Ample research has identified and sought to understand the problem of high teacher turnover and low morale in U.S. schools. One consistent finding is that teachers’ working conditions have a pronounced impact on their wellbeing, sense of efficacy, and career decisions. This dissertation presents findings from a mixed-methods study exploring teachers’ work lives in “teacher-powered schools,” where teachers have collective decision-making authority (CDMA) to shape their schools as workplaces. Evidence from observations and interviews with 31 staff members at 3 teacher-powered schools coupled with survey responses from 342 teachers in 39 schools is used to characterize teacher-powered schools as a group and support five counter-narratives of teacher work life within them. Implications for teacher professional vitality—a holistic concept bridging teacher motivation, commitment, and retention—are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2020. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: Peter Demerath, Nicola Alexander. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 554 pages.
“Where I Bloomed”: Exploring Teacher Professional Vitality in the Teacher-Powered School.
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