Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Kenneth Tierce

Primary Subject Area

Education, Administration; Education, Educational Psychology; Education, General; Education, Secondary; Education, Vocational; Education, Teacher Training; Education, Sociology of

Keywords

extroverted, introverted, persistence, phenomenological, self-efficacy

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Secondary Education and Teaching | Sociology | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

This phenomenological study investigated the lived experiences of 12 secondary school teachers from public secondary schools in northern Georgia regarding their feelings about self-efficacy and why they have persisted in the teaching profession. The research questions centered around their perceptions on how self-efficacy influences the academic achievement of their students, on what personality characteristics they feel teachers add to their positive or negative self-esteem in teaching, and on what factors they identify as influencing their professional self-efficacy in teaching. Teacher self-efficacy, the belief in oneself to succeed at completing a task, is a key factor in retaining teachers. Four data collection methods were implemented to explore teacher self-efficacy: two focus groups, interviews, a self-efficacy assessment test, and open-ended survey questions. Results revealed that teachers believed that they would not remain in the profession if they felt they were not making a difference in the students' lives. The teachers repeatedly mentioned administrative support as a factor they believe impacts their self-efficacy. In addition, the attitude of surrounding teachers, collective self-efficacy, and students impacted their self-efficacy. Several of the teachers listed faith and exercise as two contributing factors to remaining in the profession with a continued sense of self-efficacy. The study revealed that teachers must have confidence in their specific subject area to retain self-efficacy in a classroom. In summary, the 12 teachers interviewed noted self-efficacy in teaching as being influenced by surrounding factors, including physical, spiritual, and mental health.