Beginning teachers: the connection between expectations and job satisfaction

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Southern New Hampshire University
This qualitative, multiple case study aimed to better understand beginning teachers’ expectations of the profession, and the role that expectations play in overall job satisfaction. The need for the study is rooted in the reality that schools are faced with the problem of high rates of beginning teacher turnover that impacts school budgets and student achievement. In order to better understand the factors that lead to teacher turnover, the study focused on job satisfaction and used Oliver’s Expectation Confirmation Theory (1977/1980) as a framework to guide the study. The study included five teachers in New England with one to three years of teaching experience and explored their expectations of teaching, how their expectations matched up to the reality of teaching, and the impact that expectations played in their job satisfaction. Data was collected through the use of a survey, focus group, interviews, document review, and member checking. Findings indicate that teachers prioritize their expectations and that those expectations do influence job satisfaction. Additional findings indicate that beginning teachers expect to: enter the profession prepared to fulfill the requirement of the position, have the ability to make a difference, and be provided with support from their colleagues. The researcher recommends that institutions that prepare teachers and administrators rethink their curriculum and that schools provide more support for beginning teachers. (Author abstract)