Date of Award

7-2017

Type

Dissertation

Major

Doctor of Education

Department

Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

Abstract

The field of education has endured a significant shortage of qualified teachers for several decades (Prather-Jones, 2011). Over the past 20 years, across the U.S, a shortage in special education teachers has existed (Major, 2012; Prather-Jones, 2011). Special education teachers left the field of education at a greater rate than regular education teachers (Major, 2012). In order to ensure students with disabilities received appropriate educational instruction, it was important to retain special education teachers who were knowledgeable educators in the field of special education. This research focused on gaining a better understanding of special education teacher resiliency of special education teachers who stayed in the field of special education for seven years or longer. To answer the research questions, the researcher utilized a qualitative study using a narrative inquiry grounded theory approach. Participants were from one public school district in West Georgia. The participants were required to meet a set of criteria in order to participate. Having identified the participants and gained consent (see Appendix G), the researcher distributed demographic questionnaires (see Appendix B), conducted a focus group, and individual interviews with participants. The resulting data were analyzed using a constant comparative process utilizing codes of themes that emerged from the participants’ narrative responses. The findings resulted in all teachers having perceptions of resiliency which contributed to their long term commitment to continue in the teaching profession as a special educator. The teachers also provided explanations for remaining in special education as their commitment to their students, positive administrator interaction and their own resiliency.

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