A Phenomenological Investigation into Agricultural Education Teacher Preparation Student and Early Career Teaching Experience

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Edu and Learning Technology

Date of Award

Fall 2021


Teacher burnout can be attributed to several factors including, teacher pay, career related stress, demoralization, and a lack of effective professional development, training, and mentoring (Garcia & Weiss, 2019). The reality of the teacher shortage means more importance should be placed on teacher preparation and retention (Tippens, Rickets, Morgan, Navarro, & Flanders, 2013). Teacher preparation programs need evidence to support what works when developing effective teachers. This study recognizes the role higher education plays in the recruitment, preparation, and retention of teachers, as such the purpose of this study was to investigate the experience(s) of alumni during their time as undergraduates in the agricultural education teacher certification program at a Texas university and to examine how those pre-service teacher experiences influenced the participants’ early career teacher experience. This study used two broad, open-ended questions to frame the study: What are the lived experiences of alumni of the agricultural education teacher certification program at a northeast Texas university, and how have those experiences influenced transition to and through early career teaching? Phenomenological methodology was employed in data collection and analysis and revealed four themes: Experience With Pedagogy Varied, Confidence with AFNR Content Knowledge, Language Barriers Affect the Early Career Experience, and Complex Understanding of Stakeholder Relationships. Understanding the preparation experience of pre-service teachers and how those experiences influence the early career teaching experience is vital to increasing the retention of agricultural science teachers in Texas. This study illuminated some of the less understood barriers to that retention, such as lack of practical understanding of pedagogy, language barriers, and misunderstanding of how to orchestrate a successful agricultural science program at the secondary level that meets the standards of district, state, and national stakeholders.


Sarah L. Rodriguez

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education