Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Doyle Stevick


This study traces the first year experiences of six international exchange teachers employed in three public and charter schools settings from three districts in two southeastern states. Interviews with these teachers from China, Germany and Colombia, and with their school and district leaders enabled me to produce a narrative of how international exchange teachers adapt to teaching in American schools. I adopted a cooperative stance as I observed and audio recorded their personal and professional lives at the beginning of the school year, then again shortly following the scheduled mid-year winter break, and for a third time before end-of-year state testing in the spring. I found that all of these international exchange teachers shared two struggles. First, there were challenges of adjusting to the lifestyle: to acknowledge that America is as diverse as it is homogeneous. Second, was the challenge of adjusting to the mores of American life -- that of getting a state license to drive, buying a car, finding an insurance agent to provide vehicle coverage. Also find a place to live, access to water and electrical services, and secure household furnishings became an unexpected endeavor. The context of colleagueship was shown to fall within a short window of time. This was due to teachers arriving in the states after the school year had begun with little time to prepare rooms or gather classroom materials.

When comparing the practices of the participants in their native countries to their American classroom practices mirror the current culture. Participants had unclear expectations of the program design, and procedural expectations. Central to that focus was management of student's behavior, lack of classroom resources and understanding parent participation and parent expectations. Common themes emerged, indicating these teachers all had a desire to work with students, a passion for teaching and expanded opportunities in their home countries that stem from their experiences teaching in the United States.

Exemplary models of induction both in the U. S. and internationally should be sought in order to identify and disseminate best practices that would better accommodate international exchange teachers' transition into the teaching carousel


© 2012, James Thomas Siler