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2016, Cilt 6, Sayı 2, Sayfa(lar) 195-208
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DOI: 10.5961/jhes.2016.156
Employment and First Year Experience of Beginner Primary School Teachers at Private Educational Institutions
Turgay ÖNTAŞ
Bülent Ecevit University, Faculty of Education, Department of Primary Education, Zonguldak, Turkey
Keywords: Career, Private educational institution, Entering the profession, Teacher education, Primary school teacher
In this study to demonstrate primary school teachers' employment process and their first year teaching in private educational organizations is aimed. The major employer of primary school teachers is public schools that are funded by state. There will be a gap between grade inflation and employment rate when all of the teacher candidates claim to be appointed to public schools. Hence private educational organizations provide alternative career opportunities for teacher candidates. Qualitative methods will be used in this study to display real evidence from the eyes of teachers and also principals. The data have been obtained through documents and interview techniques. After the data have been collected, descriptive analysis has been used. The findings of the study were given within the frame of themes and codes which were determined based on the problem statement. The first theme, career was presented in the context of choosing sector, recruitment and selecting process, professional development, leave the profession. The second theme, factors affecting first years' success was explained in the context of teaching factors, consistency and skills focus. The third theme was presented in a category of pressure, workload, complaining psychological and physical exhaustion, flexible working conditions.
  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Disscussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Introduction
    The history of training primary school teacher is as long as the history of teaching itself. There has been a great deal of changes in teacher training system for primary schools until today. In 1926, separate teaching schools were opened for teachers to teach in village schools and for teachers to teach in urban schools. In 1940, individuals who were primary school graduates and did their compulsory military service with the rank of sergeant were given a short-period teaching training and employed as teachers abide by the law on Village Teachers. Village Institutes were established between the years of 1940 and 1954 and as from then, teacher candidates had to take five-year education and training after graduation from primary school to be a teacher. In 1954, after the closure of village institutes, Primary Teacher Schools were opened and teacher candidates were subject to six-year education and training process in there. In 1973, all the teacher candidates were required university degree. After 1974, two-year Training Institutes were established. Between the years of 1974-1976, correspondence courses were held for previously-appointed teachers who didn't have university degree. Training of teachers had been attached to General Directorate of Teacher Schools which is under the control of the Ministry of National Education until 1982. In 1982, the duty of pre-service training primary school teachers was given to higher education institutions. After the duty of training primary school teachers passed to the universities by means of Educational High Schools, period of study increased from two years to four years (Karslı & Güven, 2011; Sağlam, 2011; Yıldızlar, 2011; Şişman, 2014). IN 1997, our policy of training teachers was reorganized with the regulation of Higher Education Institutions within the context of World Bank-funded Project of Developing National Education (1990-1996).

    Regulations were made on the types of schools and grades with 30/03/2012 dated, 6287 numbered regulation with respect to the amendment of Primary Education Law and Certain Laws. According to the law, primary education institutions consist of four-year compulsory primary schools, four-year compulsory secondary schools and imam hatip secondary schools. Primary school teachers who had been teaching 1-5 grades before the amendment, started to teach 1-4 grades as from the effective date of the code. Primary school teaching programs in faculties of education which resource the field of primary school teaching give education for four academic years and the lessons consist of 50% field knowledge and skills, 30% professional teaching knowledge and skills, 20% general knowledge. (General Directorate of Human Resources, (IKGM), 2015). About 80 universities have the program of primary school teaching within the system of higher education and 6907 students are accepted to these programs (Assessment Selection and Placement Center, (OSYM), 2015). Students are accepted to these higher education programs for training teachers through two-stage and multiple choice tests. According to the results of two stages of the exam; the Transition to Higher Education Examination (YGS) and the Undergraduate Placement Examination (LYS), central placement of the students is made to the program. When teacher candidates who are graduates of the program want to be appointed to public schools, they must take multiple choice Public Personnel Selection Examination (KPSS) which consists of educational sciences test, general knowledge and general skills tests and field knowledge of primary school teaching and must get the necessary score to enter the contingency list for appointment. Noticeable changes have been made with regard to appointment and adaptation processes of appointed teachers with 14/03/2014 dated and 6528 numbered code which amends 43. Article of 1739 numbered National Education Basic Law and with National Education Teacher Appointment and Reappointment Regulations published in 17th April 1015 dated official gazette towards the enforcement of the code above. Provided that newly appointed teachers work for one year and are successful according to the results of performance assessment after getting the necessary score to enter the contingency list for appointment after Public Personnel Selection Examination (KPSS), they gain the right for taking written and oral examinations to be held by the Ministry. If the newly appointed teachers can't be successful according to the results of performance assessment, they may lose their title of teacher and in that case they may be discharged from their official position. On the other hand, successful teachers will be subjected to the written exam by the Ministry. Oral exam will be held by the Ministry when necessary.

    The graduates of the program of primary school teaching are basically employed in state-funded public schools. However, 25074 teacher candidates who were the graduates of the program of primary school teaching took 2014 Public Personnel Selection Examination (KPSS). 7463 primary school teachers in total were employed in public schools, 6098 in September 2014 and 1315 in February 2015(İKGM, 2014; 2015). When the appointment data of 2014 is examined, appointment rate of primary school teachers to public schools is 1/3. The Project of Teacher Employment Projection Strategy has been started by the Ministry of National Education to organize the processes of graduate inflation and employment. Prof. Dr. Gönül Akçamete, academic coordinator of the project, points out that primary school teaching takes part in five areas which provide the most employment (246 thousands) between the years of 2012-2023 and the number of the graduates is almost already enough for the employment until 2020 (MEB, 2013). In that case, private schools stand out as an alternative employment area or as a career opportunity for primary school teachers. Private schools are legally liable to the Ministry of National Education and financially to founding legal entity or a foundation. Private schools subject to 5580 numbered Code on Private Schools. Today's concept of “private school” came out with the separation of schools as “Common Schools” and “Private Schools in the Statue on General Education published in 1869. Directorate for Private Schools, a unit similar to today's structure of private education available within the organization of the Ministry, was established with 10.06.1935 dated and 2773 numbered code. This directorate was reorganized as “General Directorate of Private Education Institutes” with 14.09.2011 dated and 652 numbered decree law concerning the organization and functions of the Ministry of National Education (General Directorate of Private Education Institutes, (OOKGM), 2015). Private schools also organized through civil society organizations such as; Turkish Association of Private Schools (TOZOK-1951), Association of All Private Education Institutes (TODER-2003), Association of Private Courses and Private Education Institutes Union (OZ-DE-BIR-1985), Association of Private Education (OZDER-2010), Association of Private Education Institutes Union (OZKUR-BIR-2000). Member private schools make studies of institutionalization through such associations by trying to determine a common policy with respect to their educational and financial activities. Lately, a positive atmosphere has been created in education sector on one hand, thanks to the supportive policies of the state towards the enterprisers who plan to open a private school institution and on the other hand, due to educational assistance given to parents who want their children to receive education in private schools. According to the data provided by the Ministry of National Education, while there were 27461 public primary schools and 1071 private schools in 2012-2013 school year, there were 26309 public primary schools and 1205 private schools in 2014-2015 school year. Provinces which stand out as having the most number of schools are; Istanbul with 344, Ankara with 151, Izmir with 72, Antalya with 47, Bursa with 44, Konya with 33, Kocaeli with 30, Mersin with 27 and Diyarbakır with 23 schools. According to data belonging to 2012-2013 school year, 267171 teachers work in public schools and 21273 teachers work in private schools. According to data belonging to 2014-2015 school year, 273058 teachers work in public schools and 22194 teachers work in private schools. When this statistical data is considered, two basic questions about the primary school teachers to be employed in private schools become prominent: “How will private schools find primary school teachers in order to meet their need and on the other hand how a primary school teacher find a job?” Graduated teachers look for a way for their career between teacher supply of higher education institutes and employment demand of public and private schools. When it is considered that according to the data of 2014-2015 school year, 22194 of total 295252 primary school teachers work in private schools, mostly private schools instead of public schools have been career opportunities for primary school teachers.

    The Concept of Career and First-year Experience
    The concept of career is defined as duties performed by individuals throughout their working life and their attitudes towards these duties (Erdoğmuş, 2003). It is mentioned that especially, in order to support dedicated teachers, it is necessary that teaching be accepted as a professional career and in-service education of teachers be organized in accordance with career development steps. (TEDMEM, 2015). It is possible to talk about different career steps in teaching profession. In order to evaluate a teacher as beginner, he/she must have a professional seniority less than six years (Bakioğlu, 1996; Hong, 2012; Menon, 2012). Although there are differences in getting experiences and acquiring skills, it is possible in general to talk about career development steps in teaching profession. Lacey (1977) handles career steps in teaching profession in three stages: “honeymoon”, “crisis” and “learning from failure”. On the other hand Bakioğlu (1996) divides the teaching profession into five professional development stages: “beginning” (1-5 years), “clarification” (6-10 years), “empiricism” (11-15 years), “specialization” (16-20 years) and “equanimity” (21 years and over). There are a great deal of searches on firstyear experiences and socialization of beginning teachers in literature. (Chafetz, 1976; Lacey, 1997; Veenman, 1984; Britt, 1997; Weiss, 1999; Flores, 2001; Meister & Melnick, 2003; Imig & Imig, 2006; Avalos & Aylwin, 2007; Kyriacou & Kunc, 2007; Fantili & McDougall, 2009; Ulvik, Smith, & Helleve, 2009; Saka, Southerland & Books, 2009; Menon, 2012). In Turkey, studies have been generally done on the problems of primary school teachers in public schools about their vocational adjustment and candidacy process in their first years (Gökçe, 2013; Sarı, 2011; Gömleksiz, Ülkü, Biçer, & Yetkiner, 2010; Aysal, 2007; Korkmaz, Saban, Akbaşlı, 2004); educational experiences of young and inexperienced teachers teaching in multigrade classes (Aksoy, 2008); their socialization / adjustment processes. It is emphasized that teachers confront problems in their first years in terms of time management, management of undesired behaviours, relations with parents and preparation of lesson. Determinants of the first-year experience can be summarized as personal and environmental determinants such as; limited content of programs towards pre-service education of teachers, experience internalization process of teachers during the period of their responsibility, different skill levels, expectations of the institutions and social environments.

    Orientation of Beginning Teachers and Career Development
    The aim of personnel selection process in human resources management in education is to analyze the personalities, educational background and hobbies of the applicants and choose and employ the ones who have the most suitable skills for the post in order to make the best contact between the necessities of the post and skills of the workers (Açıkalın, 1996). The first year of the profession is an important period for beginning teachers when they get through the experience of learning while teaching. Beginning teachers learn formally or informally affected by personal and contextual factors in their first year and later. How teachers learn from daily circumstances they face in their workplaces, that is schools and how they their learnings into practice can be conceptualized as “informal workplace learning” (Öntaş, 2014). There are opinions in literature defending that workplace learning takes place incidentally (Marsick & Watkins, 1990), unplanned (Straka, 2004), beyond the awareness of the learner (Eraut, 2004; Eraut, 2012; Lohman, 2006). Moreover, Johnson and Kardos divide workplace learning processes of beginning teachers into three stages: “veteran-oriented”, “novice-oriented” and “integrated professional culture” (as cited in Gaikhorst, Beishuizen, Korstjens, & Volman, 2014). In private schools, inexperienced teachers aren't generally given the responsibility of form teacher. When given, they are supported by mentor teachers or group leaders. Different role expectations, ways of learning, personal and contextual factors affecting learning may have an effect upon informal workplace learning of primary school teachers working in private schools (Öntaş, 2014).

    In summary, public and private schools are two different sectors of employment for teacher candidates. Candidates make their first choice of career towards public schools due to personal rights and job security. On the other hand, it is stated that basic and primary reasons for preference of private schools are; not being employed in public schools, higher income and side income after retirement (Demirci, 2009). Yet, a disparity emerges between graduate inflation and employment rates when the appointment of all the graduates to public schools is a matter. Private schools can be seen as an alternative career opportunity for teachers due to graduate inflation and lack of enough employment opportunity in public schools (Green, Machin, Murphy, & Zhu, 2008). Within the context of sample on surveys made on adaptation and socialization processes of teachers in Turkish literature, teachers working in public schools have been chosen and data have been collected via scales as Likert based on self-report.

    The aim of this survey is to evaluate career preference of primary school teachers, employment and adaptation processes and their first-year experience through the perspectives of working primary school teachers, education managers and parents. Main problem of the survey is to reveal the relation between role expectations of primary school teachers and their first-year experiences in private schools. To answer the main problem of the survey, there are three sub-problems;

    • How are career and employment processes of beginning primary school teachers in private schools?
    • How is first-year educational experience of beginning primary school teachers in private schools?
    • Is there consistency between the role performance of beginning primary school teachers and expectations of private schools from primary school teachers?

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Disscussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Methods
    In survey, phenomenology from qualitative research designs has been used to reflect true experiences of primary school teachers working in the private school, education managers and parents. Phenomenology handles real experiences and based directly on things itself (Merriam, 2013: 24). In survey, maximum variation sample is preferred. The aim of this sample is not to generalize universe through providing variation; but to reveal what kind of common points and similarities exist between varying circumstances (Yıldırım & Şimşek, 2011). Criteria of size and ownership (legal entity or foundation) have been taken into account when schools are preferred. One of the schools is in Ankara (owned by legal entity) and other two schools are in Zonguldak (one is owned by legal entity, the other is owned by foundation). The features of the schools have been shown in Table 1:

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    Table 1: School Features

    As the aim of this survey is to handle first-year experiences and problems of beginning primary school teachers from teachers, managers and parents' point of view; teachers were chosen among beginning teachers whose experience is under six years, education managers were chosen among assistant managers who are responsible for primary schools (one of them is general manager) and the parents were chosen among those who have children in first grade of primary schools. In a qualitative research, smallness of the sample is important in order to get consistent result. Proper function of a small sample is only possible when the purposeful sample and sample problem are consistent with each other (Ritche & Lewis, 2003). Parents were contacted via assistant managers. Features of the participants can be seen in Table 2.

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    Table 2: Participant Features

    The fact that the participant primary school teachers are female shows that female teachers are preferably employed in private schools. All the primary school teachers of participant schools are known to be female. According to 2014-2015 statistics of the Ministry of National Education, 75.66% of primary school teachers (16790) in private schools are female and 24.34% of them are male (5404).

    Data Collection Tools
    In surveys which can also be accepted as job analyses, a great deal of familiar technics such as interview, observation, senior consultant, employee rating system, consultant analysis and daybook method are used. In this survey, data has been collected through semi-structured interview and institutional documents (teacher work agreement and job definitions). There is a close relation between personnel policies and general objectives of the institutions detected for personnel policies and production, marketing and financial functions of the institution (Buluç, 1997). Thus; selection, evaluation, observation, competency and satisfaction indicators applied in the processes of employment of human resources management when survey problems are formed are taken into account. Questions asked in semi-structured interview are shown in Table 3:

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    Table 3: Interview Questions

    After interviews, primary school teachers are requested to fill the necessary parts in Table 4 in order to make their own work analysis.

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    Table 4: Personal Work Analysis

    Data collection tools have been determined via expert opinions. Interview questions in data collection tools broached to expert opinions have been revised by reviewing their relations with sub-problem sentences. Estimated durations in personal work analysis have been handled weekly. E-school data-entries, exhibitions and ceremonies are requested to be explained by taking the relevant term into account.

    Firstly, an interview was made with school managers. In this first interview, experiences of primary school teachers and whether they will participate in the survey were asked to the managers. Supports of the assistant managers were taken as gatekeepers in order to contact with managers, primary school teachers and parents. Ethical principles were shared with the participants.

    After semi-structured interview occurred, interview records were put on paper and sent via e-mail with other interview notes. Interviews with a single parent were had on the phone in two different periods of time, between the dates of 13.05.2015-14.10.2015. The rest of the interviews were had through e-mail. Semi-structured interviews took 30-50 minutes.

    Data Analysis
    Thematic presentation of the data is made through analytical processes which involves coding and categorizing of the data and evaluates the relation of data with theories guiding each other. (Glesne, 2012). The data were analysed through descriptive analysis. Main theme and codes are shown in Table 5:

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    Table 5: Main Theme and Codes

    Validity and Reliability
    In qualitative researches; internal validity is connected with whether research findings reflect the truths in external world or not, on the other hand, external validity is connected with “transferability of findings”. Furthermore, intense description and selection of sample is important (Merriam, 2013). In this survey, reliability was provided by short-period control of the collected data and feedback received from experts. All collected data were subjected to participant confirmation process.

    The Role of Surveyor
    The surveyor also has work experience in private school. He was responsible for assessment and evaluation in a private school between the years of 2010-2015. School-wide evaluation of academic success, development of evaluation tools, analyses of evaluation practices, informing stakeholders are within the job definition of the surveyor. Due to his position in the school, the surveyor took part in teachers' meetings and feedback studies after assessment and evaluation practices. Moreover, he interacted with parents in order to share assessment and evaluation practices with students and parents. He reflected his personal experiences and observed situations to the description of sample findings.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Disscussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Discussion
    Findings of the survey have been provided within the frame of themes and codes based on survey questions. Codes of sector selection, employment and selection processes, career development and abandoning career are included within the theme of career; codes of factors affecting education, harmony and qualification focus are included within the theme of factors affecting first-year experience; codes of stress, work load, complain about physiological and physical fatigue, flexible working are included within the theme of detection of problems. Findings have been provided as integrated with discussion.

    Theme 1: Career
    Findings provided under this theme are such as to answer the first question of the survey. The first question of the survey is: “How are career and employment processes of beginning primary school teachers in private schools?” Career, sector and employment processes of primary school teachers as well as place and content of the concept of “career” with regard to teaching profession have been revealed with findings. The concept of “promotion” is used with career. With regard to promotion practices in teaching profession, TEDMEM (2015) has proposed a model based on portfolio assessment of teachers and accumulation of knowledge with the promotion titles of teacher candidate, teacher, assistant expert teacher, expert teacher and head teacher. The Ministry of National Education also introduced a model of career with the steps of teacher, expert, head teacher but it didn't last very long. Career and promotion system of teachers should be flexible for various variables of career development and in terms of associating the category of beginning teacher with seniority. The fact that experienced teacher behaviors such as knowledge, skill and teaching stance can be displayed in a relatively shorter period should be taken into consideration. In this regard, it is possible to say that there is a relation between career steps and features of skill acquisition. (Öntaş, 2014).

    If you are in stages of novice or advanced beginner according to the general model of skill acquisition developed by Dreyfus (1986), this relation becomes more apparent. The one who is in the stage of novice strictly obeys the rules, shows a low level of awareness against events and can't make self-evaluation. In the stage of advanced beginner, one follows action-based guides, shows limited awareness against events and evaluate ideas separately and by giving the same importance. Experiences in this stage are states of “not disturbing / not being disturbed”. You can experience uncertainty about priorities. You may come across dominant parents and dominant students of dominant parents. On the other hand, school management may have expectations from you. Managerial and academic support for young and inexperienced teachers in their first years will be useful in order to minimize first-year problems. Views of school managers on criteria for the employment of primary school teachers in private schools are stated below:

    When we interview a primary school teacher, we evaluate his/ her conversational skills, oratory, politeness and mannerliness. We mostly employ female primary school teacher paying attention to her visuality. Male primary school teachers are generally not approved by parents. We pay attention to experiences of the applicants, not to the universities they graduated. Their true life experience is more important for us. (Erkan)

    Firstly, we pay attention to their experiences. Especially private school experience is important for us. Communication and crisis management skills are also of great importance. Newly graduates are generally not preferred. Because, our expectations from a teacher are very high. We don't want to take risk. Situations we accept as risks are authority gap in classroom and nonfulfillment of expectations of academic success. Moreover, beginning teachers are relatively less skillful in solving problems. When small problems remain unsolved, parents lose their confidence in our school. Teachers have main importance for schools. When an inexperienced teacher makes an application to us and if he/she is coming from county, we pay attention to his/her references. Furthermore, applicants should be social. They should establish strong relationship with parents (Erdem)

    We prefer employing teachers who have necessary occupational and characteristic features to fulfil the expectations of students, school management and parents. Experience in primary schools is a reason for preference. Applicants should have high communication skills, broad tolerance and patience. Moreover, we prefer skillful and practical ones. (Serkan)

    The common point of the views of three education managers is that primary school teachers should be experienced. Although only one manager emphasized female teacher, all of the primary school teachers in the field of study are female. This situation is similar to OECD countries (82% of the primary school teachers are female). However, the number of male primary school teachers is almost the same as female teachers throughout Turkey. In terms of skills, communication skill comes to the fore in views. Efficient problem and crisis managements are reasons for preference. Problem and crisis management are skills that can be developed through experience. It is also an important factor that a primary school teacher has the necessary potential and stability for long-termed working (Serkan). It is stated that when an experienced teacher is employed, he/ she is expected to work for long terms.

    It is known that teaching is a profession of career and career development starts from pre-service period and lasts throughout in-service period with a pace from technical field to intellectual field. Although some of the teachers consciously prefer the profession of teaching by analysing their personal features, ideals and current circumstances of the profession, some others only pay attention to employment circumstances disregarding their personal features. Teaching profession starts with an education in relevant departments especially within the faculty of education and there are two preference of employment after graduation: public schools and private schools. In the employment process of primary school teachers, some teachers compulsorily prefer private schools. In general, their first preference is to be employed in public schools. When this is not possible, they secondarily choose private schools. In this case, teaching in private schools is seen as not a preference but an obligation. On the other hand, cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir where employment rate is relatively higher for primary school teachers constitutes an exception for above-mentioned obligation/preference contradiction due to the attraction of the cities and variety of employment opportunities. Gender and marital status also play role in this situation. According to the work status of one of the spouses, for example if one of them works in public institutions, the other spouse may prefer private institutions with an approach that “it is enough if one of them works in public institutions”. Furthermore, one of the spouses may prefer to be employed in private institutions by resigning from a public institution if the other spouse lives in a city which has relatively better working conditions and employment opportunities. In this regard, a new experience different from public experience may lead to some difficulties. A teacher called Yasemin experienced this situation by resigning from her position while she was a primary school teacher in a public school in Diyarbakır and by starting to teach in a private school in Ankara due to the work status of her husband.

    The first model of employment of beginning teachers is a system in which teachers are private sector employees based on open-end contracts. In this process, employment of teachers is done by local authorities or schools. Second model is the system in which teachers are public employees. In this model, teachers are appointed to their relevant positions by central, regional or local administrations. Beside teachers working in public sector in Turkey, all the teachers are at the status of public employee in Finland and Czech Republic (Özoğlu, Gür, & Altunoğlu, 2013). In Turkey, main condition of employment in public schools as a teacher is to get a score enough for appointment as a result of public personnel selection examination. On the other hand, private schools may follow different human resources strategies. Some schools (School B) subject teachers who have an experience of 0-2 years to a written exam and invite the successful ones to the interview in accordance with teacher requirement of the institution. Moreover, some schools respectively conduct written, oral and practical examinations. Employment can also be made as service procurement via human resources (HR) consultancy institutions and employment agencies. In employment process of teachers via HR consultancy institutions, private schools provide the features of demanded teachers with the institution and the institution proposes appropriate candidates to the school after making a pre-interview with them. Employment process is completed with the preference of teachers to be employed among the proposed candidates.

    Although private schools have different HR strategies for employment of teachers, there are generally four steps in the process of employment; preparation of an appropriate cv and conveyance of it to the relevant institution, evaluation of cv by the institution, invitation of the candidate to the interview by the institution and if the result of interview is positive, evaluation of his giving lesson. In the case of a positive result, the process of “contract” starts. If the parties come to an agreement, one-year contract is signed (Öntaş & Koç, 2013).

    Teacher candidates who want to start their career in private schools are expected primarily to make a preliminary preparation towards employment process and educational expectations of the institutions. In this regard, employment process and first-year experience in primary schools become more important. Views of teachers on career development and employment in private schools are:

    I don't remember being regretful for preferring the profession of teaching. I have been criticized for many times for teaching in a private school. People may ask where you work and belittle you when they get the answer of private school. Opinions of people may differ as there is a fact that teaching in public schools is incomparable with teaching in private schools in terms of working conditions. But I have never regretted preferring private school. I would prefer the same if I were given the opportunity of preference today. I have been teaching in private school for 5 years. I made my mind to work here when I was at university. I went to so many places and took some education to improve myself throughout my university life. I'm determined to continue improving myself. (Ece)

    Of course I took public personnel selection examination but I never studied for it. I had decided to teach in private school. I was invited by many private schools because I was a prominent student. Firstly, I decided to pursue academic career. Then, I changed my mind and preferred teaching in private school. I am very pleased to be here as I have everything at my hand. In here, lots of activities are conducted for students. You can't even see one-tenth of these activities in public schools. I am fully supported to conduct such activities here. In private school expectations are high and this is appropriate for me as I like hard work. But my family rejected my preference. They haven't changed their mind yet. But anymore, they respect my decision. People say that teaching in public schools is better in terms of job guarantee. But I think private schools have the same job guarantee. I don't have the fear of becoming unemployed. I am sure I can find a job everywhere. (Ceyda)

    There is a view that teaching in private schools is a compulsory decision made in the case when the employment in public schools is not possible. Moreover, one out of four teachers interviewed as a part of this survey started teaching in private school after resigning from a public school while three of them started their career in private school. One of those three teachers stated that she had taken public personnel selection exam but she had been unsuccessful (Selin). In private schools, primary school teachers handle task motivation in terms of career development

    Private schools follow all-purpose procedures (start of career, evaluation of effectiveness of a teacher, career development) in employment process of teachers and select the most appropriate ones among them.

    Every year, teacher requirement is detected by taking the growth target of the institution, the performances of present teachers and the performance potentials of applicant teachers into consideration. Especially in private schools, there may be different practices about at which grades primary school teachers will teach. Some schools may follow different strategies instead of employing the same teacher with the same class for four years.

    In private schools, there are different career development activities such as; observation of lesson by the manager, observation of lesson by a consultant coming out of the institution, observation of lesson by a colleague, observation of lesson by any other person, guidance of a friend, guidance of a mentor, career development videos/ live trainings, informal/reflective conversations, toleration against mistakes, interaction with experienced or inexperienced teachers. In-service training has a long history in terms of national and international perspectives with different expectations in different terms (Günel & Tanrıverdi, 2014). Occupational training activities (Kwakman, 2003; Hoekstra, Brekelmans, Beijaard, & Korthagen, 2009; Bakkenes, Vermunt, & Wubbels, 2010; Grosemans, Boon, Verclairen, Dochy, & Kyndt, 2015), labour turnovers, processes of working and resignation (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004; Kersaint, Lewis, Potter, & Meisels, 2007; Hong, 2012) have been searched in the literature. Adjustment processes of beginning teachers, mentors, students and school society within the context of inservice education have been also handled in the literature.

    Lately, the system of mentoring has appeared in the school society as a means of peer learning in the processes of adjustment and informal learning with the scope of the support of experienced teacher to beginning teacher at a minimum level (just support) and a maximum level (teaching how to teach) (Adams & Tulasiewicz, 1995). “Managerial frame” which focuses on rational and technical sides of adjustment processes, class management techniques, school rules and socialization can be classified as; “humanist frame” which lays an emphasis on helping inexperienced teacher who struggles to overcome stressful transitional periods , “a cognitive-apprentice frame” in which there is a necessity for information of class practices and a guide who is expert in reflective and practical participation in the school society, “political-critical frame” which prioritizes caring about change agent and educational problems of an inexperienced teacher, proving assumptions and restructuring practices (Smith & Ingersoll, 2004; Wang, Odell, & Schwille, 2007).

    Shulman & Shulman (2004) developed the models of vision, motivation, cognation, application, reflection and society (as cited in Bakkenes et al., 2010); Vermunt & Vermetten (2004) while Vermunt & Vermetten (2004) developed models of generative relearning, meaning-focused learning, practice-focused learning and indirect learning. Tynja¨la¨ (2008) summarizes how learning occurs in workplace as a result of an intensive examination of updated researches made on workplace learning: “by doing the job itself”, “through co-operating and interacting with colleagues”, “through working with clients”, “by tackling challenging and new tasks”, “by reflecting on and evaluating one's work experiences”, “through formal education”, “through extra-work contexts”. These classifications can be categorized under three titles of binding learning with the person, namely self-regulation, learn by active configuration of information and learn cooperatively. In Turkey, the resignation rate of teaching profession is low. Instead of resignation, teachers prefer to pass to other institutions which have better working conditions. As a reason why they don't resign from the profession, they state that primary school teaching is an honorable profession and it provides more income in comparison with other graduates of other university departments. Primary school teachers employed in a private school sign a contract for different periods of time. Although one-year contract is generally signed, some schools may offer longer contracts. As long as the parties are pleased with each other, the contract is renewed. Furthermore, primary school teachers may look for more credible institutions depending upon the rate of turnover between institutions ((the number of quitters and wage earners) x 100) and the index of stability ((number of labor force in one year or more/labor force supplied one year ago) x 100). In this regard, primary school teachers may apply to other schools before the end of their contract.

    Theme 2: Factors That Affect First-Year Success
    The findings under this title are such as to answer second question of the survey: “How is first-year experience of beginning primary school teachers in private schools?” Factors that affect first-year experience have been revealed through the findings of harmony and qualification focus. Beginning teachers may have difficulties in satisfying the expectations of shareholders and meeting daily performance requirements as a teacher. These difficulties are generally about the competency of beginning teachers and institutional expectations and norms of the shareholders and managers (Scherff, 2008; Ulvik et al., 2009). In private schools, expectations and satisfaction level of these expectations may differ according to job definition and roles of primary school teachers. Pre-service education and training of teachers, which is just directed towards teaching in public schools, has become more important so that teachers can reach the level of quality standards especially in the process of employment in private schools and throughout their careers. Accordingly, the data about first-year problems of beginning teachers is of great importance for program development within the periods of pre-service and in-service (Darling-Hammond, Chung, & Frelow, 2002). There can be differences about the employment and assignment of inexperienced teachers as classroom teachers in well-established schools and newlyopened schools. Well-established schools don't assign inexperienced teachers as classroom teachers in the first year. The underlying cause of this manner is the factor of risk. Main risk is that non-reassuring attitudes of an inexperienced teacher towards parents may abuse their confidence in the institution. Doubts of an inexperienced teacher may continue until a trust relationship is established between parents and him/her. Experiences of the teachers, Selin and Ece may clarify this situation:

    Although I was in experienced, I was assigned as classroom teacher of a first-grade class. However, my colleagues were more experienced than me. I knew that school management and parents had doubts about me. Then, I started to spend much more time with my students by working overtime. By this way, I had the opportunity to make up my own deficiencies and to compensate for the topics I wasn't able to handle during lessons. Actually, I made these extra studies in order to gain experience and to prove myself (Selin). I wasn't assigned as classroom teacher in my first-year as I was a trainee teacher. This was the principle of the school. Throughout this period, I also attended some classes. At first, being a trainee teacher demoralized me. But this process was a great opportunity for me to observe students, classroom and school environments.

    You find yourself in an uncommon environment as you have never been in such an atmosphere. I think that the practice of trainee teaching is very useful in terms of detailed observation. As a result of my observations, I saw that there is a big difference in the attitudes of students and their parents. I thought I would be unable to overcome some problems about students' attitudes. I also found the opportunity to observe the relations between parents, teacher and students. I started to teach with these precious experiences (Ece).

    Experiences based on reality shock may differ due to rapid change of society, information and skills (Vermunt & Verloop, 1999; Darling-Hammond & Youngs, 2002; Van Eekelen, Bosbuizen, & Vermunt, 2005; Grosemans et al., 2015). The context of variation which is changeable, characterized by uncertainties and which changes the identity of education, high stress, increasing expectations, reforms and innovations, updates for features of inexperienced and experienced teachers can be called as postmodern reality shock (Gür, 2014; Correa, Martínez-Arbelaiz, & Aberasturi-Apraiz, 2015). It's more likely to come across reality shock which can especially be associated to the metaphor of “teacher tired of innovations” which has revealed as a result of frequent updates of concepts and practices in education literature in private schools which are more fierce competition environments for teachers than public schools. The views of a teacher, Ceyda, on reality shock in terms of its reflection of relation between the theory and application in pre-service education and training are like this:

    As for early childhood education, development of each child differs according to the period of time. First of all, we should take this fact into consideration. For example, I had two fiveyear old students who were born within the same month and day. But they were very different from each other. Although, one of them was ready for the process of reading and writing, the other one is not. I had some difficulties to overcome this problem. Because, only Piaget and Bruner were taught to us. Even applied courses are not useful for us. Because we just went to school, waited, kept a report and gave the report to the department. We even didn't give a sample lesson. As a result, I had great difficulties in teaching in a real environment (Ceyda).

    There is strong criticism that pre-service education processes of inexperienced beginning teachers are full of theoretical lessons devoid of application. On the other hand, although there are differences in teaching in a private school and public school in terms of accountability, lack of experience becomes more relevant in private schools. As the teaching is professed within the class, classroom management skills can be put in the same category as teaching skills in principle. Classroom management=teaching profession. As Veenman (1984; 1987) revealed in his two basic researches, classroom management skills related to teaching profession is related to the problems such as; classroom discipline, student motivation, overcoming personal differences, assessment of students' studies, parents relations, organization of classroom studies, sufficiency and supply of educational materials, overcoming personal student problems. These skills also show the primary factors to lean over in order to achieve the success. Inexperienced or experienced teachers may come across different problems even if they have such skills. Expectations about the priorities of the problems may also change.

    The most important expectation from a teacher is communication skill. Especially a strong dialogue should be established between teacher and parents. At the same time, a teacher should have good dialogue with his/her colleagues and managers. Classroom management is also of great importance. General expectations are like this (Ece).

    What kind of doubts are there? The first expectation of parents from a teacher is to be a mother. Because, they think a mother can sympathize with them. Second expectation is at least twoyear experience. Graduation from the faculty of education is assessed as insufficient. I had lots of parents looking down on me for this reason. They act as if they are more informed than you even if they don't know anything about teaching profession. I can't be a mom for students, because I'm a teacher (Ceyda).

    Private schools generally put forward their successes in national and international examinations, artistic and sportive activities and turnovers as indicators of quality of their education. Accordingly, parents have a tendency to send their children to popular schools. This situation results in an increase of expectations from teachers. Moreover, some parents may have the tests prepared by teachers in private schools confirmed outside the school. They may also have their children take the scholarship exams of some other institutions in order to compare their course grades with the results of such exams. A teacher, if he is assigned as classroom teacher, is expected to save the year with minimum behavioral problems and student satisfaction. Realities in workplace also matter. Compatibility of personal expectations with adjustment process may have an effect on one's success. There is a negative compatibility, for example, in a case in which you look for a job guarantee and the school employs you to save the year. Teachers should review their reasons why they prefer to teach in a private school. Is it because they aren't able to be employed in public schools or because they prefer to purse their career in a private school or in order not to be out of work until they are appointed to a public school? Management of private schools may hesitate over assignment of beginning teachers as classroom teachers even if they are confident and successful. In this case, they are supported with mentors or experienced colleagues. School managements make analyses to detect strong and weak sides of beginning primary school teachers. Private schools which support institutional development conduct orientation programs for beginning teachers. As a part of such orientation programs, education of awareness is given on education policies and priorities of the school and school culture. Such supportive attitudes of school managements aim at occupational development of teacher, high quality of service and minimum problems. The roles of primary school teachers in private schools may differ in accordance with the policies of school and the profile of parents. In schools where the importance of academic success is high, teachers are basically expected to have the students acquired necessary skills to be successful in exams (Success Fetishism). This role of a teacher is dominant in private schools where there is a competitive environment caused by reflection of the academic success expectations through assessment and evaluation tools and where the performances of teachers are evaluated according to the scores. Such a competitive environment created disregarding emergent literacy, physical and emotional maturity degrees and age disparities of students may become disruptive.

    Theme 3: Detection of Problems
    The findings under this title are such as to answer second and third questions of the survey: “How is first-year experience of beginning primary school teachers in private schools?” Is there consistency between the role performance of beginning primary school teachers and expectations of private schools from primary school teachers?” Stress, work load, and complains about psychological and physical fatigue have been revealed through the findings under the theme of detection of problems. Main stress experienced by the teachers in private schools is pertaining to parents' satisfaction. It is directly related to the expectations of parents and the school management from the teacher. Main factors affecting private school preference of parents are stated as classroom size, giving close attention to the students, experienced teachers and sympathizing with students (Azra, Deniz, Eren). Main expectation of parents from school management is experienced teachers. When the classroom teachers act as if there wasn't any problem with the students may cause problems in terms of the parents (Azra and Deniz). Young and inexperienced teachers tend to conceal problems in order not to have problem with the parents and the school management. Duties of primary schools teacher based on their job definitions and estimated durations are shown in Table 6:

    Click Here to Zoom
    Table 6: Work Analysis of Primary School Teachers

    As a result of researches aimed at the factors affecting occupational identities of beginning teachers, these factors have been stated to be construction (pre-service experiences as a student), deconstruction (classroom activities, school culture and teachers identity in the context of leadership) and reconstruction (the processes of reconstruction) (Lasky, 2005; Flores & Day, 2006; Thomas & Beauchamp, 2011; Saka, Southerland, Kittleson, & Hutner, 2013). Beginning teachers come across “reality shock” when they integrate into the system (Veenman, 1984). The reality shock is a state of passing from situations idealized during teacher training to the difficult and rough facts within daily classroom life. We come across the same problem when we looked at the criticism of private school teachers towards academic texts and academicians: “They don't know anything about teaching in private schools. Because, they don't attend any classes. The real problem is within the class. They just sit and write. We invite them to perform the tasks they mentioned by themselves attending a classroom.” (Öntaş, 2014). Precautions of the schools to minimize the problems are like this:

    We don't prefer newly graduate teachers. Because, we are not sure whether he/she will be able to give a lesson effectively. Such teachers participate in training based on their branch in order to improve their field information (professional competency). Young teachers don't accept the system of mentorship as they believe they aren't in need of it. Their financial and moral expectations are high. Although they are beginning teachers, they demand to have the same rights with experienced teachers (Erdem).

    We don't assign newly graduate teachers as classroom teachers in our school. We employ them as trainees in their first year. We support them with a mentor teacher in this period. Mentor teachers are generally selected on a volunteer basis and among the teachers having at least five-year experience in our school. Moreover, we again support the teachers coming from other schools with mentors in order not to have problems in adjustment period. They work with mentor for one year. Beginning teachers have fewer problems throughout adjustment period thanks to our system of mentorship. Of course, the system is costly. We pay trainees at the rate of 75% when compared to the wage of an experienced teacher who also is also assigned as classroom teacher. One-year cost of a trainee teacher to our institution is about 30.000-35.000 TL together with insurance premiums.

    In private schools, beginning primary school teachers spend some of their working hours at school and spend some after school for academic preparations and dialogue with parents. Although, basic work at school is to give effective lesson after a good preparation, preparations can generally be made out of school. Moreover, working hours of teacher change between 8-10 hours. Some schools allow their teachers to leave school after the classes are dismissed, though this is rare while some schools make it obligatory for teachers to stay for all day long. There are “obscure lines” between work and private life (Robbins & Judge, 2013). As an example for obscure lines, we can have a look at experiences of a teacher, Ece, about parents' expectations.

    Parents have numerous expectations. All of them have expectations different from each other. Accordingly, student attitudes also differ very much. Such situations became a dilemma for me for some times. You come across a different expectation every day. This is the fact of private schools. Because, people pay a great deal for their children. They expect a 7/24 care. They completely ignore private lives of teachers. They request a solution for their problems on any ground disregarding teachers' social life (Ece).

    Work load of a teacher densifies in lesson and out of lesson. Another problem of teachers is time pressure. Especially, teachers who have the first-year experience may get tired of balancing intraclass and out-of-class preparations. Moreover, first-year experience may cause an unhappy private life for teachers. They may spend their time for lesson preparations even at the weekend. Similarly, a phone conversation with parents may be necessary at any time. On the other hand, a phone call at the evening hours can be evaluated as interference in teachers' private life.

  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Conclusion
    Private schools are institutions which are legally liable to the Ministry of National Education and financially to a founding legal entity or a foundation. Lately, the number of private schools and students has increased with governmental incentives. On the other hand, there is a graduate inflation in terms of teacher supply and employment of teachers in public schools. In this case, private schools are alternative career areas for primary school teachers. Private schools follow allpurpose procedures in employment process of primary school teachers. The profession of teaching comprises pre-service and in-service career development practices. Contact with career objectives in the process of pre-service education can be made by teacher candidates himself/herself (Although, allpurpose procedures are applied). The place and importance of pre-service education in personal career plan come forward within the processes of beginning and adjustment. Teachers working in public schools and private schools may come across different experiences in adjustment processes. Performance expectations which are quite hard and instructive for teachers make first-year experience in private schools in comparable. Distance between theory and practice which is a problem in teacher training comes into question both in public schools and private schools. Additionally, training teacher for private schools is expected to be separated with common training. On the other hand, the fact that all the students whether in public or private schools deserve well-qualified teachers may limit such a separation of training. The quality of pre-service education should be increased in order to meet the need of well-equipped teachers without discrimination of the sector. Although, first-year problems of primary school teachers in private schools are known, they remain unsolved. Thus, proposals should mainly be put forward in this area. Non-governmental organizations such as; Turkish Private Schools Association, All Private Education Institutions Association, The Unity of Private Courses and Private Schools Association should make some studies to create awareness for career opportunities, employment conditions, job guarantee and other personal rights of primary school teachers and other teachers of other branches who want to start and pursue their career in private schools. As the supply of teacher is higher that demand of teacher today, presence of private schools is of great importance as alternative working areas for teachers. Some foundation private schools have entered in the process of teacher training by founding their own universities. In such circumstances, projections should be made for the employment of teachers who are graduate of public universities. On the other hand, researchers should make researches on employment policies of private schools, teacher training and education studies, career development activities, institutional activities, transfer of incentives into employment.
  • Top
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • References

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  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
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