Date of Conferral







Richard C. Thompson


New teachers bring hope, optimism, and excitement for teaching and learning from their individual preparatory programs to their classrooms at the start of every new school year. However, research indicates a large number of those teachers leave the field of teaching within a 5-year timeframe. The consequence of this loss of professionals has a deep-rooted impact on student achievement and learning. This loss also has considerable career and financial implications for the field of education. The reasons for this exodus are varied and somewhat broad in nature and scope. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of social influence and decision-making for novice teachers in K to 12 public schools in the State of New Jersey. The conceptual framework for this study included the theories of social identity, and social categorization. Using descriptive phenomenology, data were collected from 6 face-to-face novice teacher interviews. The results of this study yielded 5 main themes: teaching responsibilities, social experiences, novice teacher support, organizational decision-making, and career longevity and retention. The study found that across these themes, social influences and organizational decision-making can have a positive or negative influence on novice teacher identity and potentially encourage novice teacher retention. Employers may benefit from this study by tailoring induction and training procedures to meet the voiced needs of novice teachers, creating positive social change in the work environment where new teachers feel welcome to openly contribute and participate as valued members of their workplace community.