College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Barbara Rieckhoff

Second Advisor

William Hoecker

Third Advisor

Hilary Conklin

Abstract

Finding out what keeps teachers engaged, satisfied and feeling successful during their mid-career years is an area that needs further examination. Moreover, what professional development practices do teachers need to thrive and adapt to modern learning practices after their 4th year in the classroom? All teachers, regardless of where they are in their career, should be valued and deserve professional development. To avoid the feeling of a “dull routine,” one may suggest that providing differentiated professional development offerings may sustain a feeling of meaningful work for mid-career teachers. These teachers may be at risk of becoming stagnant in their careers, disconnected with educational initiatives and eventually isolated from their colleagues who sometimes already have targeted professional development when they begin their careers. For contextual purposes, a history of professional development, description of various professional development models, and examples of effective professional development are included in this paper. In addition, a qualitative study was conducted eliciting feedback from 5 mid-career teachers. The teachers who were included in this study are in the defined “mid-career” stage, which is at least 5 years or more. The findings concluded that mid-career teachers were provided with a form of professional development, however the content was generally unrelated to what they found useful. Identified themes were that teachers’ voice and choice were often missing. For example, teachers felt if they were consulted more about specific needs, their time spent with professional development models would be much more effective. An additional theme identified was a feeling of isolation; they felt disconnected from the district vision and initiatives when decisions about what professional development courses were offered. Further research is needed in this area to avoid wasteful spending of money and time. Administrators in districts who have control over available professional development should consider attending to their needs.

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