• Career Decisions: Goodness-Of-Fit and Attrition of Teachers in Alternative Schools

      Coulter, Deidre S. (2010-09-21)
      Teachers are the most important element in the education system (Stronge, 2002). However, studies of teachers in certain sectors are lacking. The paucity of research on teachers who work in the alternative school environment was a driving force behind this study, which is a case study of the characteristics of alternative schools, perceptions of teacher training, attrition, and goodness-of-fit. Interviews with teachers, administrators, and support staff in an alternative school were used to investigate interactions between teachers and students and between colleagues. Classroom observations of the teachers were used to help explore the classroom climate. Emergent themes such as communication, administrative support, and a holistic view of the student population are explored using the filter of symbolic interaction theory in order to describe the characteristics of effective alternative school teachers, administrators, and staff. Symbolic interaction theory uses the internal shorthand that individuals develop to identify how their actions reflect their thoughts and feelings about the setting in which they find themselves. Implications for future research on the teacher-environment fit in alternative schools are discussed.