Date of Conferral







Felicia Blacher-Wilson


Teacher attrition has continued to be problem across the United States, especially in urban, high-need districts. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to identify the coping strategies of alternatively certified teachers in urban, high-need schools in order to understand how teachers overcome factors contributing to attrition. Research questions centered on the perceived challenges and stressors of alternatively certified teachers as well as the coping strategies that support their retention. The conceptual framework was based on Bronfenbrenner's theory of ecological development. Criterion sampling was used to identify experienced alternatively prepared teachers who had persisted for at least 4 years within an urban, high-need district. Data consisting of in-depth, semistructured interviews, online journals, and documents were coded inductively, using pattern coding for the purpose of explanation building across cases. Four primary themes related to stressors were identified: student behaviors and motivation, workload, administrator stress, and colleague stress. The 6 main themes related to coping strategies were social activities, professional learning, wellness and exercise, avoidance behaviors, school community support, and recreation and pastimes. The implications are that teachers may use the findings to gain strategies that can empower them to persist in challenging placements, and students may have increased access to experienced teachers. In addition, school administrators and alternative preparation programs may use the findings to provide teachers with proactive strategies for retention before they begin to experience stressors.