Skip to main content

The Perils of Feeling In-Between: The Experiences of Emerging Adult Novice Teachers

Abstract

This paper explores whether emerging adults who are also new teachers experience any negative consequences connected with the “in-between” feeling of emerging adulthood. A survey was administered to 58 first-year teachers to identify teachers who were satisfied and dissatisfied with their classroom management experiences. A subsample of 16 teachers were interviewed to elicit their narratives of becoming adult and becoming a teacher. Teachers used three frameworks to define and describe the experience of adulthood. Completing the Adult Checklist is a global status identified by the attainment of social role markers associated with adulthood. Feeling Adult is a subjective experience of adulthood that varies across contexts and is dependent on comparisons of the self with others. The third framework, Seen As Adult, is the establishment of adult status in the perceptions of significant others. Teachers dissatisfied with their classroom management were found to say that they did not Feel Adult in their classrooms and that they were not Seen As Adult by their students or other teachers. Implications are discussed for the study of difficulties encountered by emerging adults who take on roles in which they are expected to act in an adult capacity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Aloe, A., Amo, L., & Shanahan, M. (2014). Classroom management self-efficacy and burnout: A multivariate meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 26(1), 101–126.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alsup, J. (2006). Teacher identity discourses: Negotiating personal and professional spaces. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Arias, D. F., & Hernández, A. M. (2007). Emerging adulthood in Mexican and Spanish youth: Theories and realities. Journal of Adolescent Research, 22(5), 476–503.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Arnett, J. J. (1994). Are college students adults? Their conceptions of the transition to adulthood. Journal of Adult Development, 1(4), 213–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Arnett, J. J. (1998). Learning to stand alone: The contemporary American transition to adulthood in cultural and historical context. Human Development, 41, 295–315.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Arnett, J. J. (2001). Conceptions of the transition to adulthood: Perspectives from adolescence through midlife. Journal of Adult Development, 8(2), 133–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Arnett, J. J. (2003). Conceptions of the transition to adulthood among emerging adults in American ethnic groups. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 100, 63–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Arnett, J. J. (2011). Emerging adulthood(s): The cultural psychology of a new life stage. In L. A. Jensen (Ed.), Bridging cultural and developmental psychology: New syntheses in theory, research, and policy (pp. 255–275). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Auerbach, C. F., & Silverstein, L. B. (2003). Qualitative data: An introduction to coding and analysis. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Blatterer, H. (2007). Coming of Age in Times of Uncertainty. New York: Berghahn Books.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Borich, G. D. (1999). Dimensions of self that influence effective teaching. In R. P. Lipka & T. M. Brinthaupt (Eds.), The role of self in teacher development (pp. 92–117). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Bradley, H., & Hoof, J. van (Eds.). (2005). Young people in Europe: Labour markets and citizenship. Bristol: The Policy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Cheah, C., & Nelson, L. J. (2004). The role of acculturation in the emerging adulthood of Aboriginal college students. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28(6), 495–507.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Côté, J. E. (2000). Arrested adulthood: The changing nature of maturity and identity. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Côté, J. E. (2009). Cultural images, adulthood. In D. Carr (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the life course and human development, (pp. 77–80). Detroit: MacMillan Reference USA.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Crocetti, E., Tagliabue, S., Sugimura, K., Nelson, L. J., Takahashi, A., Niwa, T., Sugiura, Y., & Jinno, M. (2015). Perceptions of emerging adulthood: A study with Italian and Japanese university students and young workers. Emerging Adulthood, 3(4), 229–243.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Curwin, R. L., & Mendler, B. D. (2008). Discipline with dignity. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Durr, A. (2008). Identifying teacher capacities that may buffer against teacher burnout. Dissertation Abstracts International, 69, 12 A.

  22. Facio, A., & Micocci, F. (2003). Emerging adulthood in Argentina. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 100, 21–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Feistritzer, C. E. (2011, July 29). Profiles of teachers in the US. 2011. http://www.edweek.org/media/pot2011final-blog.pdf.

  24. Freese, A. R. (2006). Reframing one’s teaching: Discovering our teacher selves through reflection and inquiry. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22, 100–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Furstenberg, F. F. (2010). On a new schedule: Transitions to adulthood and family change. The Future of Children, 20, 67–87.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Furstenberg, F. F., Kennedy, S., McLoyd, V. C., Rumbaut, R. G., & Settersten, Jr, R. A. (2004). Growing up is harder to do. Contexts, 3(3): 33–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Furstenberg, F. F., Rumbaut, R. G., & Settersten, Jr., R. A. (2005). On the frontier of adulthood: Emerging themes and new directions. In R. A. Settersten, Jr. F. F. Furstenberg, &amp, R. G. Rumbaut (Eds.), On the frontier of adulthood: Theory, research, and public policy, (pp. 3–25). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  28. Fussell, E., & Furstenberg, F. F. (2005). The transition to adulthood during the twentieth century: Race, nativity, and gender. In R. A. Settersten, Jr. F. F. Furstenberg, & R. G. Rumbaut (Eds.), On the frontier of adulthood: Theory, research, and public policy (pp. 29–75). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  29. Horowitz, A. D., & Bromnick, R. D. (2007). “Contestable adulthood”: Variability and disparity in markers for negotiating the transition to adulthood. Youth and Society, 39(2), 209–231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Huberman, M. (1993). The lives of teachers. (J. Neufeld, Trans.). New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Hunter, J. D. (2009). Wither adulthood? The Hedgehog Review, 11(1), 7–17.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Ingersoll, R. M. (2001). Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 38, 499–534.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Jones, V. (2011). Practical classroom management. Boston, MA: Pearson.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Kloep, M., & Hendry, L. B. (2011). A systematic approach to the transition to adulthood. In J. J. Arnett, M. Kloep, L. A. Hendry & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Debating emerging adulthood: Stage or process? (pp. 53–75). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  35. Lemov, D. (2010). Teach like a champion. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Lewis, R., Romi, S., & Qui, X. (2005). Teachers’ classroom discipline and student misbehavior in Australia, China, and Israel. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 729–741.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Liu, X. S., & Meyer, J. P. (2005). Teachers’ perceptions of their jobs: A multilevel analysis of the teacher follow-up survey for 1994–1995. Teachers College Record, 107(5), 985–1003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Lowe, S. R., Dillon, C. O., Rhodes, J. E., & Zwiebach, L. (2013). Defining adult experiences: Perspectives of a diverse sample of young adult. Journal of Adolescent Research, 28(1), 31–68.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Lundeen, C. A. (2004). Teacher development: The struggle of beginning teachers in creating moral (caring) classroom environments. Early Child Development and Care, 174(6), 549–564.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Luttrell, W. (2005). “Good enough” methods for life-story analysis. In N. Quinn (Ed.), Finding culture in talk: A collection of methods (pp. 243–268). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  41. Macek, P., Bejček, J., & Vaníčová, J. (2007). Contemporary Czech emerging adults: Generation growing up in the period of social changes. Journal of Adolescent Research, 22(5), 444–475.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Mary, A. A. (2014). Re-evaluating the concept of adulthood and the framework of transition. Journal of Youth Studies, 17(3), 415–429.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Mayseless, O., & Scharf, M. (2003). What does it mean to be an adult? The Israeli experience. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 100, 5–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. McAdams, D. P. (2008). The life story interview. http://www.sesp. northwestern.edu/foley/instruments/interview/.

  45. McLean, S. V. (1999). Becoming a teacher: The person in the process. In R. P. Lipka & T. M. Brinthaupt (Eds.), The role of self in teacher development (pp. 55–91). Albany: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  46. McNally, J., Blake, A., Corbin, B., & Gray, P. (2008). Finding an identity and meeting a standard: Connecting the conflicting in teacher induction. Journal of Education Policy, 23(3), 287–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Meister, D. G., & Melnick, S. A. (2003). National new teacher study: Beginning teachers’ concerns. Action and Teacher Education, 24(4), 87–93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. National Center for Education Statistics. (2000). Graduation and college participation rates of high school students, by selected school characteristics: 1999–2000. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/dt185.asp (Accessed Mar 17, 2010).

  49. Nelson, L. J. (2003). Rites of passage in emerging adulthood: Perspectives of young Mormons. New Direction for Child and Adolescent Development, 100, 33–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Nelson, L. J., Badger, S., & Wu, B. (2004). The influence of culture in emerging adulthood: Perspectives of Chinese college students. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28(1), 26–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Nelson, L. J., & Barry, C. M. (2005). Distinguishing features of emerging adulthood: The role of self-classification as an adult. Journal of Adolescent Research, 20(2), 242–262.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Nelson, L. J., Willoughby, B. J., Rogers, A. A., & Padilla-Walker, L. M. (2015). “What a view!”: Associations between young people’s views of the late teens and twenties and indices of adjustment and maladjustment. Journal of Adult Development, 22(3), 125–137.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Riley, P. (September, 2006). When ‘inner working models’ don’t work: Attachment styles, teacher aggression and research taboos.” Paper presented at the 2006 Joint Conference of the APS and the NZPsS: Psychology Bridging the Tasman: Science, Culture and Practice, Auckland, New Zealand.

  54. Riley, P. (2011). Attachment theory and the teacher-student relationship: A practical guide for teachers, teacher-educators, and school leaders. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Shanahan, M. J., Porfeli, E. J., Mortimer, J. T., & Erickson, L. D. (2005). Subjective age identity and the transition to adulthood: When do adolescents become adults? In R. A. Settersten, F. F. Furstenberg & R. G. Rumbaut (Eds.), On the frontier of adulthood: Theory, research, and public policy (pp. 225–255). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  56. Tickle, L. (1999). Teacher self-appraisal and appraisal of self. In R. P. Lipka & T. M. Brinthaupt (Eds.), The role of self in teacher development (pp. 121–141). Albany: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (2005). The first days of school. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.

  58. Zacarés, J. J., Serra, E., & Torres, F. (2015). Becoming an adult: A proposed typology of adult status based on a study of Spanish youths. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 56, 273–282.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daryl Dugas.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 154 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dugas, D. The Perils of Feeling In-Between: The Experiences of Emerging Adult Novice Teachers. J Adult Dev 24, 189–198 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-016-9257-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Emerging adulthood
  • Identity
  • Narrative
  • Teachers