New teachers' perceptions of teacher leaders: trust in the educational setting

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Southern New Hampshire University
In the era of increased accountability in education, there has been a specific movement by school systems to increase the professional development opportunities for new teachers in an attempt to support and retain them. Schools have put a strong focus on the use of teacher leaders as a method to support the needs of new teachers. Understanding the relationship between the use of formal teacher leaders and new teacher development will assist schools in meeting higher standards. This study considered the role of trust in the relationship between new teachers and their teacher leaders. Specifically, this study aimed to explore how the role of trust affected the perceptions new teachers hold for their teacher leaders. Using a qualitative case study design, the researcher gathered and analyzed data from the Omnibus T-Scale Survey (Hoy & Tschannen-Moran, 2003), the Teacher Leadership School Survey (Katzenmeyer & Katzenmeyer, 2005), along with interviews and focus groups to eight new teachers in two Pre-K-8 schools. The researcher identified those characteristics that new teachers found most beneficial in their teacher leaders and how the presence or absence of trust affected their perceptions. Study findings support the proposition that trust has an effect on the relationships new teachers build with their teacher leaders, the support new teachers seek from their teacher leaders, as well as the benefit of teacher leadership roles for new teacher development. The researcher begins to advance a theoretical framework that describes the need to improve the methods in which teacher leadership programs influence new teacher professional development within schools.(Author abstract)