Narratives of beginning Maori teachers: Identifying forces that shape the first year of teaching

Funding year: 
1 year
University of Waikato
Post school sector
Project start date: 
January 2004
Project end date: 
January 2005
Principal investigator(s): 
Paora Stucki
Research team members: 
Areta Kahu, Heeni Jenkins, Pip Bruce-Ferguson, and Ruth Kane
Research partners: 
Massey University; Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) lecturers and their ex-students, Te Wänanga o Aotearoa

Project Description

Te Wananga o Aotearoa offers a three-year primary teaching degree, Te Korowai Ākonga (Bachelor of Teaching). The first graduates completed their studies in 2003 and embarked on careers as teachers in 2004. Beginning teachers generally experience significant discontinuities in the transition from pre-service teacher education to first-year teaching (Loughran, Brown, & Doeke, 2001). Through this research project the teaching staff of Te Korowai Ākonga are seeking to better support new graduates.

It is assumed that beginning teachers will learn from experience in their first years of teaching, but current attrition rates problematise this notion. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is particularly so for Māori teachers. Besides those in “mainstream” schools, “there is no doubt that the workload of a primary bilingual or total immersion teacher is enormous” (Mitchell & Mitchell, 1993, p. 60). The inability of the profession to retain new Māori  teachers is serious, yet there is little research that examines this crisis beyond presenting the statistics. Mitchell and Mitchell’s study suggests that many Māori teachers leave the classroom because of unreasonable expectations on their time and resources, and lack of structured support. More needs to be known about the reality of being a beginning Māori teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand in the 21st century.
This project sought to:
  •  explore these issues by chronicling the experience of being a beginning Māori teacher; and
  •  identify the forces that affect the first year of teaching and, consequently, how teacher education institutions and schools can provide ongoing support to address the attrition of beginning Māori teachers.