2016, Cilt 6, Sayı 2, Sayfa(lar) 195-208
Employment and First Year Experience of Beginner Primary School Teachers at Private Educational Institutions
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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:
After interviews, primary school teachers are requested to fill
the necessary parts in Table 4 in order to make their own work
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
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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'
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.
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
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