Date of Award

Fall 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Christine D. Thomas

Second Advisor

Dr. Pier A. Junor Clarke

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathyrn A. Kozaitis

Fourth Advisor

Dr. David W. Stinson


In 2007, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported in their 2004-2005 Teacher Follow-up Survey that nearly 20% of U.S. teachers leave the profession after their first year of teaching and almost 30% leave after the fourth year of teaching. These percentages are even greater for mathematics teachers.

Using symbolic interactionism, adult learning, and partnership as a theoretical framework, this ethnographic case study investigated and examined the factors that influenced second-career mathematics teachers to remain in the teaching profession and their experiences with instructional coaching. The following guiding research question and sub-questions were pursued in the study: Why have four second-career mathematics teachers remained in their role for 5 or more years? What are the teachers’ experiences with instructional coaching? How would they describe coaching? Which aspects of coaching do the teachers find least and most beneficial? How would you improve the coaching program?

A purposeful sampling was used in the selection of participants. The four participants were African-American mathematics teachers; three women and one man. The participants are second-career teachers, and they all have been coached. The research is based on data collected from teacher narratives, participant observation, photo elicitation, and focus groups. Data were analyzed and categorized as follows: making a difference in a student’s life, teacher resiliency, job satisfaction, and support. Data analysis showed evidence of all four factors of retention for one or more of the participants, although the factors have varying degrees of influence.


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