Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jesse Senechal


Teaching has always been an isolated profession and many professional development programs are seen as disconnected from the realities and daily needs of teaching. With the pressures of standards, paperwork, classroom management, and learning to teach, early career teachers can be especially vulnerable to becoming discouraged, disillusioned, and demoralized. This study used a qualitative, narrative inquiry approach to tell the stories of seven early career teachers’ experiences with induction and the development of a reflective community to support early career teachers in their professional practice. As part of the action research approach taken in designing the program, the discussions and themes that emerged in the reflective community played a role in shaping the focus of the group and future discussions. By telling these stories and designing a model of induction and professional development based on reflection and collaboration, this study aimed to find and sustain hope in teachers’ situations through improving their practice and building community. The study revealed the importance of strong and supportive relationships with both peers and students and the benefit of the safe space and support found in a community of peers through discussing shared experiences and hearing new perspectives. The participants’ focus on relationships and community became especially critical in the context of navigating the interruptions and uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2019-2020 school year.


© Donia E Spott

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission