This study provides a description of how 12 first-year physical education teachers perceived their workplace, how it affected their first year of work, and how their workplace shaped their induction into the context of the school. Interviews were conducted at the end of each participant’s first year of teaching. All participants reported that the following workplace factors shaped their first year of teaching: the facilities, the presence or absence of teaching colleagues, the scheduling of classes, the community environment, and the students. In addition several “unarticulated” (Schein, 1988) factors were identified that represent additional themes of influence: the status of physical education in the schools, the teachers’ sense of efficacy, the testing of values, and the realities of the school as a social institution. The results of this study, together with information from the literature, suggest that despite modest efforts, many schools provide inadequate support for beginning teachers.
Donna M. Smyth is with the Department of Physical Education at Keene State College, Keene, NH 03431.