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“In It for the Long Haul”—


This study explores a constellation of factors that contribute to the retention of teachers in high-poverty, urban schools. It focuses on one cohort of the University of California at Berkeley's Multicultural Urban Secondary English Credential and MA Program, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data to track the careers of 26 novice teachers through their 5th year after receiving their credential. The authors reconsider the categories traditionally used to determine whether teachers stay or leave and offer ways to track those who stay or leave high-poverty, urban schools, including the use of a category of "movers" to describe teachers who leave urban classroom teaching yet remain active in urban education. They conclude with a discussion of factors that seem to contribute to teachers staying in high-poverty, urban schools and educational settings. Besides a state scholarship program, these include (a) a sense of mission, which was reinforced and developed by the teacher education program; (b) a disposition for hard work and persistence, which was reinforced and developed by the teacher education program; (c) substantive preparation that included both the practical and the academic and harmony between the two; (d) training in assuming the reflective stance of a teacher researcher; (e) the opportunity, given the high demand for teachers in high-poverty schools, to be able to change schools or districts yet still remain in their chosen profession; and (f) ongoing support from members of the cohort as well as other supportive professional networks across the years. © 2009 Sage Publications.

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