Common Problems Experienced by First Year Alternatively Certified Teachers: A Qualitative Study

Li-Ching Hung, Cary Stacy Smith


The teacher shortage throughout the United States, especially in areas considered “at-risk,†has reached an alarming level. Novice teachers often decide not to return after one year of service, with the number of teachers not returning doubling at five years. One possible means of overcoming these two problems is alternative certification programs. In order to better understand these problems, six first-year teachers who had received their Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree were interviewed using aqualitative case study design. This study focused on: (a) the challenges beginning MAT teachers faced, (b) the MAT teachers’ perceptions of their training program, and (c) their attitudes toward their teaching careers. Among the six participants, five wanted to quit teaching in the near future, with only one, an older second-career teacher, deciding to remain in the profession. The information gleaned from this study could help teachers and their administrators understand the challenges beginning teachers face.


alternative certification; Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT); teacher retention; teacher shortage

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