School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Russ Claxton


Novice, Elementary, Teacher, Mathematics, Math, Preparation


Education | Educational Leadership | Elementary Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe novice elementary teachers’ experiences with preparedness to teach mathematics in a large school district in southeastern Massachusetts. In defining the novice elementary teachers’ experiences, I looked at the participants’ self-efficacy through the lens of Bandura’s self-efficacy theory. Self-efficacy was defined as how confident the novice teachers were in regard to their ability to teach mathematics. The focus of this study was how adequately prepared the teachers felt teaching elementary mathematics but also investigated how the teachers felt about their readiness to address the challenges students experience in mathematics. The following research question provided the framework for this study: What are the lived experiences of novice elementary teachers as described through their self-efficacy in teaching mathematics? For the purpose of this study, novice teachers are defined as teachers with five years or less experience, and elementary is defined as first grade through sixth grade. I used individual interviews in conjunction with a demographic survey, a writing prompt, and Hoy and Woolfolk’s Teacher Efficacy Scale, as means of data collection. Data was analyzed using Moustakas’ transcendental phenomenological reduction process. Overall, the participants described how incredibly underprepared the felt not only in teaching mathematics, but also with addressing the challenges that arise in their classroom. They provided suggestions for areas they were not taught during their teacher preparation program and talked about their doubts about entering into education with such a lack of training.