Facing Attrition: The Lived Experiences of Emerging Adult Teachers in Public Education

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Southern New Hampshire University
This multiple case study was conducted for the purpose of exploring the developmental readiness of emerging adult teachers in relation to teacher attrition. Introduction to the notion of development in relation to teacher readiness was explored specifically in response to the rate of attrition among emerging adult teachers and the overall decline in student achievement and the perpetuations of America’s achievement and opportunity gaps. Consideration of readiness in respect to cognitive and psychological development were explored using the tenets of Jeffrey Arnett’s theory of Emerging Adulthood with a total of six study participants. Specifically, this study examined the impact of life decisions in relation to identity formation occurring between the ages of 18 and 29. With emerging adults being precariously and metaphorically affixed in a position of having one foot in adulthood and the other in adolescence, this study sought to reveal relevant factors that attributed to both the professional and personal identity of emerging adult teachers who had left the teaching profession. With the focus of this study providing a perspective for attrition- from a developmental perspective, it is hoped that the knowledge gained from this study will add to the further research and dialogue on attrition, and lead to further studies in the future focusing specifically in the area of developmental psychology.