Document Type

Conference Paper

Book Title or Conference Proceedings Title

Quality in education: Teaching and leadership in challenging times

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

This qualitative study examines and develops an in-depth understanding of two beginning teachers’ professional socializations in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. The study is a historical and descriptive account that provides insights into the impact of socio-political upheaval on the lives of two beginning teachers. The study focuses on the challenges the teachers faced in their initial stages of work and on how they addressed these. The teachers’ professional socialization stories are described in three realms: classroom, school and community. The study examines in greater detail the professional and relational challenges that the two beginning teachers faced while interacting with their pupils, administrators, colleagues, pupils’ parents and education officials. In addition to the typical challenges of adjusting to school culture, rules and regulations and classroom management faced by beginning teachers, these individuals had to deal with additional tribulations that have manifested after and because of the collapse of the former USSR. These include insufficient resources for schools, inadequately qualified and inexperienced colleagues, high student drop-out rates, a constantly changing curriculum, lack of textbooks, low salaries with frequent delays and deductions. These young teachers, despite their circumstances, emerge as caring and considerate individuals who adopted a variety of responses, including maintaining their values and performance, while at the same time attempting to influence others as they protected themselves from criticisms. The combination of social strategies and micropolitical tactics proved useful in examining the beginning teachers’ broader positions and specific tactics of addressing the crucial challenges. The study offers insights for school administrators, experienced teachers and education authorities at district, provincial and national levels. It points out the importance of assisting beginning teachers in improving performance, retention and long-term personal and professional well-being. The thesis also highlights some of the major challenges of conducting qualitative studies in the Central Asian context. Finally, the study also revealed that there is a need to develop educational research capacity in Kyrgyzstan, a situation which must be addressed in order to improve the educational system.