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"It's Where My Heart Is": Exploring Fast-Track Urban Teachers' Career Decisions and Perceptions of Teaching

Mon, April 12, 9:30 to 11:00am EDT (9:30 to 11:00am EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Lives of Teachers Paper and Symposium Sessions


New teacher attrition in the U.S. contributes to an unstable teacher workforce and educational inequities. This paper investigates how those who initially entered teaching for the short-term perceive the teaching profession and explain their career decisions. Preliminary findings suggest that some teachers’ decisions to stay in teaching reflected their perceptions of teachers’ potential social impact and opportunities for professional growth. Whereas some teacher leavers experienced professional stagnation and came to see teaching as a poor fit, others were more reluctant leavers, citing burnout and challenging relationships with school leaders and staff. This study builds on a call for more qualitative inquiry into teacher retention that (re)centers teachers’ perspectives on their own careers and moves beyond singular explanations for attrition.