Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Woods Scherr, PhD, Director; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD


British Columbia, children & youth, educational changes, elementary schools, Leadership studies, mid-career, Phenomenology, teachers


The demographics of the teaching population in British Columbia indicate a significant number of teachers in mid career. Their cares, concerns, and interests dramatically influence educational activity in the province. The experiences of these educators lie within a context of major restructuring of the entire provincial school system and substantive educational change mandated by the government of British Columbia. Using a phenomenological approach, this study explores the experiences of seven, mid-career, elementary school teachers in one British Columbia school district; investigates how these teachers experience system-wide, mandated, educational change; and suggests implications of these understandings for leadership practice. During three, in-depth, semi-structured interviews, the participants reconstructed their educational, family, and teaching experiences. The researcher used an inductive approach, designed specifically for phenomenological research, to identify and analyze key themes that emerged from the individual narrative created from the interview data. This study provides an understanding of the experiences held by elementary teachers in mid career and elucidates their perceptions of educational change. These experiences, although personal and varied in detail, portray several common attitudes and dispositions. The study identifies nine themes that provide information for mid-career teachers as they seek to understand this phase of their work life. The seven major themes are connection, self-knowledge, growth and development, balance between work and home, demands of teaching, professional well-being, and time as a measured commodity. The two minor themes are a renewed commitment and insecurity. This understanding is important for other teachers, administrators and leaders in education because it communicates the issues and concerns of teachers in mid career. Educational change was an issue in the participants' lives, but only as it affected their personal teaching situation. They did not focus on the educational changes and restructuring imposed by the government. The understandings of this study suggest that leaders in education can support and nurture mid-career teachers by encouraging and sustaining genuine collaboration and collegiality, acknowledging personal experiences and individual backgrounds, providing opportunities for professional development, encouraging and supporting risk-taking and sharing information.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access