A Qualitative Study Exploring the Lived-Experiences that Influence African American K-12 Teachers to Remain in the Teaching Profession

Kelli R Peterson, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore experiences that influence Black teachers’ decisions to remain in the teaching workforce by interviewing Black teachers who have remained in the classroom between three and 15 years. The significance of this study lies in the disproportionality of African American teachers within U.S. public schools, as 81.9% of U.S. public school teachers are White, but only 6.8% are identified as Black (NCES, 2013). In order to advocate for more Black teachers within classrooms, a platform for their voices and experiences must exist in order to understand their perspective on remaining in the classroom, and the specific factors that have influenced that decision. This analysis applies a qualitative research design, using a transcendental phenomenology approach. Through face to face interviews, 6 Black teachers, with three to 15 years of teaching experience and currently employed as a K-12 teacher offered specific experiences that contributed to them remaining in the teaching profession. In response to why they teach and continue to teach, the findings were divided into two themes: service to their community and being a role model. Additionally, the life experiences that were pivotal to catapulting them into a career of teaching and keeping them in the career were also examined, from childhood experiences that exposed them to teaching, to international experiences that opened their eyes to the desire to expose children who look like them to the world they have come to know. These findings were divided into two themes: telling the truth about being Black and outperforming the status quo. Concluding, recommendations are offered for teacher preparation programs, school administrators, and future research.^

Subject Area

Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Kelli R Peterson, "A Qualitative Study Exploring the Lived-Experiences that Influence African American K-12 Teachers to Remain in the Teaching Profession" (2017). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10606716.
https://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI10606716

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