrators and teacher preparation programs.