Term of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Charles Reavis

Committee Member 1

Anne Marshall

Committee Member 2

Jessie Strickland

Abstract

Studies have revealed that working conditions play an integral role in teachers' decisions to remain in the profession or in their current school. Additionally, studies have found that administrative support is a factor frequently cited by teachers as a component of their working conditions. Administrators are in a position allowing them to directly influence the working conditions of teachers and indirectly influence the retention of teachers. Therefore, a need existed for a deeper more complete understanding of exactly how administrator - teacher relations at the secondary level influence veteran regular education teachers' perceptions of support. In this study, the researcher examined veteran teachers at the secondary level to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences with administrative support. A phenomenological research approach was employed to gather details about the lived experiences of the participants. The participants for this study were purposefully selected from two high schools in a school district in Southeast Georgia, and semi-structured interviews were conducted. The transcripts of the interviews were used along with reflective notes, made by the researcher, to analyze the data and answer the research questions. A number of conclusions were reached based on the findings of the study. When administrators handle student discipline issues on a consistent basis, in a timely manner, and with appropriate consequences the veteran teachers feel supported. Additionally, when administrators support the teachers by refusing to allow parents to treat them disrespectfully and upholding decisions made by the teachers they feel self-assured and appreciative. Administrators who maintain an open door policy, keep an open mind, and express a sincere interest in listening to the teachers also make them feel supported. Moreover, veteran teachers feel respected as professionals when administrators value their input and trust them to do their jobs. Administrators who show their appreciation for teachers by recognizing and rewarding their achievements are also appreciated. Furthermore, when administrators support teachers by demonstrating their care for them as individuals, the teachers believe the working environment is improved. Finally, the veteran teachers appreciate administrators, who support them by being visible, initiating frequent communication, and providing the resources they need to be successful.

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