Quality retention and resilience in the middle and later years of teaching

Female postgraduate student teaching pupils, Nottingham University Samworth Academy (NUSA)

Presented by the Centre for Research in Educational Leadership and Management seminars and Professor Christopher Day, University of Nottingham.

This seminar focuses on research that has investigated how mid- and later-career teachers sustain or do not sustain their commitment to teaching to the best of their ability. Closely associated with this, it examines their capacity for resilience in changing policy contexts that may challenge or threaten their otherwise relatively stable sense of professional identity, sense of agency, moral purpose and perceived teaching effectiveness.

It draws upon evidence from a range of international research that:

1.    resilience is both a psychological and socio-cultural phenomenon which is best understood as not only an innate disposition or asset but as a latent, dynamic, relational process within a social system of inter-relationships

2.    for all teachers, particularly those who always endeavour to teach to their best and well, teaching is inherently emotionally and intellectually stressful work

3.    therefore all teachers, especially those who strive to teach to their best in these circumstances, require the capacity for ‘everyday resilience’

4.    this demands not only the capacity to ‘bounce back’ in extremely adverse circumstances, but the capacity to manage, rather than ‘cope’ with, the everyday challenges that teachers face in their work

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