Skip to main content

The lifeworld of the high school special education teacher: Voices signified

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
This study seeks to synthesize and communicate a clearer and deeper understanding of the lifeworld of High School Special Education Teachers who work in urban school districts in British Columbia among students who have Low Incidence Special Needs. An autoethnographic approach, involving narratives of the author’s own lived experience, and hermeneutic/phenomenological interpretations of interview transcripts constitute the main methods used for this small-scale qualitative study. Four teachers volunteered to participate by providing interviews for this study; three had teaching experience among students with low-incidence disabilities, while the other was an experienced teacher of students with high-incidence learning disabilities. The contributions of the participants suggest several themes that influenced commonly their feelings of job satisfaction, value, and worth in their workplace. These themes range from administrative support through self-efficacy, role expectations, job demands, autonomy, complexity of student profiles, parent expectations, collegiality, school culture/climate, inclusion, safety and violence, caring, and professional development opportunities. After a qualitative analysis/interpretation involving an inter-source comparison of interview themes with concepts gathered from a review of relevant literature and a conceptual framework grounded in educational ethics and capabilities theory, the results of the study portray the role of high school special education teacher as multifaceted and complex; involving multiple tasks that are often misunderstood and undervalued; and often faced with emergent factors, which, if under-accommodated, can lead to teacher burn out and attrition among highly skilled teachers. Despite suggestions in past research contending that higher levels of education and increases in salary are incentives to stay in the field, these themes were never raised by any of the interview participants.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Laitsch, Daniel
Thesis advisor: Johnson, Larry
Member of collection
Download file Size
etd20961.pdf 1.1 MB

Views & downloads - as of June 2023

Views: 61
Downloads: 1