Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



Teachers who practice self-reflection, particularly through narrative journals, report that they experience new ways to make meaning through perceptual transformation in how they view themselves, their work, and their relationships. The meaning making process for this personal and professional transformation is connected to how situations are perceived from a locus of control. A study of the research reported that teacher turnover rates are increasing primarily because of job dissatisfaction. A further investigation revealed this dissatisfaction was due to lack of administrative support, student behavioral problems, lack of school policy input, and low salaries. Funding for innovative instructional initiatives and professional development showed mixed results. To investigate how teachers access their personal resiliency in order to sustain motivation, quality teaching and professional commitment, this qualitative, exploratory study elicited from teachers how they made meaning of incidents through a structured journal deconstructive process. A sample of seven teachers in the Southwestern United States wrote nine journals on school-related incidents of their choice and an exit interview. Findings revealed, through this grounded theory approach and qualitative triple-coding, respondents framed their incident interpretation through the lens of inner or outer locus of control—they either framed incidents as occurring to them or from a stance of efficacy and congruence. One of the main findings was that most respondents consistently framed situations from an inner locus of control. Another finding was that this perspective transformation was reported despite a majority of stress-related journal topics. In the exit interviews, teachers expressed gratitude' and 'value' in the study process and indicated they would continue the practice. Three theoretical propositions emerging from this research were: The greater the inner locus of control, the stronger the level of congruence; they are mutually occurring. The mindful practice of high levels of congruent thinking has the potential to build teacher resiliency and retention. When self-reflective practice, perspective transformation, and congruent practices are implemented as the foundation for school 'climate', sustainable, systemic education reform is possible.'


Teachers--Diaries--Authorship--Case studies, Teachers--Psychology--Case studies, Teaching--Case studies, Self-actualization (Psychology)


The Nancy Fraser Doctoral Scholarship Fund The UNM Alumni Public Service Foundation The Educational Leadership and Organizational Learning New Mexico Scholars Award.

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Advisor

Boverie, Patricia

First Committee Member (Chair)

Borden, Allison

Second Committee Member

Keyes, Tom

Third Committee Member

Zancanella, Donald

Fourth Committee Member

Sheldahl, Teresa