Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study was to describe and understand the experience of master's students in an elementary education resident teacher program The experience of the resident teachers was generally defined as how resident teachers made meaning of a resident teacher program through the perceptions of the resident teachers themselves. The resident teachers' perceptions and experiences were studied from January 1999 through the completion of their teaching experience in May 1999.

Qualitative research methods were used in this phenomenological study, including a brief period of observation, analysis of mentor/resident teacher communications journals, and interviews with participants in the Resident Teacher Program Data were analyzed and one theme emerged. From the theme, assertions and sub-assertions developed based on commonalities. A description of the assertions and sub-assertions was discussed in reference to the literature. Recommendations for school personnel, teacher educators, and education policyrnakers were provided.

The study began with one question: How do students interpret their experience in an elementary education resident teacher program? Focusing on this question, one overarching theme evolved: The experience of the resident teachers was comparable to a roller coaster ride consisting of peaks and valleys, highs and lows. This theme was supported by the following two assertions which were further divided into sub-assertions.

Assertion #1. There were aspects of the program that resident teachers valued and that contributed to their success.

Sub-assertion #1a. The resident teachers valued their students and maintained a student centered focus regardless of the frustrations they experienced.

Sub-assertion #1b. Mentor support was the single most beneficial and influential aspect of the program.

Assertion #2. Resident teachers felt deep frustration with aspects of their experience.

Sub-assertion #2a. Time management was an area of frustration for the resident teachers.

Sub-assertion #2b. Classroom management was an area of intense concern in the resident teachers' experience.

Sub-assertion #2c. The grade level experience of the mentor affected the experience of the resident teacher.

Sub-assertion #2d. A lack of effective communication among participants in the Resident Teacher Program caused confusion regarding various roles and expectations.

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