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QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE OCCUPATIONAL LONGEVITY
OF A LATE-CAREER ADAPTED PHYSICAL EDUCATOR
JONATHAN MICHAEL RICHARDS
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN EXERCISE AND SPORT SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Jonathan Michael Richards
This thesis is dedicated to my family, who has never gone a day without supporting me.
Also, this thesis is dedicated to all my friends present, past and, beyond.
There are several individuals I would like to acknowledge and thank for their great
support throughout my career as a student. First, I would like to thank my chair (Dr.
Todorovich) for his continuing commitment, encouragement, and patience with this
proj ect and throughout my graduate studies. I appreciate his complete support. Next, I
would like to thank Dr. Stopka my professor and mentor since 1998. She is truly the
reason why I am completing a master' s degree with a specialization involving individuals
with disabilities. I would also like to thank Dr. Fleming for his continuing support and
great insights. Lastly, words of encouragement from my girlfriend helped me
tremendously in completing this proj ect. I am grateful to all of these people.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv
AB STRAC T ................ .............. vii
1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......
Qualitative Rationale .............. ...............2.....
Purpose of the Study ................. ...............3.......... .....
D efinitions .............. ...............3.....
Limitations ................. ...............4.................
A ssum options ................... ...............4..
Significance of the Study ................. ...............4................
Personal Interest ................. ...............5.................
2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................. ...............6.......... .....
Socialization .............. .. ... ..... ..............
Defining Teacher Socialization ................. ...............7............ ....
Pre-Service Training............... ...............8
Adapted Physical Education ................. ................. 13......... ....
Life History Approach ................. ...............16........... ....
3 METHODS ................. ...............19.......... .....
Participant ................ ...............19.......... ......
Procedure .............. .... ...............20..
Interview Procedures .................. .. ......... ...............21.......
Data Preparation and Analytical Procedures ................. ......... ................25
Issues of Trustworthiness .............. ...............27....
4 RE SULT S .............. ...............29....
Interviews and Observations............... ..............2
First Formal Interview............... ...............2
Second Formal Interview .............. ...............30....
Third Formal Interview ................ ...............31........... ....
Daily Observations and Informal Interviews .............. ..... ............... 3
5 DI SCUS SSION ................. ...............36................
For the Love of Kids and the Career ................. ......... ......... ..........3
Liking Special Populations ................. ...............37........... ....
A Career Meant for Life ................. ...............38........... ...
Growing Up to Having a Family .............. ...............45....
When She Was a Child............... ...............46.
Family and Personal Life................ ...............50.
Of All the Hard Settings ................ ............... ........ ......... ........ ...58
What Support! What Innovation! ............. ...............65.....
Great Support................. ...............6
Innovation with Motivation............... ...............7
6 CONCLUSION............... ...............8
First Research Question............... ...............80
Second Research Question .............. ...............81....
Third Research Question .............. ...............8 1....
Fourth Research Question............... ...............8
Fifth Research Question .............. ...............82....
Application .............. ...............82....
A OUTLINE OF FIRST FORMAL INTERVIEW ................ ................. ........ 84
B OUTLINE OF SECOND FORMAL INTERVIEW ................. ........................86
C THEMES, SUBTHEMES, AND CATEGORIES ................... ...............9
LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............92........... ....
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............97....
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science In Exercise And Sport Sciences.
QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE OCCUPATIONAL LONGEVITY
OF A LATE-CAREER ADAPTED PHYSICAL EDUCATOR
Jonathan Michael Richards
Chair: John Todorovich
Major Department: Health Education and Behavior
According to recent research, physical educators have a high burnout rate while
teaching physical education. It is also known that when physical education involves the
inclusion of individuals with disabilities, more difficulties (along with fear) arise for
many. Although research has been completed on assisting physical educators with
teaching methods for individuals with disabilities, research has yet to be completed
examining how special physical educators resist burnout.
Most of the research completed on the issue has focused on the negative reasons for
burning out. This study's intentions are to display the positive reasons of why a special
physical education teacher is still teaching after 22 years of employment. Once presented,
the findings may be transferable to help develop environments conducive to regular
physical education teachers.
A single case study, along with a life history approach, was the basis for the present
study. Four themes, consistent within the data, were analyzed and discussed using
qualitative methods. The discussion reveals how the participant remains innovative and
motivated during the course of her career. Also, the discussion illustrates the participant' s
lifelong passion to work with individuals with disabilities.
Conclusions specifically answer the following research questions: Why does the
participant continue teaching after a long career? Why has the participant not burned out,
as many others in the field quickly do? What motivates the participant to teach children
with disabilities? How does the participant handle difficult situations in the classroom?
How does the participant cope with personal stressors while at work? Results showed the
following: the participant has a passion for working with individuals with disabilities; the
participant knew from an early age that she wanted to be a physical educator working
with individuals with disabilities; the participant separates her work from her home life;
the participant has a large network of support; and the participant maintains variety in her
job settings. It is noted that generalizations cannot be made.
Research on teaching in physical education (RTPE) has significantly improved how
teachers teach physical education. This type of research has been conducted in a variety
of ways. In 1977, Locke completed a study titled Research on Teaching Physical
Education: New Hope for a Dismal Science. In the article, Locke expressed his belief that
researchers in the field of teaching physical education needed some help to put more
meaning into their research. Locke pointed out that many articles published at the time
were written more for researchers and graduate students to get to the next level (e.g.,
graduate, tenure, promotion) than to improve teaching. Once published, the research
often ended. Thus, studies were completed only at a one-dimensional level, and
replication or strong lines of research were not developed. Therefore, Locke (1977) called
for stronger research on teaching in physical education (with replicated studies and clear
Seemingly in response to this need, Silverman (1991) published an article titled
Research on Teaching Physical Education indicating that research on teaching physical
education had flourished. Silverman suggested that current research was better and more
effective in helping physical education teachers teach than the research presented in
Locke's 1977 article. Furthermore, Silverman argued that research completed by 1991
included streams of research that should continue to be explored. The acceptance of new
research paradigms and methods (i.e., qualitative research) has resulted in much-
improved studies and research outcomes.
Since the study by Silverman (1991), qualitative research has become accepted as
valid and important research. Thus, researchers have widely implemented qualitative
methods into their designs. Indeed, many new researchers in the physical education area
are trained in the qualitative paradigm.
When conducting qualitative research, researchers complete studies within natural
settings and environments where they originate. Patton (2002) explains that qualitative
researchers do not manipulate the settings or people studied; therefore, the research is
conducted in the natural sense. In addition, there are no predetermined outcomes, results,
or hypotheses made before a study begins. A qualitative study follows its natural course
and conclusions emerge from the truest sense, with the data collected.
Researchers sometimes find a specific case or a single person that appeals to them
in regard to their unique characteristics. If intrigued enough, the qualitative researcher
proposes a question about the subj ect (participant). With enough motives, the researcher
will conduct a qualitative analysis and the subj ect will become a single case study.
The present study is a qualitative case study design. This qualitative study includes
a single case study design, and a sampling strategy referred to as Extreme or Deviant case
sampling (Patton, 2002). Patton describes extreme or deviant cases as "a strategy that
involves selecting cases that are information rich because they are unusual or special in
some way, such as outstanding successes or notable failures" (Patton, 2002, p.231).
Using extreme or deviant case sampling (Patton, 2002), I investigated the
outstanding successes of an experienced adapted physical educator. Since the sample size
of the study includes only one participant, generalizations have not been made beyond the
scope of the study. Rather, findings may transfer and influence similar situations.
Purpose of the Study
My purpose was to examine an individual case study of a successful and unique
late-career adapted physical education teacher. The following research questions have
been addressed using qualitative research methods.
* Why does the participant continue teaching after a long career?
* Why has the participant not burned out, as many others in the field quickly do?
* What motivates the participant to teach children with disabilities?
* How does the participant handle difficult situations in the classroom?
* How does the participant cope with personal stressors while at work?
* Extreme or deviant case sampling: "A strategy that involves selecting cases that are
information rich because they are unusual or special in some way, such as
outstanding successes or notable failures" (Patton, 2002, p.231).
* Grounded theory: Strauss and Corbin's meaning behind grounded theory is to
"...build theory rather than test theory...," "...provide researchers with analytical
tools for handling masses of raw data...," "...consider alternative meanings of
phenomenon...," for a researcher to be "...systematic and creative
simultaneously...," and it clarifies "...the concepts that are the building blocks of
theory..." (1998, p. 13).
* In-service teacher socialization: Primarily concerned with the influence of the
school setting and related education agencies (Templin & Schempp, 1989).
* Life History Approach: A process to explore the socialization amongst an
individual and his/her surrounding environments over one' s life history of teaching.
* Pre-service teacher socialization: Any preparation before being a teacher; primarily
concerned with recruitment into teaching and professional preparation (Templin &
* Recruitment phase: Consists of the 12-15 years of an individual's life before any
college teacher education courses have been taken (Hutchinson, 1993).
* Socialization: ..the process by which people selectively acquire the values and
attitudes, interests, skills and knowledge in short, the culture-current in groups to
which they are, or seek to become, a member" (Merton, Reader, & Kendall, 1957,
* Teacher socialization: The domain where individuals who work as teachers become
a collaborating member in their society of teachers (Danziger, 1971).
* Successful physical education teacher: Evidenced when students show increased
learning outcome, through exercises or drills, taught by the teacher.
* Since the sample size of the study includes only one participant, generalizations
have not been made beyond the scope of the study. Rather, findings may transfer
and influence similar situations.
* The personal relationship between the participant and the researcher had the
potential to bias the study.
* Data collection depended on the operation of the audio taping equipment and the
researcher writing the occurrences in the observations.
* The researcher and participant had an open relationship during the study.
* The participant was truthful.
* The methodology used in the study did answer the research questions.
Significance of the Study
Teaching adapted physical education is a profession faced by many challenges that
negatively influence teacher retention and career length (Templin, Sparkes, Grant, &
Schempp, 1994). Unfortunately, there are few successful and innovative late-career
adapted physical education teachers. Because it is a goal of teacher educators to prepare
teachers for long teaching careers, it is important to understand the processes that help to
assist teachers in maintaining their enthusiasm and love of teaching. A study done by
Fejgin, Ephraty, and Ben-Sira (1995) shows that burn out rates for physical educators are
high. If researchers can discover factors that may influence the burn out rate, then
physical educators will prosper, and so will the children being taught.
This study is significant because it provides insight into the factors that influenced
the career history of a late-career, innovative, and successful adapted physical education
teacher. Thus, the potential exists for using the findings from this research to begin
learning how to influence the career of pre-service and early career adapted physical
I have personal interest in completing this study because once I complete my
education I will be a Certified Adapted Physical Educator (CAPE). While enrolled, I was
involved in many adapted physical education programs. In some instances, I see the need
for change. Some teachers are highly motivated and very enthusiastic about teaching,
while other teachers do not show the same motivation and enthusiasm. Perhaps there are
hidden reasons that cause the lack of motivation and enthusiasm. Perhaps the reasons are
not so hidden. The possibilities can involve the administration, funding, other faculty, or
maybe the teacher is just burned out.
In this study, I discovered the foundation involving one particular case that can be
used as a model for other cases to improve teaching environments. Not only will other
teachers be able to use this information for their careers, but so too, should I.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
It is the purpose of this chapter to facilitate the researcher in becoming familiar
with past research completed in the Hield of adapted physical education. In doing so, this
review of literature will delve into several important areas that, after acknowledging, will
help drive the present study. For that reason it is necessary to define and discuss the
following areas: Teacher Socialization, Pre-service Training, Adapted Physical
Education, and the Life History Approach. Components are reviewed in relation to
teaching adapted and regular physical education. A review of these components reveals
the theoretical perspective and background relative to the present study.
Although one can look back into time to read Waller's 1932 classic study, The
Sociology of TeacI hring. socialization studies involving teaching started to show up in the
literature in the 1950s. Since then, its prevalence has increased significantly since then
(Becker, 1952; Lortie, 1975; Tabachnik & Zeichner, 1985; Templin & Schempp, 1989;
Wright & Tuska, 1968). Even so, socialization studies involving teaching physical
education have evolved more slowly (Hutchinson, 1993; Lawson & Stroot, 1993; Stroot
& Williamson, 1993; Templin & Schempp, 1989). Familiarity with socialization and
reviewing studies conducted in physical education helps one to understand the role of
socialization in influencing teacher practices.
Defining Teacher Socialization
Since socialization theory has existed for quite some time, many different
definitions have emerged. Templin and Schempp state the following about Wenworth's
"Definitions range from socialization as the moral obligation to uphold societal
norms to socialization as a Freudian conception to socialization as a training
phenomenon to socialization as learning whereby an individual moves into
behavioral alignment with societal norms or the expectations of a given social
system" (1989, p. 2).
In addition, teacher socialization is defined as the domain where individuals who
work as teachers become a collaborating member in their society of teachers (Danziger,
1971). Whereas Merton, Reader, & Kendall define socialization as "...the process by
which people selectively acquire the values and attitudes, the interests, skills and
knowledge-in short, the culture-current in groups to which they are, or seek to become, a
member" (1957, p. 278). Dewar argues, "Becoming socialized involves more than
learning the appropriate scripts, it is an active process whereby individuals negotiate not
only what they learn but how they interpret what is necessary to be a successfully
socialized teacher" (Templin & Schempp, 1989, p. 3). The rationale is the individual
(teacher) takes an active part of his or her own life, in society. The individual then
decides how to create a successful level of socialization at school, while teaching. The
opposite of this, a functionalist type of framework, such as what Wenworth uses, says
"individuals are products of society; that is, historical social structures" (1980, p.2).
As one can see there are different points of views within the socialization context.
However, both points of view agree that socialization involves people in society in all
aspects of their lives. Furthermore, it is a process in which an individual either affects, or
is affected by the environment that surrounds them.
Presently, many studies have been completed on pre-service physical education
training (Behets, 2001; Doolittle, Dodds, & Placek, 1993; Graber, 1989, 1993; Hardy,
1999; Karp & Williamson, 1993; Mitchell, 1993; Solman & Ashey, 1995; Stroot &
Williamson, 1993). Pre- service socialization processes are primarily concerned with
recruitment into teaching and professional preparation (Templin & Schempp, 1989).
Templin and Schempp further explain that pre-service socialization "... represents
important socializing experiences that occur before one actually enters the service of
teaching" (1989, p.4). The two are important to understand because they will assist with
the identification of the processes in which the participant was exposed before she
decided to be a teacher. Later in this review, the Life History Approach will be discussed.
Understanding pre-service processes, and with the use of the Life History Approach, the
researcher will have a solid foundation for developing questions to probe the participant
throughout the study.
Recruitment Phase. Within the teacher socialization context, is the recruitment
phase of physical education teachers. The recruitment phase consists of the 12-15 years
of an individual's life before any college teacher education courses have been taken. This
is the time when all of the "knowledge, values, attitudes, beliefs, skills, and interests" of
the individuals evolve (Hutchinson, 1993, p.344). These evolutions come from personal
experiences within sport and physical education (Dewar, 1983; Doolittle, et al., 1993;
Pooley, 1972). Lortie' s (1975) research explains five themes that captivate individuals
toward the realm of teaching:
* Interpersonal: The passion for working with youth.
* Service: Wanting to make contributions to society by working with youth.
* Continuation: Needing to work in an environment that is comfortable and familiar,
such as school settings.
* Time compatibility: Wanting many holidays along with extensive vacations in the
* Material benefits: Needing money and job security.
It has been known for some time that the recruitment phase of teacher socialization
depends on past experiences of pre-service and experienced physical educators (Dewar,
1983; Doolittle, et al., 1993; Hutchinson, 1993; Lortie, 1975; Pooley, 1972). In so,
Hutchinson (1993) and Doolittle et al. (1993) proposed, "It is unclear how this
information has been influenced by individuals' experiences during formal teacher
training and teaching in schools" (Hutchinson, 1993, p. 344). Therefore, in 1993
Hutchinson completed a study that researched "the perspectives that prospective physical
educators have about the physical education teacher role prior to entering college teacher
training programs" (p. 344). Ten high school students, who showed interest in pursuing a
career in teaching physical education, participated in the study. Hutchinson's findings
were that the group had three common speculations about physical education: (a)
physical education provides sports and athletic participation, (b) having fun in physical
education is a goal, and (c) anyone, with enough determination, can successfully
complete a skill. She describes them as having "narrow perspectives on teaching physical
education" (p. 353). Furthermore, she discusses:
If the perspectives of teaching held by these would be teachers cannot be expanded
and improved through teacher training, they will emerge as physical educators who
(a) continue to uphold the attitude that physical education accommodates athletics,
(b) remain bound to a custodial orientation, (c) endorse a shallow approach to
curriculum, (d) perceive planning as unnecessary, and (e) regard student
participation as student learning. Unchanged perspectives will potentially
perpetuate a teaching force already stereotyped as 'rolling out the ball', particularly
at the secondary level (Hutchinson, 1993, p. 353).
This study and similar studies display that pre-service and in-service teaching programs
play a vital role in the making of a good physical education teacher (Doolittle, et al.,
1993; Hollingsworth, 1989).
Pre-service Professionals. Pre-service professionals will now be discussed. A study
conducted by Hardy (1999) concluded that pre-service teachers situate their emphasis on
the gathering of experience with the realities of teaching, learned at the university they
attended. While attending school, pre-service professionals have not gained significant
experience working in the field. Therefore, their knowledge only comes from what they
have learned in the classroom. A look into pre-service professionals' attitudes is
necessary in order to fully understand the effects that hands on experience has on
physical education students.
Recent research displays pre-service professional preparation should include hands
on experience with individuals with disabilities. Moreover, with the use of the Physical
Educators' Attitude Toward Teaching Individuals With Disabilities III (PEATTD-III)
(Rizzo, 1993) studies display that the attitudes of pre-service professionals significantly
change after participating with hands on experience (Folsom-Meek, Groteluschen, &
Nering, 1996; Folsom-Meek, Nering, Groteluschen, & Krampf, 1999; Hodge, Davis,
Woodard & Sherrill, 2002; Hodge & Jansma, 1997, 1999; Kowalski & Rizzo, 1996). The
PEATTD-III survey (Rizzo, 1993) is an instrument that measures physical education
professionals' attitudes toward working with individuals with disabilities. In 2002,
Folsom-Meek and Rizzo validated the PEATTD-III survey for future professionals.
Results indicate three measurements, "outcomes of teaching students with disabilities in
regular classes, effects on student learning, and need for more academic preparation to
teach students with disabilities" (Folsom-Meek & Rizzo, 2002, p. 141).
Hodge and Jansma (1997) studied students' enrollment in introductory Adapted
Physical Education (APE) courses that did, did not, require practicums. The study
utilized the PEATTD-III survey for future professionals (Rizzo, 1993). Conclusions
report, "strong conformational evidence was shown for the effectiveness of introductory
APE courses" (p. 72). Furthermore, the study indicated introductory APE courses that
required a semester long practicum had the highest rate of attitudinal change concerning
pre-service professionals' attitudes toward individuals with disabilities.
A similar study completed by Folsom-Meek, Groteluschen, et al. (1996) had equal
results to Hodge and Jansma's 1997 study. The study compared physical education
maj ors and other academic maj ors' attitudes toward individuals with disabilities. The
PEATTD-III survey (Rizzo, 1993) was employed during the study. Findings display no
significant difference between maj ors; however, significance was found between hands
on experience versus no hands on experience. In addition, non physical education maj ors
with hands on experience showed more favorable attitude toward individuals with
disabilities rather than physical education maj ors with hands on experience. Finally, the
study concluded, despite the maj or, hands on experience increases attitudes toward
individuals with disabilities.
Variations of the above studies, utilizing the PEATTD-III survey (Rizzo, 1993),
have been completed to further validate the need of hands on experience for pre-service
physical education professionals (Folsom-Meek, Nering, et al., 1999; Hodge, Davis, et
al., 2002; Hodge & Jansma, 1999). In 1999, a study revealed non-physical education
maj ors displayed more positive attitudes toward individuals with disabilities, women
presented more of a positive attitude compared to men, and pre-professionals with hands
on experience displayed more positive attitudes than pre-professionals without hands on
experience (Folsom-Meek, Nering, et al.). The vast range of studies completed on the
topic present the importance of pre-service training. Furthermore, the studies call for
hands on experience in order to increase the attitudes of pre-professionals toward
individuals with disabilities. Then, pre-professionals will move into the workforce
prepared to work with individuals with disabilities (Maeda, Murate, & Hodge, 1997).
Lastly, a study was completed on how states with licensing for adapted physical
education has pre-service students with increased positive attitudes as a whole compared
to states working toward licensure or without (Folsom-Meek, 1998). This study displays
that with the proper education and hands on experience, attitudes of pre-service
professionals will maintain a higher positive attitude toward working with individuals
with disabilities than others without the appropriate education.
In-service Professionals. Whereas pre-service teaching is concerned with situations
before stepping into a classroom to teach, in- service teaching is primarily concerned with
the influence of the school setting and related education agencies (Doolittle & Schwager,
1989; Templin & Schempp, 1989). Templin and Schempp further explain that in-service
socialization "...represents socializing experiences that occur after one enters the
teaching ranks" (1989, p.4). Only after in-service professionals begin to gain experiences
outside of the classroom settings, is when their knowledge-based education is put to the
test. It is at this time when they begin to gain significant experiences influenced by school
settings and education agencies.
Adapted Physical Education
This portion of the review will discuss studies involving adapted physical
educators. The topics will discuss the need, the attitudes of regular versus adapted
physical educators, and support versus lack of support from co-workers. It is not the
intentions of this section to discuss what and how adapted physical educators teach, for it
is assumed this is already known. Researching this section of literature will assist with
understanding why the participant (in the present study) is a unique case in the field of
physical education and adapted physical education.
In 1999, a study completed on adapted physical education job openings for first and
second priorities compared the years 1975-1976 and 1997-1998 (Zhang, Joseph &
Horvat). The conclusions state that the field is a growing employment market. However,
those who specialized in the field are encouraged to minor in other areas and those who
specialize in other areas are encouraged to minor in adapted physical education. The
reasoning is that the market shows adapted physical education second priority job
openings are increasing more quickly rather than first priority job openings. This study
displays that the need is high for professionals who are trained in adapted physical
education, but the school systems may not make it a first priority to hire those specialized
in the field. However, one who is specialized in other forms of teaching and also has little
training in adapted physical education is more of a priority to hire.
Another study completed on the need for adapted physical educators is presented.
This study takes a different approach to presenting the need. The study used findings
from a prior study that looked at a similar question. The prior study's findings were that
4% of United States schools required adapted physical education services and overall the
adapted physical education student-teacher ratio was 104 students to every educator
(Kelly & Gansneder, 1998). The findings of the later study revealed that the nationwide
need for adapted physical educators is 22, 116 additional educators (Zhang, Kelly,
Berkey, Joseph, & Chen, 2000). The number given can be used to advocate for the need
of trained adapted physical educators across the country and more specifically in local
To understand how current educators feel toward working with individuals with
disabilities, research on educators' attitudes must be addressed. Recent studies concluded
that current teachers feel they lack the education and experience to work with individuals
with disabilities (LaMaster, Gall, Kinchin, & Siedentop, 1998; Russell, 1997). A study
completed by Russell in 1997 asked teachers if they feel if they needed more training in
adapted physical education. Of the returned surveys, 81% stated that they did need
additional training. Another study completed in 1998 found similar results (LaMaster et
al.). This study indicated that little support was given to Adapted Physical Educators
while the educators feel they were not adequately prepared for teaching inclusive classes.
Furthermore, the study states, "These teachers had strong feelings of guilt and inadequacy
as they continued to try to be effective for all children" (p. 64). As indicated earlier in this
review, research displays positive attitudes in teaching individuals with disabilities
correlates with hands on experience and appropriate coursework at the pre-professional
level (Folsom-Meek, Groteluschen, et al., 1996; Folsom-Meek, Nering, et al., 1999;
Hodge, Davis, et al., 2002; Hodge & Jansma, 1997, 1999).
A final discussion in adapted physical education literature will look at the support
for adapted physical educators. Throughout the review of literature many studies describe
different levels of support. Several studies display great support for their participants
while others focused solely on lack of support. The following study was discovered and
is utilized in this review to show how adapted physical educators may not even be asked
to j oin a student' s Transitional Plan team (Krueger, DiRocco, & Felix, 2000). Looking
into this study will assist the present study in that it will display different ways an adapted
physical educator may not be supported. The study comprised of mailing a survey to
Wisconsin adapted physical educators on the subj ect of Leisure Transition Plans (LTP).
In the state of Wisconsin, there is a public law that mandates adapted physical educators
to develop an LTP. The surveys return rate was 75%. The results show that of the 75%
returned, only 21% of the adapted physical educators had developed an LTP.
Astoundingly, 64% of the educators were never asked to be a part of the transition
planning team. Therefore, one can assume that there is little support throughout the
school system for the adapted physical educators. The assumptions include little support
from the principals and co-workers of the schools, too. This study shows that in some
cases such little support is given that adapted physical education teachers may not even
be asked to j oin the student' s mandatory transition team, part of the nationally mandated
Individual Transition Plan (ITP).
On the other side lies an approach where school systems are asking adapted
physical educators for consultation advice. Two studies have been researched on this
issue. The first describes how adapted physical educators feel about providing
consultation and also indicates the prevalence (Lytle, 1999). The results indicate that the
need for adapted physical educators consultation is more prevalent at middle and high
school levels. Also, the results state that consultation as a means of support to general
physical educators is increasing through the nation. The surveyed participants concluded
that the effectiveness of the consultation depended on the attitude of the general educator,
the skills of the APE specialist, and the amount of administrative support given. A similar
study was completed on the consultation of adapted physical educators (Lytle & Collier,
2002). This study expanded upon the first and had like results. The study concluded that
the consultation's effectiveness was also dependent upon the general educator' s attitude,
like the first study. However, the study went further to explain that the consultant' s
communication skills and competencies were also a factor regarding effective
consultation. It shows that it takes both a good attitude from the general educator but also
the consultant must be highly knowledgeable on how to assist.
Life History Approach
For many years, researchers have used a Life History Approach as a process of
exploring the vitality of a single case study. During the last two decades, studies
emerging with this approach have increased significantly (Ball & Goodson, 1985;
Goodson, 1981, 1988; Naess, 1996; Sparkes, 1993; Sparkes & Templin, 1992; Sparkes,
Templin, & Schempp, 1990, 1993; Templin, 1989; Templin, Sparkes, et al., 1994). In the
past, researchers conducting single case studies mostly paid attention to factors that had
negative impacts on the individual (Naess, 1996; Templin, 1989; Templin, Sparkes, et al.,
1994; Sparkes, Templin, & Schempp, 1993). The studies focused on cases where the
participants were in situations in the workplace that caused hardships in teacher
socialization processes, and through those hardships, teaching itself. Such opposition
came from positions in the administration advocating for less physical education and
more "book" teaching in the classroom, low funding for physical education programs,
lack of support from other faculty and administration, personal conflicts of wanting to
coach but having to teach physical education in order to do so, and other personal issues
such as family problems, and issues dealing with sexual orientations (Templin, Sparkes,
et al., 1994). The literature suggests that because of the above situations, burn out rates in
physical education teachers are high (Fejgin et al., 1995). Studies like these show no
direct assistance for helping physical education teachers because they do not model
"wanted" programs. However, the studies do prove that there are many factors that exist
which can affect physical education teachers, either for the bad or for the good. Future
research needs to examine the other side of teaching physical education, the side in which
conflicts and opposition are less apparent. These programs can be used as a model for
programs that have negative forces working against them. This will better assist
administrators and teachers to find an environment to receive the best results in physical
The participant's case is one that shows the other side. Her environment, along with
the faculty and administration with which she works with is supportive where most are
not. In 1988, Goodson discussed in his book, The Making of Curriculum, that researchers
must explore and explain what teachers may not even be aware of. This is done through
multiple interviews and direct observations. With the purpose of understanding
everything that affects the participant's teaching adapted physical education, the
researcher has taken a life history approach to reveal the known and unknown aspects of
the participant's essence in teaching.
Researchers use the life history approach as a way to better understand all aspects
of the person' s life. It is a process to explore the socialization amongst an individual and
his/her surrounding environments. With physical educators as an example, the
investigator will research the person's life at work (facilities, classroom settings,
motivations, students, parents, co-workers, and administrators), life at home (relaxing
techniques, relatives, motivations, etc.), current and past education (courses taken,
courses interested in taking, continuing education, etc.), and related jobs and experiences.
Brown (1999) explains that there is an interface within the life history approach.
Furthermore, Brown says it is an interaction that occurs between two social dimensions,
those of an individual and the society. Templin, Sparkes, et al. (1994) discuss Zeichner &
Gore's 1990 article and state that:
"The life history approach explores the subj ective realities of individuals in a way
that both respects their uniqueness and allows them to speak for themselves.
Equally, life histories are able to provide rich and textured information about the
ways in which teachers' perspectives are rooted in the variety of personal, familial,
religious, political, and cultural experiences they bring to teaching" (1994, p. 276).
In reference to the life history approach Naess states "...we are able to see not only how
various social, psychological, economic and religious factors influence the teacher's life
choices, but we also are afforded the opportunity to reveal the social structures in which
such choices are made" (1996, p. 314).
Fry (1997) discusses that the life history approach is not story telling, but merely an
interpretation of an individual's experiences, in the case of this study, teaching
experiences. Furthermore, Fry explains about her study, "other researchers with different
ideological positions could well produce alternate interpretations" (1997, p. 145). This is
true in all studies; therefore, accurate data collection processes must be taken.
This study is a single case study and used a sampling strategy referred to as
Extreme or Deviant case sampling (Patton, 2002). Patton refers to extreme or deviant
cases as "a strategy that involves selecting cases that are information rich because they
are unusual or special in some way, such as outstanding successes or notable failures"
(Patton, 2002, p.231). In this case, the researcher looked at an outstanding success in the
experiences of an adapted physical educator. Other sampling strategies make
generalizations of the area studied. This specific case cannot be used as a generalization
for other adapted physical educators because it is unique in its own way.
For the purposes of this paper, the participant studied is named Claire. Claire is an
experienced teacher of adapted physical education. Currently, she has taught for over
twenty-two years in the public school system and worked in several other positions in her
field before that. In 1975, she graduated college with a degree in physical education.
After college life, she took a job in a state mental health institute (hospital) where over
300 residents lived. She worked there for only ten months, explaining that the living
conditions for the residents were horrific. With much disgust for the living conditions of
the clients, she quit the job. (Eight years late in 1983, the facility closed down
permanently due to a class action lawsuit). Her next j ob, in 1977, was in a similar facility
located in the same state. At the time, the facility housed over 2,000 residents. After three
years of working there as a special physical educator in a state school program, she
decided to find another job. From there, she worked with the Association for Retarded
Citizens (ARC). She became the Recreation Director while also teaching special physical
education as half of her duties. While working at the ARC she was being paid through a
grant. After two years of employment (1979-1981), the grant ran out and she had to find
Six years after receiving her college degree, Claire decided to give the public
school system a chance. In 1981, she started working full-time as an adapted physical
educator at a school (in this paper, called Marshville School for students with
disabilities). This school is for the local community and is referred to as an "anchor"
school. While taking on the full-time position, she also worked, part-time or split-time,
with a few other schools in the physical impairment units. While working these part-time
jobs, she also worked as an adapted physical education teacher. She has remained at
Marshville School ever since. Twenty-two years later she remains on the cutting edge of
her field, teaching adapted physical education.
In order for this study to be conducted in the true naturalistic and qualitative sense
there were two procedures the researcher followed. Neither of the two is more important
than the other. The two procedures consisted of multiple interviews and observations.
The multiple interviews included three formal and daily informal interviews that
coincided with daily observations. The length of the data collection processes lasted for a
period of two months. Nearly fifty hours, in twenty-seven episodes, were logged in the
field while collecting data. This is discussed in further detail in the next several
One of the procedures used to collect data was interviewing. There are two
variations of interviewing that were adopted for this study, they are: standardized, open-
ended, formal interviews and informal conversational interviews (Patton, 2002). Multiple
interviews between Claire and the researcher occurred throughout the data collection
Formal interviews. The standardized open-ended interview "...approach requires
carefully and fully wording each question before the interview" (Patton, 2002, p.344).
The questions for the interviewing process were written and evaluated thoroughly before
they were selected for application. The interviews were open-ended to allow flexibility in
Claire's answers and are arranged so there is no error in receiving one-word answers. In
addition, valuable data were collected from Claire's answers, in that the answers are the
own thoughts and words from her.
There were three formal interviews arranged by the researcher. The first was
conducted at the beginning of the study within the first week of data collection. These
questions were written with the thoughts of the original research questions of why the
researcher is doing the case study. The questions were in reference to her education, work
experiences, students, co-workers, community, motivations, time off, and home life
(Appendix A). Answers from the first formal interview were the foundation of the entire
study. Within forty-eight hours after the first interview the researcher transcribed the
entire interview onto a computer with the use of a data transcriber. Once transcribed, the
researcher analyzed the data and sorted them into categories. With this method, thirty-
three categories emerged from the data (Appendix C).
The second formal interview occurred in the middle of the study during the fifth
week of data collection. While the first interview was the primary step into learning about
the participant, the second interview was developed to probe further in detail about the
participant. The questions were written during the fourth week of data collection with the
understanding that many things were known about the participant but not much known as
to why they occurred. This interview asked the participant to explain her actions and her
feelings on various topics. Writing the questions late into the study also allowed the
researcher to analyze data in the first half of the study and then to develop questions that
arose from the data analyzed. This method was useful because it allowed the researcher
to pinpoint questions that still needed to be answered (Appendix B). Within forty-eight
hours after the second interview the researcher transcribed the entire interview onto a
computer with the use of a data transcriber. Once transcribed, the researcher analyzed the
data and sorted them into the thirty-three categories, which emerged from the first formal
interview. There were no new categories that emerged from the second formal interview.
Once the data were sorted into the categories, the researcher developed four themes and
seven subthemes in which the categories were placed (Appendix C). This is the basis for
the discussion section in this paper.
The third and Einal formal exit interview occurred after all data were collected and
analyzed. It was an exiting, formal interview. A key point of the final interview was to
have the participant review the researchers interpretations of the data. In the interview the
participant decided that the researcher interpreted all of the data correctly. Also, the
researcher asked the participant to add any data that she felt was missing. The participant
then gave feedback letting the researcher know that she agrees with the findings. The
interview concluded with the researcher thanking the participant for allowing the
opportunity to research her as a special case of an Adapted physical educator.
Informal Interviews. An informal conversational interview is a variation of the
open-ended interviewing process and was assessed for this study. Patton conveys, "this
interview offers maximum flexibility to pursue information in what ever direction
appears to be appropriate, depending on what emerges from observing a particular setting
or from talking with an individual of that setting" (Patton, 2002, p.342). There were no
pre-determined questions asked. The reason so is once in the setting the researcher did
not know what would happen next. When different students are present Claire may
handle them in different ways; therefore, provoking a question from the researcher. The
researcher then asked her in an open-ended, yet informal question the reason for her
The informal conversational interview was conducted on a daily basis. This
allowed data collection on a regular basis. It also allowed for questions and answers to
arise spontaneously. The interviews were either written down in a notebook or tape
recorded with the permission of the participant. After completion of the interviews, the
researcher transcribed the data onto a computer using a data transcriber.
Observation Procedures. Another procedure completed was multiple observations.
The observations were completed on twenty-four occasions for approximately two hours
each time. Subsequently, the observations coincided with the daily informal
conversational interviews. The observation approaches are discussed in the following few
The researcher chose to conduct daily observations for several reasons. One was to
describe the settings, the activities that take place, the people who participate in the
activities, and the observations of the participant' s perspectives. Second, as a result of
being present in the setting, the researcher did not have to rely on prior
conceptualizations of similar settings; therefore, firsthand experience allowed the
researcher to be open, discovery oriented, and inductive. A third reason for conducting
observations was that sometimes the participant may not be aware of certain situation
occurring in the setting. In the interviewing process, a question may be asked, but if the
participant is not aware that it is occurring in the settings, then the participant cannot
answer the proposed question. It was the researcher' s responsibility to decipher when the
participant is aware of situations and when she is not. In addition, this was an opportunity
to discover things to which others have paid little attention. A fourth reason was that by
conducting direct observations it was an opportunity for the researcher to find
information that the participant may have been unwilling to discuss in the interviewing
process. The participant may be sensitive to some topics and not willing to talk about
those situations in person. A fifth reason is that while interviews are a vital source of
data, they are also the perceptions of the participant. While the researcher observed the
participant, the researcher will not have to rely on what the participant says, by listening
second handedly, but can observe what the participant says is true. Finally, the researcher
was able to use personal knowledge of the settings during the formal interpretation stage
of the analysis (Patton, 2002).
There are a few variations in observation approaches. An observer can be a
participant, an onlooker, or both. Patton describes a participant observer as "one who
employs multiple and overlapping data collection strategies: being fully engaged in
experiencing the setting (participation) while at the same time observing and talking with
other participants about whatever is happening" (Patton, 2002, p. 265). In this study, the
researcher was a participant observer, a participant, and an onlooker, as Patton describes
above. In doing so, this combined daily observations with daily informal interviews and
supplied the researcher with regular data collection.
The observations did occur daily throughout the study. Along with observing the
participant in the classroom settings, the researcher subsequently wrote Hield notes in a
notebook or tape-recorded the thoughts of the researcher and/or actions of the participant.
After completion of the observations each day, the researcher transcribed the data onto a
computer using a data transcriber. Written Hield notes were also used in the observations.
When utilized, the researcher later typed the Hield notes and placed them with the other
Data Preparation and Analytical Procedures
Data gathered through formal and informal interviews and observations, discussed
earlier, was conducted by using the individual-case analysis procedure (Patton, 2002).
The individual-case analysis procedure refers to what is happening to an individual in a
particular setting and how the setting affects the individual.
The researcher implemented the grounded theory as a process of generating theory
rather than concentrating on particular theoretical content (Patton, 2002). By applying the
grounded theory, the researcher utilized "the most influential paradigm for qualitative
research in the social sciences today" (Denzin, 1997). Strauss & Corbin (1998, p. 13)
refer to grounded theory as a way for researchers to connect with data through the data
analysis. The framework they offer is a series of "coding procedures" which "help
provide some standardization and rigor" within the analytical process. Strauss and
Corbin's (1998, p. 13) meaning behind grounded theory is to "build theory rather than
test theory," "provide researchers with analytical tools for handling masses of raw data,"
"consider alternative meanings of phenomenon," for a researcher to be "systematic and
creative simultaneously," and it clarifies "the concepts that are the building blocks of
theory." With this application of theory, a more inductive strategy will occur.
Subsequently, using a constant-comparative approach the researcher will connect
inductive strategies with deductive strategies (Glaser, 1978, 2000; Glaser & Strauss,
1967; Patton, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). A constant comparative approach involves
"systematically examining and refining variations in emergent concepts" (Patton, 2002,
p.239). It is necessary to sample the variations in order to compare and contrast them.
The researcher applied this technique by categorizing the data.
Data were categorized into themes that represented common discourse with the
actions, feelings, and the affect on the participant from the settings of the participant. The
researcher developed the themes by using the emergent category designation (Erlandson,
Harris, Skipper & Allen, 1993). This technique involved taking the data and separating
them into categories of ideas. The categories evolved from the following rules: The
researcher read and defined the first unit of data. This became the first entry into the first
category. Next, the second unit of data was read. If the content had the same tacit feel as
the first then it became the second entry in the first category. If the data were not the
same tacit feel of material then it became the first entry in the second category. The
researcher followed these steps, of separating and joining data where appropriate, until all
of the units of data were delegated to their categories. If there were units of data that did
not apply to a given category then the researcher placed these data into a miscellaneous
category. These data units were looked at again to see if they were a part of any of the
existing categories. If there was no additional information that each datum provided to
the study, then each inappropriate datum was discarded. The researcher then defined a
title to distinguish each category established. The titles were written on a separate sheet
of paper where all titles can be seen at the same time. The last step was for the researcher
to start the whole process over again; however, he used the titles as a basis. The purpose
of this was so the researcher would not be fixed on the categories presented, but could
keep an open mind to either allow new categories to emerge or to get rid of those
categories unnecessary. There were no categories discarded or no new categories that
emerged from repeating the process. Once completed, the researcher felt that all data
were appropriately categorized.
Issues of Trustworthiness
Three primary approaches were implemented for establishing trustworthiness for
this study (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Themes and categories that emerged from the data
were cross-checked (Patton, 2002) and compared across data sources to confirm or
disconfirm assertions made by the researcher. This process, referred to as triangulation,
is a well-used qualitative technique for ensuring trustworthiness and validity of the
assertions. Here the researcher sought after several different sources for insight about the
spoken events or relationships the participant incurred (Patton, 2002). Second, the
participant was asked to review the interpretations made by the researcher and to correct
any inaccuracies. The participant requested no changes to be made. If the participant did
request for changes to be made, then the recommended changes would have been
discussed with the participant and any changes deemed necessary would have occurred.
Next, peer debriefing was utilized and assisted in evaluating the quality of the assertions
made by the researcher (Patton, 2002). This process involved three researchers
knowledgeable of both achievement goal theory and qualitative research methods.
The three researchers periodically reviewed the assertions made by the researcher.
The purpose of this section is to explain in detail the processes, settings, and time
into the study when the interviews and observations were conducted.
Interviews and Observations
Three formal interviews were conducted throughout the study. All three were
administered by the researcher and executed at specific points within the study. Also, the
researcher conducted daily informal interviews that coincided with daily observations.
The researcher spent nearly fifty hours in the Hield (over a period of two months)
completing interviews and observations within several different settings. The following
settings were at the school where the participant teaches: the participant' s onfce, the
school gymnasium, a field next to the school gymnasium, lunchroom, and through out the
school's hallways. Other settings included rides on school buses, the participants'
vehicle, and a municipal swimming pool facility.
First Formal Interview
The first formal interview occurred at the beginning of the study. This interview
was completed within the first week of data collection. The researcher confronted the
participant and together they decided a time and place to carry out the interview. The
interview occurred in the participant' s onfce at the school where the participant worked.
The two people involved, the researcher and participant, sat down in a formal setting and
completed the interview. The researcher administered predetermined questions that were
well thought of before the interview occurred (Appendix A). The predetermined
questions allowed no error in receiving one-word answers but gave the participant open-
ended questions that required explanations. Interview questions were established in order
to have the participant express situations such as previous experiences, feelings, child life
issues, work ethics, family life, and other personal issues. The first formal interview
lasted approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.
The data collected from this interview provided the researcher with the entire basis
of what the study became. Once the interview was complete, the researcher then
transcribed the entire interview. Next, the researcher analyzed the data and sorted them
into categories that became apparent. From this, thirty-three categories were developed
and separated into themes and subthemes (Appendix C).
Second Formal Interview
The second formal interview occurred within the fifth week of the data collection
period. Where the purpose of the first formal interview was to give a broad explanation of
the participant over personal issues with work, family, and other experiences, the purpose
of the second formal interview was for the participant to explain in great detail issues the
researcher needed clarified. Again, this interview required predetermined questions that
were essential to receive the answers needed (Appendix B). Once the questions were
written the researcher confronted the participant and together they decided a time and
place to carry out the second interview. The interview occurred in the participant' s office
at the school where the participant worked, the same place where the first formal
interview transpired. The two people involved, the researcher and participant, sat down in
a formal setting and completed the interview. Because this interview was vital in
explaining the study in great detail, the length of the interview was approximately two
hours and thirty minutes. The participant, still involved with teaching in the school year,
did not have enough time to complete the interview in one session; therefore, a second
session was needed to finish the process. A second session occurred two days later and
lasted for approximately one hour, whereas the first session lasted for approximately one
hour and a half, totaling two hours and thirty minutes for the two sessions. Upon
completion of the second formal interview, the researcher asked the participant if there
was anything that needed to be added. The participant stated that everything was covered
and there wasn't anything left out. Then the researcher thanked the participant for taking
time to complete the interview.
Next, the researcher transcribed the interview and sorted the data into the categories
from the first interview. There were possibilities of new categories arising from the
second interview; however, there were no new categories that emerged. After the data
were sorted into categories the researcher formed themes and subthemes for the
categories to be sorted into (Appendix C). This will be addressed in great detail after a
discussion of the observations that occurred in the study.
Third Formal Interview
The third formal interview was administered after all data were analyzed and
placed into themes, subthemes, and categories. The setting of the third interview occurred
at the participant's house. This was a formal interview and both, the participant and the
researcher, sat down at a table to carry out the interview. The interview lasted for nearly
one hour. There were two obj ectives for this interview. One was for the researcher to
explain to the participant what was established in the data. The second obj ective was for
the participant to give her opinions on the researcher' s interpretations of the data. The
researcher clearly explained both obj ectives to the participant at the beginning of the
interview in the following manner: First, the researcher described how the categories,
subthemes, and themes were created from data within the first two interviews. Before the
researcher discussed each theme, he told the participant to interrupt at any time if she
wanted to add something or if she wanted something clarified. The researcher then
discussed each theme as how he interprets the data. As the data were presented, the
participant acknowledged that the researcher interpreted each theme correctly. Even so,
on a few occasions the participant asked for clarification and also opted to add her
thoughts on the situation, but always agreed with how the researcher depicted each
theme. At the end of the third interview the researcher asked the participant to look over
the first section of the discussion so the participant could understand how the researcher
is going to portray what was talked about in the interview. This gave the participant a
good understanding as to how the researcher writes his interpretations of the data. About
the interview and everything the researcher has discussed, the participant stated, "I think
you have covered it extremely well."
Daily Observations and Informal Interviews
The daily observations and informal interviews will be discussed together because
of their closely natured processes. Their processes are closely natured because the two
coincide with each other. This is explained in the following few paragraphs.
There were several incentives for the researcher to conduct daily observations. One
was to describe the settings, the activities that take place, the people who participate in
the activities, and observations of the participant' s perspectives. With the use of Hield
notes the researcher later could recall what occurred in the daily observations. The Hield
notes took place in the form of writing in a notebook and talking into a tape recorder. The
researcher would record his own thoughts or the participant' s actions or words in the
settings. Therefore, everything that occurred while the researcher observed, the
participant, was recorded and later transcribed. This method gave the researcher the
ability to re-enact each day that was observed. Second, as a result of being present in the
setting the researcher did not have to rely on prior conceptualizations of similar settings;
therefore, firsthand experience allowed the researcher to be open, discovery oriented, and
inductive. This allowed the researcher to make new conceptualizations about this
particular setting. The conceptualization the researcher made was that this setting was
specific to its own. Therefore, no biases were formed because of other setting's
influences. A third reason for conducting observations was that sometimes the participant
may not be aware of certain situations that occur in the setting. It was the researcher' s
responsibility to decipher when the participant was aware of situations and when she was
not. In addition, this was an opportunity to discover material that no one else has paid
attention to, including the participant. A fourth reason was that by conducting direct
observations it was an opportunity for the researcher to find information that the
participant may have been unwilling to discuss in the interviewing process. The
participant may have been sensitive to some topics and not willing to talk about these
situations in person; therefore, observations would bring an understanding to these topics.
A fifth reason is that while interviews are a vital source of data, they are also the
perceptions of the participant. While the researcher observed the participant, the
researcher did not have to rely on what the participant said, by listening second handedly,
but can observe what the participant said was true. This was a process that crosschecked
or confirmed statements made by the participant. Finally, the researcher was able to use
personal knowledge of the settings during the formal interpretation stage of the analysis
After completing an observation, the researcher developed specific questions that
related to what he recently observed. This is when the researcher conducted informal
interviews. The informal interviews clarified what was happening right after it happened.
For example: there were instances when a student was being told to sit out and was not
allowed to participate. This brought up questions such as, "When do you tell a student to
sit out?" Or "Do you allow certain students more opportunities than others to misbehave
without sit out time?" The researcher employed informal interviews to gain information
about the settings as they occurred. The questions were not predetermined as were formal
interviews. The researcher developed questions while observing that needed clarification
about a situation. In addition, the answers that the participant declared prompted other
questions from the researcher in order to probe further in detail. This process provided
good, detailed data in that the researcher conducted interviews with no boundaries, but
could let the interview's poise lead the direction.
The settings of the observations and informal interviews occurred in several places.
Most of the observations occurred in a gymnasium. Within this setting, the participant led
many different activities, such as: basketball, roller-skating, and roller-blading, parachute
activities, in-door running races, dance activities, and assorted ball games. Another
setting includes a field next to the gymnasium where the participant directed "water play"
and gave students who were not dressed out for the activity an opportunity to play
outdoor ball games. Water play involved five aboveground, kiddy pools and students
were told to dress in a bathing suit or another pair of clothes that were allowable to get
wet. Four of the pools were smaller and were for free-play while the largest pool was big
enough for the students to practice swimming skills with the participant. An off-campus
setting that the students were transported by bus was a municipal swimming pool facility.
The participant traveled with the students there in the last few weeks of school and
summer school to teach them swimming skills. The school in which the participant
worked paid for lifeguards to be on duty and in the water while the students were at the
facility. Therefore, safety was not an issue. At the end of the school year the participant
hosted an awards ceremony for the students. The awards ceremony occurred in the
lunchroom. Informal interviews occurred in several settings, including bus rides to other
facilities, the gymnasium, school hallways, the field next to the gymnasium, and the
participant' s office.
The obj ective of this chapter is twofold. The first is to discuss the findings from
the data. The second obj ective answers the five research questions that drive the purpose
of this study. In doing so, discussing the findings will subsequently answer the research
questions. Once again, the research questions are as follows:
* Why does the participant continue teaching after a long career?
* Why has the participant not burned out, as many others in the field quickly do?
* What motivates the participant to teach children with disabilities?
* How does the participant handle difficult situations in the classroom?
* How does the participant cope with personal stressors while at work?
This chapter discusses four themes that emerged from the data. The themes are as
follows: "For the Love of Kids and the Career," "Growing Up to Having a Family," "Of
all the Hard Settings," and "What Support! What Innovation!" There are a total of seven
subthemes, they are as follows: "Liking Special Populations," "A Career Meant for Life,"
"When She was a Child," "Family and Personal Life," "Hard Working Environments,"
"Great Support," and "Innovation with Motivation." A representation of how the themes
relate is illustrated in Appendix C. From the order listed above, the themes are now
For the Love of Kids and the Career
The first theme is entitled "For the Love of Kids and the Career." The relevance of
this theme entails two important topics, considered subthemes. The two subthemes are
"Liking Special Populations" and "A Career Meant for Life." As the section progresses,
the subthemes are discussed in further detail. The first topic, "Liking Special
Populations" involves the participant's life devotion to individuals with disabilities.
Furthermore, the participant has stated on numerous occasions that she likes working
with special populations. The next topic is "A Career Meant for Life." This entails
situations that continuously occurred throughout the participant' s life to prepare her for
the career that she has chosen. The course of the participant' s life was directed by what
she always wanted to do, ever since she was in third grade. The entire theme plays a key
role in what the participant is and does today.
Liking Special Populations
"Liking Special Populations" represents a few different categories. Together the
categories display how the participant cares for the special populations. The feeling
Claire demonstrates comes out in her testimonial within the interviews. Within the next
few paragraphs Claire' s testimonial of how she likes special populations will be
Throughout the interviews Claire consistently states her feelings toward the special
populations. Such statements include: "I just really like working with special population
kids" and "I happen to really like the severe population." Statements like these occurred
often in the interviews. In addition, her feelings toward the special population make
going to work easy for her. She states in an interview about why she likes the special
Well I think that has a lot to do with, my kids love being in school. They want to be
here. They're like, 'oh no, it's not vacation time, they don't want vacation. I think
the willingness to try to do things, the honesty, the innocence, the playfulness, most
of my kids. I think I honestly, I have this motor instinct that I know that I am a very
important person in their lives, because not only am I their teacher but sometimes I
make a lot of big decisions for them. You know like I might be the only person to
teach them how to swim or might be the only person to ever take them bowling,
and to introduce them to a park. And it' s just I enj oy giving people new
experiences. And that' s sort of beyond the teaching part.
The researcher agrees that Claire's feelings do go beyond "the teaching part." Such
statements validate that the participant does truly care about the special populations.
Furthermore, Claire reflects on a time when she was working in a mental health institute:
And I remember that was the first time that I really felt that I was beyond being a
teacher, that I was their parent, I was their friend. I mean what ever we did is what
they got, because these were guys that were in the institution. Most people looked
at them and didn't think that they could do much because that they weren't verbal
or they couldn't walk or that type of thing. And we just had tons of fun.
More about Claire's working experiences is discussed in the next section; however,
the above statement displays passion and respect toward the special populations. Claire
not only understands the special populations but also lives her life to serve this
population. This makes her an exception compared to others who serve the special
populations for a short period of time.
A Career Meant for Life
The next subtheme focuses on how Claire's life long devotion to the special
populations involves a career that she is dedicated to. Her devotion isn't a feeling that
came with her j ob, but it is a feeling that Claire noticed as early as the third grade. The
following is a statement made by Claire during the first formal interview:
In the third grade I've mentioned to you I worked with Head Start kids when the
program first came about in the sixties, and at that point on I just always known
that I wanted to be a PE teacher. But I just have never seen myself do anything else.
I've never seen myself in another setting. I have never visualized myself in another
setting but working with mentally handicapped students.
This statement is a bold statement in that Claire said she always wanted to be a
physical education teacher and nothing else. Therefore, the researcher asked Claire
during the second formal interview a follow-up question that involved the above
statement. The following is an excerpt from the second formal interview:
Researcher: I understand that you never saw yourself doing anything else. Can you
explain to me why? What was the defining moment in your life when you
said, 'Claire, this is what I want to do, I want to teach special physical
Claire: I did Head Start in third grade and I volunteered with the Head Start
program when they had just developed the program and I spent a summer with
little kids... They were probably 4 and 5 years old and I was nine or ten years
old and we did outdoor activities and I just thought that was great...
Researcher: Before the Head Start program that you worked with, you had no clue?
Claire: No, I had no clue. No, I don't know if I really even thought about it. Well
you know I had pictures of me as a little girl and there are some clues to it... I
really, I mean, it was a very defining moment in third grade, I'll never forget
it, just going, ok, I'm going to be a P.E. teacher and that was that.
Often when children are at a young age they fantasize with professions that they
want to "grow up" and do. However, at age nine or ten it is not often that a child knows
what they want to do and then as they grow older they enter into that profession. In
Claire's case it was at a very young age, around nine or ten, when she knew what she
wanted to do in her life and then proceeded to do it. This is an example of Claire' s life-
devotion to the special populations.
Throughout Claire's extensive career as a special physical educator, she has
acquired a respectable resume of work experiences. This makes way for the next
category, involving multiple experiences. In 1975 she obtained a college degree in
physical education, at that time there were no degrees offered in special physical
education. Her first job lasted for a short period of time, ten months. The j ob was
working at a mental and physical health institution. There, Claire was involved in a
recreation program that took the clients on field trips. In an earlier interview Claire
described the facility as "too institutionalized." This invoked the researcher to ask Claire
to describe what is "too institutionalized." She describes the setting in the following
I worked on a ward with 23 clients that were in cribs and my job was to get them
out of the crib. I drove a school bus and took them on, it was part of recreation
program, and I took them on field trips and it just, the institute, they had just, they
had just taken the cages off the cribs. I mean it was your hard-core institution and I
just, it wasn't for me. Not the environment that I wanted to work in. You know, a
little too cold, very intense, it was just kind of sad. I wanted to be with kids that
were in a public school.
After working in the setting of her first j ob, Claire decided to leave and move to
another city for employment. Her second j ob was in similar setting as the first j ob, a
mental and physical health institution. She worked at this facility for three years. Her
duties entailed working in a cottage on the facility through a state school program where
she taught special physical education to the clients. The first year at the facility she
worked with very severely profound, non-ambulatory kids. Then from there she worked
in one of the cottages through the state school program where she worked with another
teacher. Her last year working at the facility Claire became the physical education teacher
for the state school program. Claire reflects on her last year in the institution setting:
By the end of the third year I was ready to get out of the institution setting. I got
really, I remember thinking, you know that environment at that time before the
federal government came in, it would be winter time when the kids didn't have
jackets and coats and you know the care on the cottages was not really good and I
just got burned down trying to fight for kids lives and be their teacher. I mean it
was just, you were just, this is too much. I don't know how else to explain it. I
mean, you're always just trying to get their shoes on their feet and trying to get
jackets so they can come to school and I mean you're always just beating your head
against the institution type setting and it' just, I just got burned out on it.
Claire gained more experience with her next j ob at the Association of Retarded
Citizens (ARC). While working at the ARC, her title was Recreation Director. She stated
in an interview that before she worked at the ARC, they had never had a person who
conducted physical education full-time. She was the first. Therefore, she was able to
develop a lot of programs rather than take over programs that were already in effect.
Another aspect of her j ob was to travel to a local high school and to a business center to
conduct physical education to the special populations. The position was financed through
a federal grant. The grant lasted for only two years while the ARC employed Claire.
About the j ob, she stated:
It turned out to be a great j ob. I probably would still be there if it hadn't been on a
grant position. But, I'm glad I'm not, I'm glad I am where I am. I was just
devastated when I had to leave that j ob.
After the ARC, Claire came to the school where she currently works. Now, she has
been working at this school for over twenty-two years. While employed, Claire has taken
on multiple tasks that are not included within the school. Thus, she has earned more
experience outside of the school settings. After leaving the ARC, Claire became a
member of the board for the ARC and the county coordinator for the Special Olympics
for ten years. Therefore, not only was she involved with the special populations during
her workday but also after hours. While she was working as the county coordinator for
the Special Olympics her j ob duties included, but were not limited to, raising funds for
the events, organizing the events, and making sure that all of the athletes went to all of
the events for the state and county games. In an interview Claire spoke of her work as the
county coordinator for the Special Olympics:
It was a lot of fun. It' s a lot of work...I called in meetings and had maybe thirty or
forty people there that were willing to help with the different aspects of Special
Olympics and volunteer. You know when we started we had huggers, which they
don't do anymore. At every Einish line there was someone to hug the athlete when
they crossed the finish line. We used to feed them with McDonalds and Burger
King and the different places in town. We have our games with about 300
participants, now it' s more like a regular track [event]. There' s no food. There's
huggers, you know you give the ribbons out, you run the event. It' s still a lot of
work and a lot of planning; but it' s been fun to watch it evolve to what it is now.
She stopped working as the county coordinator for the Special Olympics so she
could raise her son. She stated, "it was taking too much time away from home." Her son
was one year old and she needed more time away from the extra-curricular activities that
she was participating in, other than school. Today she gives advice, helps a little with the
Special Olympics, and she still takes kids to participate.
Other activities that she is involved in along with school consist of the following:
treasurer of the PTA, the department chair person (at school), organizing open house,
organizing the class reunion, and the family picnic. She states, "I like doing stuff like
that, I like kind of being in charge of extra-curricular stuff outside of teaching in the
As one can see, Claire has taken many opportunities to be involved in and gain
experiences within the field of Special Physical Education for nearly thirty years, with the
last twenty-two years at the same place of employment. This, alone, has given her the
knowledge and aptitude to become the fine special physical educator she is today.
The researcher believes that another element, which involves special physical
education as the career meant for Claire' s life, comes out in her passion for her j ob. As
discussed in an earlier section, Claire demonstrates great passion for the special
populations. Furthermore, in this section the researcher displays Claire's passion for her
job in relation to her passion for the special populations. Within the interviews Claire
repeatedly states how she enjoyed each j ob she has obtained.
Claire cherished working with the clients at her first j ob but did not like the setting
it was in, as discussed in an earlier section on how the setting was "too institutionalized."
While working there she did many activities with the clients, as Claire reflects in this next
I was in the department of recreation and my j ob was working with non-
ambulatory, very severely profound adults and I took them on fieldtrips. So
everyday I loaded kids, or young adults on a school bus and we'd take them to
different parks and bowling allies.
Furthermore, with the next passage she exhibits her passion for working with the
special populations at the institution, but explains how it was difficult for her to see the
I worked at the j ob in [the institution] for 10 months, and it was really too
institutionalized for me. I had a very difficult time with it because it was a hospital
setting and I wanted something, I didn't really care for the way the kids were cared
for and that type of thing, so I moved...
As explained in an earlier discussion, the next place Claire worked was similar to
the first; however the settings were not as horrific. In the following extract Claire
discusses the activities she did with the clients and how some people looked down upon
them while she had "tons of fun" with them.
[About Claire's second year at the second institution] ...I went to the classroom
and worked with PI [physical impairment] kids, and that was probably the greatest
classes I've ever had. I worked with another teacher. It wasn't PE, we did
classroom activities. They were kids who were more PI than mentally handicapped.
We used to do all kinds of stuff with these guys. We took them to Disney World,
we took them home for Christmas, we use to take them trick or treating. We just
did everything with these kids. And I remember that was the first time that I really
felt that I was beyond being a teacher, that I was there parent, I was there friend. I
mean, what ever we did is what they got, because these were guys that were in the
institution. Most people looked at them and didn't think that they could do much
because they weren't verbal or they couldn't walk or that type of thing. And we just
had tons of fun.
Her feelings express a genuine passion for the kids and the job that she did. As
Claire' s j obs change, her passion for each j ob grows. It is not that she ever disliked any of
her experiences, however in the first couple of settings [the institutions] she felt that she
was not in the correct setting she would have liked o have been in. She wanted to be in a
setting where she had freedom to work with the kids rather than in a setting with many
regulations, like an institution. Freedom, along with passion, came with her next j ob as
the Recreation Director for the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC). Claire explains
her feelings toward the job:
Absolutely loved that j ob. I had it for two years on a grant. I worked with adults in
a j ob, sheltered j ob setting. And I was a full-time PE person and I would just, when
I think back of it I really didn't work real hard. I had 40 kids and I would do PE
activities with 40 kids once a day but I would work all day. I wrote a lot of
programs, we did a lot of field trips and that type of thing...
When the grant ran out, the ARC could not afford to pay anyone to be employed
for the position. Claire had to leave the position. She states, "When that grant went out, I
was very upset, because I could have stayed at that j ob forever."
With the next position, Claire displays great passion. The next position is also the
same position she currently holds, special physical educator, for the last twenty-two
years. This is her life, and her life is her passion. In the second interview the researcher
asked Claire, "I know you're very passionate about your j ob and your students, can you
explain to me why you are so passionate?" In response Claire stated:
Because I like what I do. Well...this is what I do. This is my life. I mean you know,
I have a choice, I can come to work happy or I can come to work bummed out. I
much rather live my life feeling good about what I do and happy about what I do.
This is, I just think that it is the choice of the way I choose to live my life. It sounds
so dramatic. I do this at home, I do this with my friends and I want things to be
In addition, Claire tells a story about a boss she had at the ARC, while she was
working there. The researcher asked her a question that invoked her story, "How do you
cope with personal stressors while at work? What do you do while you are here?" She
answered with the following:
I can very easily put aside things. Put it out of my head. I learned it when I worked
at ARC, I'll never forget this. I had a boss and I went in to talk to him about
something and he hung up the phone when I walked in and he said, 'Oh one of my
best friends just got diagnosed with Leukemia,' and we talked about it for about 2-3
minutes and he said, 'ok, I got to put it aside because I've got to do my job.' And
he was able to do that. I was so impressed with that and it just really, I thought you
know that is really a great skill to have. And I can come to work and put aside, and
then my husband hears all about it. But I mean you know, I don't think you will
ever see my carry over from things from home to here. Because that' s not how, my
job is where I come here every single day, this is where I know I am going to be
and I want it to be a great place. I want to have fun here I want to enj oy what I do. I
get frustrated, I get angry or disappointed, you know that type of thing with my j ob,
but I want it to be a good place because I know this is where I am going to be.
Another feature that makes Claire unique is that she not only comes to work happy,
it is her intent to make everyone around her feel the same. She includes everyone who is
involved with her. In the following segment Claire is discussing how she wants pre-
service physical education students to feel when they come to visit her class:
Every time a university student comes here either to do a practicum or internship, I
want them to leave here feeling excited about the job because maybe they'll go out
and be a teacher for special kids and feel good about it. It' s not so much as going
out and being an advocate, it's just feeling good about what you are doing.
This uniqueness also carries over with how Claire wants to give the classroom
aides a good experience, as she states in the following:
When I have PlVH [Profound Mentally Handicapped] classes come in here I'm
doing it just as much for the kids, what ever program, as I am for the aides that
come in here, because I want them to feel good about it too. Because those guys
work really hard for those kids and sometimes making them feel good is giving
them a break. Or you know, letting them say, 'you know I can do this.' You know,
because they are the one's feeding them, changing their diapers, lifting them, just
doing everything. I want them to come in and feel good. It's about the kids and it's
also about the staff that works with them.
Growing Up to Havinn a Family
This section incorporates Claire's childhood experiences and present family life as
inspirations in her teaching. In so, the influence of Claire' s family as she was a child to as
she is now an adult, her childhood physical education, and her athletic experiences are
presented in the following paragraphs. The two parts of this section are entitled "When
She was a Child" and "Family."
When She Was a Child
From the day she was born until about the age of six, Claire was a sick child. She
explains, "Because I was a premature baby, very unhealthy, very skinny, always cold,
every time my lips would turn purple I would have to get out of the pool, type thing." As
a sick child Claire reminisces how her parents were overprotective of her and wouldn't
allow her to do the same things as others her age. In addition, she remembers that around
the age of six or seven is when things changed for the better and she, mysteriously,
became healthy. From this point on in her childhood years she lived a very playful and
energetic life with the other children in her neighborhood. She revisits her childhood in
this next passage:
I don't know what happened but around age 6 or 7 I became a healthy person. I
think that I was kind of over protected. I've just always liked being, I think of my
childhood as playing outside, being outside. I grew up in a very nice neighborhood
that had tons of kids. I think of my summers as playing kick the can, one
neighborhood verses another neighborhood... anywhere from jacks, I used to make
my mom take me to school early so we could be at the bus loop playing j acks, and
jump roping, bicycle riding. My childhood was spent playing outside. We live by a
lake, so there was always water stuff going on and it' s just kind of the way [my
childhood was spent].
If you have ever spent any time in Claire' s classroom observing her teaching methods
and activities she chooses to use, you would understand that her childhood experiences
have been brought into the classroom setting and are being utilized for teaching purposes.
As Claire continues to discuss her childhood experiences and love for playing games, this
next passage delves into how she now uses the past experiences and incorporates them
into how she teaches in the classroom.
Yeah I just, I have always been a kid who really liked to play. We were the kids in
the neighborhood who had the ping-pong table, the pool table at the house. We had
during the summer time, a couple summers, I remember Wednesday night was
poker night at our house, and we had monopoly going. We always had, my family
moved a lot when I was younger. My dad was in the military, and we were games
people, we always played games, Russian bank, we always had games, boxes and
boxes of games. [I] loved j acks, pogo sticking, jump roping, foursquare; we were
always playing games. And I think that has really carried over with my job here.
That is why I feel like having a rec. room and stuff. I think games are an incredibly
great way to teach kids, turn-taking, good sportsmanship. I mean, if I had "Anchor"
more, I would love to really do a unit on board games with "Anchor" because it is
amazing watching kids who don't have those skills playing board games, what you
The following is an excerpt from the second interview that was prompted from the above
Researcher: Did that [her childhood experiences] have any influence on you
wanting to become a P.E. teacher, and what you do in a P.E. classroom?
Claire: Yeah, definitely I wanted to be outside... I love teaching kids how to play
games and doing things. If you look at my equipment room, I have pogo sticks
and jump ropes and j acks, and some of the things that I had when I was a kid.
And I am developing more of that with the Anchor kids because they don't
have these things. One of the things I love teaching kids is how to play
foursquare. It's just something that every kid can do in the street. To play
foursquare is something I loved doing when I was a kid.
Researcher: Is that a big factor that influences what kind of equipment you bring in,
because you think they may never have a chance to do it?
Claire: Yes, I think so, absolutely, especially with the roller-skating and the
swimming, and the bowling. Absolutely.
Researcher: Is it safe to say that you want to give them the opportunity?
Claire: Yeah, I would say that 90% of my program is that. You hit it on the head
with that one. Doing the CBI trips, we used to do a lot of camping, my
husband and I, really appreciate being out in the wilderness, you know that' s
why I like taking the kids to the different parks, to Devils Millhopper, the
Hammocks, we're in parks because it' s what it' s like walking in the woods.
Claire has made it quite clear that when she was a child she loved playing games
with other children and loved being outside. Furthermore, unquestionably she states that
her childhood experiences have greatly assisted in her choices of activities to utilize in
the classroom. Next, Claire's childhood Physical Education experiences and her athletic
experiences are presented.
The influence of past Physical Education experiences to inspire Claire's drive to
become a Physical Education teacher began in elementary school. In the earlyl960's,
President Kennedy began endorsing a nationwide push for the implementation of
Physical Education classes within the public school sector. This endorsement targeted
many schools, particularly the elementary school that Claire attended. With the school
required to have structured Physical Education courses, she attended them on a daily
basis. She explains:
The elementary school I went to in the 60's, president Kennedy was starting the
fitness program for youth, the elementary school I went to was one of the schools
they targeted and we had structured PE everyday it was my most favorite time of
Her love for Physical Education classes did not stop at the elementary school level
but increased in her high school years. During her years in high school, Claire became a
favored student of the Physical Education teacher. The teacher lived in the same
neighborhood as Claire and they would occasionally see each other throughout the
neighborhood. Claire rediscovers her high school Physical Education teacher:
I just remember, Miss. Holcombe... I guess she was just a really positive person. I
remember that she put me in charge of a lot of things, which I liked. And then she
also did something, like we did archery, which I thought was very cool. I remember
her keeping me after school, and a painting that I did is still there, because I went
back there not too long ago, painted the shuffleboard thing [outline] in the hallway.
And I thought that was neat as a kid that she gave me that to do. You know, so I
think that she definitely favored me in a certain way... I was with her for last period
everyday...all of the athletes had that period, so we got to do a lot of special things.
It was fun. I don't remember, I can sort of visualize her but I just remember liking
going to that class.
Another experience, which was a concurrent influence with her high school physical
education classes, is that Claire grew up playing tennis. As stated in the above passage,
all athletes that played sports in her high school had physical education during the last
period everyday. It was time used for bonding amongst the school athletes. In addition,
after class each would stay to practice their sport.
Claire was born in Oklahoma, but moved to England a few years after. She lived in
England for her first, second, and part of the third grade. She began playing tennis while
living in England because her mom and her cousins played the game, she states in the
My mom played tennis and she wanted me to play. So I think around eight I had
my first tennis lesson. At that time we were living in England and, my cousins, we
all played tennis. One of my cousins had a tennis court in the back yard, and that' s
just sort of what we did...and when we moved [back] here [United States], we were
in New York for a while. That was just for a very short time and then we moved to
Lake City and they had one tennis court where they had a chained fence as a net.
Lake City was a very small town and there wasn't really a whole bunch to do, so
that' s what we did as a family, my sister played, my brother played, my mom
The game of tennis became a large role in her life. She describes, "I played tennis all
through High School and I was a very successful tennis player for the time. So that was
my connection with the world, and it was a very positive connection." She even recalls
using tennis as a means for a first date, "...It [tennis] was a big social part of my life. I
mean, you know, I remember having dates playing tennis, meeting people to play
tenni s... "
The high school Claire attended was newly built with several tennis courts adding
to its amenities. With the tennis courts in place, in order to have a tennis team, all the
school needed was a tennis coach. Claire speaks of the tennis coach and the team:
...When I reached high school I got lucky, because we had a history teacher in high
school that loved the game of tennis, he wasn't very good but just really loved the
game. And he formed a girl's team. We had a really good team. So, he picked us up
and we played tennis for 4 years and did really well and it was just tons of fun.
After Claire's tennis experiences in high school she continued to play competitively in
community college and finally played with the team at the University of West Florida.
Lastly, about her tennis career, she states, "It was just a really nice connection with the
school and the community."
Claire became a successful athlete in her career as a tennis player. Recall that she
was a premature baby and as a child was very sick. In so, she wasn't able to do
participate in play, as other children her age were able to do. When she turned six or
seven years old she became healthy and eventually became a successful athlete.
Experiencing the first six or seven years of her life gave her the motivation and strength
of character to become athletic and to love the outdoors. Now she conveys the passions of
her childhood experiences in the classroom where she teaches other children physical
education. As a child she loved playing board games and now has a recreation room that
has many board games and different activities that she can use as a means to teach
different skills to her students. Also, when she was growing older she loved to be
outdoors and to play different sports. Now, as a teacher she takes her children outdoors
and gives them the opportunity they wouldn't normally have to play sports. It is apparent
that Claire has masterfully conj oined her childhood experiences with how she teaches in
Family and Personal Life
Now, Claire' s personal and family life will be presented. In life it seems as if many
teachers become so involved in their work that they put their family values aside. In this
fast paced world the intentions of the teachers may not be to put so much time and effort
into their work that they forget about spending time with their family, but this may occur.
The researcher believes that this is a reason why people can become burned out within
their places of employment. Moreover, this may explain why some teachers do not take
time out of their lives to "stop and smell the roses" and enj oy their lives and families.
This segment will display how Claire strives to enj oy her life and her family. In doing so,
this section will detail her personal and family life and how her family is the backbone of
her life support.
While conducting the interviews, the researcher noticed a specific trend that Claire
kept repeating; she does not like to spend time alone. She states, "I am a person that who
does not and will not spend time alone... I just think its just having people around me and
I like touching and hugging and, you know my [school] kids are into that." Noticing the
trend in the first interview, the researcher was prompted to ask Claire to go into more
detail about the subj ect during the second interview. Claire explains:
I like being around people. I like talking, laughing, and having a good time. I have
always been very social. I just think that it' s just my personality. I just like being
around people. And I just enj oy being around people and having a good time. I
don't know how to answer that, it' s just who I am.
That is exactly who she is, and that is what makes her a special case. Claire is an active
person and generally chooses to immerse herself around other people. However, there are
times when she can be alone but she must be involved in a proj ect or doing something to
keep her busy, about her energetic self she states, "I just have energy, that I, I read late at
night to go to sleep." She continues:
Now, I go home at 5:00 or whatever time I get home at, and I crash. Because I put
all of my energy here [at work], you know. I will get bursts of energy. But I told
my husband and as I've gotten older it' s gotten better, but it's a good thing they
didn't have all of the labels when I was growing up because I would have definitely
had a lot of the labels as they give kids now [She laughs].
While Claire is very involved in her school and community she does not let her
involvement take her away from her family and friends. She speaks of her involvement:
I think, I organize things really well, and so, I mean like this year, I think I
mentioned some of this to you, I am treasurer of PTA, I am the department chair
person, I organize open house, I organize the class reunion, the family picnic, I like
doing stuff like that, I like kind of being in charge of extra-curricular stuff outside
of teaching the classroom.
When asked about her extra-curricular activities in the second interview she states:
To fill my time I enjoy being in charge of things, and having my hand in different
parts of the school. I like knowing how everything works. I like walking into the
front office and knowing how the intercom works. This sounds trivial, but I just
like knowing how everything works. If I am going to spend every day here for
basically my life, you know I want to be a real integral part of what' s going on. I
feel like I have the talent to carry these on, to carry these activities on.
With her involvement in many things surrounding the school where she teaches one
might think she would never have any time to spend with her family and friends. But on
the contrary, when she is away from work she devotes most of her time and energy with
her family and friends. This is what makes her a special case, unlike other teachers
discussed earlier in this section. She is a special case because she can keep her personal
life and her job separate from each other, as displayed within the next segment of
conversation that occurred in the second interview:
Researcher: How do you cope with personal stressors while at work? What do you
do while you are here?
Claire: .. I am very easy, I can very easily put aside things. Put it out of my head.
Claire: Yeah, really easy. I learned it, when I worked at ARC. I'll never forget this,
I had a boss and I went in to talk to him about something and he hung up the
phone when I walked in and he said, 'Oh one of my best friends just got
diagnosed with Leukemia,' and we talked about it for about 2-3 minutes and
he said ok, I got to put it aside because I've got to do my job. And he was able
to do that, I was so impressed with that and it just really, I thought you know
that is really a great skill to have. And I can come to work and put aside, and
then my husband hears all about it. But I mean you know, I don't think you
will ever see my carry over from things from home to here. Because that not
how, my job is where I come here every single day, this is where I know I am
going to be and I want it to be a great place. I want to have fun here I want to
enj oy what I do. I get frustrated, I get angry or disappointed, you know that
type of thing with my j ob, but I want it to be a good place because I know this
is where I am going to be.
Claire has learned the skill of putting her personal stressors aside when she is at work and
her school stressors aside when she is at home. This is a unique skill to acquire and to
master. Because of this she can continue to be productive while working and to enj oy her
life outside of work. This makes her a special and unique case.
About her personal life with her friends, Claire speaks:
...I mean you know there are discussions that go on at home but well my personal
life is very, very separate from my j ob even though a couple of teachers at this
school are my best friends and we do things outside of school, and we talk a little
about school, but not a whole bunch.
One point to be mentioned about her friends is that most of her friends that she spends
time with out of work are also teachers, some at the same school. In the second interview
this intrigued the researcher to ask, "Why do you choose these friends?"
Simply, Claire replied, "I do that because that' s who I meet. You know, those are
the people that I've met over the years and it' s common interest."
Claire has stated numerous times throughout the interviews how she loves the
outdoors and being active with her friends and family. Furthermore, there are a group of
her close friends that she spends a lot of time with along with her family. She reminisces
of her outings with the group:
...We have really good friends ... who we've been friends with for 20 years. We
spend every Christmas together. We spend every spring break together, we, every
Sunday we get together and have meals together; we take turns cooking. I mean
we're very, I'm probably as close to them as I would be my own family. We both
have a son their 6 months apart... mines adopted she had hers. I mean it just was a
fluky thing. Our two families do camping trips, we do summer vacations. Because
we do so much with other people all the time and we like that and that' s what we
chose, um we're part of a group of six couples that do everything together
basically. And each month we try to have something different so we can all get
together and we have been doing this for quite a few years. And then we have lots
of traditions, um, Memorial Day weekend season we go to their beach house and
you know we just have lots of great traditions.
This leads the discussion into another topic, Claire's use of taking time off. From the
researchers experience in the work field, often employees take advantage of their
employer by taking time off and may even use sick time when they are not actually sick.
This thought prompted the researcher' s next set of questions, listed in the conversation
Researcher: Do you go to work when you are sick?
Claire: Yes, I am sick today.
Researcher: Aren't you allowed time off for sick days?
Claire: I take my time, every once in a while I will allow myself and be sick and
just go home and stay in bed. I don't like being home by myself, I like being
home, I love my family. I don't want to be home and do nothing. The only
time I take a day off is when I really feel like I can't get out of bed. I use my
time and I use, I rarely have, my husband worked 7 years with out taking a
day off. I don't think that I have had a year where I don't think that I had any
time really left over at the end of the year. I don't carry over my personal
leave. I take time off to really do fun things. When I take time off I am not
staying in town. I have a really nice group of friends and we do things over,
like I have this 3 weekends out of the year, that I have this group of girlfriends
that we go on, we go out of town. I always take that Friday off because I am
doing something with my friends...I don't take off just to take off, and I don't
take off when I am sick. I take off when I know I am going to do something
really fun. You know, I do it mainly, I like to travel, so usually it's always
trips...I will take off to meet my brother or my sister if they are coming into
town. You know I take off to do things that are really fun things to do.
As one can understand, Claire uses her time off wisely. She doesn't take off in order to
have a day off, but only if she has plans to do something with her friends or family. Most
of the time she even goes into work when she is sick; this shows true dedication. This
also displays in further detail her passion for being active. Claire continues with
explaining her summer vacations:
...When it' s summertime, which is why I don't go and do some of the maj or
Physical Education workshops, because it's during my vacation time and my time
away. I don't want to do work related stuff during my vacation time. I like getting
really bored before I come back to work; so then I am excited about going back to
When she takes her time off from work for traveling with her friends and family, she
comes back refreshed and ready to continue her life's devotion to her teaching. She
returns excited and ready for the challenge of being a Special physical education teacher.
Yet, the above statements continue to explain how she keeps her work separated from her
personal life. As stated earlier, this is a reason why she is a special case and she does not
become burned out as many other physical education teachers do.
In the second interview, the researcher probed to find out more about Claire's
family life. He understood the importance of her family but still wanted to hear what she
had to say about her family. A familiar theme arose once again. The following is an
excerpt from the interview:
Researcher: ... You just stated that you don't go to workshops in the summer
because of family time. There are many people in this world that work
themselves crazy, and don't give their family that much time, why do you
give your family that time?
Claire: I totally separate, I would say, when I go home throughout the school year, I
probably do maybe an hour worth of work at home, maybe for the whole
school year. And that' s usually the first week of school when I try putting my
lesson plans book together. When I leave work, work is done. Then I go home
and have fun...
Claire: Why? Because I want to separate, I don't, work is not my life, it' s a big part
of my life, but my home life is just as important and I do what I do when I am
here, and I put all of my energy into it and when I go home, I stop this and I
do my home stuff.
Researcher: Does that keep it fresh for you?
Claire: Yeah, I think so. I don't feel overwhelmed by it or burned out by it. Now
my first, I would say my first 3 years working here, I would come in
weekends just because I was still learning what to do. I was a beginner
teacher. But after that I felt very comfortable and I learned how to manage my
time and do what I need to do within the work setting, and. The demand for
the job is only what I put on it. And I don't put so much on that I have to take
it home with me. I stay very busy while I'm at work because I don't want to
not be busy; I like being busy.
The familiar theme of keeping work separate from home arose in the above conversation.
Therefore, the researcher concludes that Claire' s action of keeping work separate from
home life is a maj or factor in her not becoming burned out. She even states that herself in
the above passage. Her family life is also an important factor and influence in her
teaching, as evident above and more specifically in the following section discussing her
family. This is a large reason why she keeps her work and home life separated. Below,
Claire begins with talking about her Mother:
I grew up with a mother. My dad died when I was young, and my mother never
remarried. I grew up with a mother who never worked, that was extremely involved
in the community that we lived in. She did outrageous stuff, started daycare
centers for underprivileged people, she not only did the daycare stuff, she would
bring in the mothers and teach them how to cook and how to go to the grocery
store... she belonged to the garden club and the women's club, but she was very,
very community oriented. Which I think, I grew up watching that and really
respecting that and liking that part of what she did. Um, and my mother' s also
British and was not from this country and lived the life of her and my brother and
my sister and I, my dad died of a heart attack unexpectedly when I was 9 and so she
stayed in this country and learned how to cook and she learned how to write bills
and you know I just had a tremendous amount of respect for her. She's a very
strong woman. I grew up in a matriarchal family, in other words, I mean I've, my
sister is the oldest and she's a very strong woman too and I just lived with strong
The influence of her family as she was growing has a solid correlation to what she has
grown to be today, a strong woman. She continues on with her family and now discusses
her connections with her husband:
...My husband, who we're getting ready to celebrate our 21st anniversary Thursday
which is also my graduation, grew up in a totally different family, which is you
know entertainers, a very quiet mother, you know the father rules the house... So, I
remember when Mark and I first met we both talked a lot about our family and I
thought this is really cool. He feels as close to his family and his family is as
important to him as my family is to me. You know and that was definitely one of
the maj or attractions when we first met... I was looking at our photo book the
other day we were laughing at how all our pictures look the same, we're just a little
older because we do all these fun things. I mean we have a great life. We really
Above displays how Claire's family life and her husband do play a positive role in her
life. This makes it easy for her to forget about work. She can come home from work and
want to have fun with her family and friends. Then in the morning go to work prepared
for another day as a Special physical education teacher. Below is a final question and
answer segment from the second interview:
Researcher: Does you family life influence you teaching? Maybe how you interact
with them, or...
Claire: I think that when you teach and you don't have children and then you do,
things shift a little bit. Because you know you start thinking about how your
child might interact or how you want teachers to interact with your child. So, I
think there is a little shift that, you know, I think you become a little more
aware that you are working with other people's children... I mean I have a
husband that is very supportive and you know if I have questions about some
things that I am doing I can always talk to him about it.
A final conclusion and thought on Claire's separation from work and her personal
life is that it keeps her fresh, well prepared to start another day, it is a meaning of
finishing a long day at work, she can spend time with her friends and family, she can
have fun, and most importantly, she does not become burned out and want to quit.
Of All the Hard Settings
Discussing the next theme involves the difficult settings that Claire has worked in.
This does not describe what her positions were in her previous and current place of
employment, as this was discussed in an earlier section of this chapter. The obj ective of
this section is to describe the difficult work settings she has worked in and how she has
overcome them or why she chose to leave them. There is one common theme that arose
in this section; it is entitled "Hard Working Environments."
Hard Working Environments. The first segment to be discussed involves Claire's
working environments that were or are currently difficult to handle. The difficult work
settings will be discussed in the order from the day she began working to the present day.
In doing so, her reasoning for why she relinquished her duties from two of her past places
of employment will also be presented. Also, this section will discuss how Claire manages
difficult students and co-workers who have negative attitudes in the workplace.
A previously mentioned difficult environment that Claire has worked in is the
institutional settings. When she decided to work at the first mental health institution the
year was 1975 and she was fresh out of college and looking to make an impact in the
lives of her patients. Shortly after starting her j ob, she began to realize that the institution
and the employees were working against her beliefs and were hindering her j ob
performance. When the researcher asked, "Why was it difficult to work there [the first
State Mental Health Institute she worked at] for you and why was it a difficult work
setting?" Claire replied:
The key things that were difficult at [the State Institute] was one you were dealing
with a huge bureaucracy...your also dealing with people that, I was the teacher, I'd
go to the cottage where the kids lived and they were taken care of by people who
were paid minimum wage, they had no education, they were very defensive, that
had a very yucky job. They were the ones changing diapers, feeding kids; you
know a job with very little reward. And you know here I'd come going this kid
doesn't have the shoes he needs to have or this kid' s got to have a jacket on...or
this kid is not clean or this kid has been abused or you know, I'm the teacher trying
to work with the kids in the class and really cares about the kids and I'm also
having to be like a parent, um, trying to get what I could of the basic needs for this
kid. But I'm dealing with people who are already overwhelmed and underpaid. You
know, so it just didn't lead to a really happy environment because if I wasn't the
advocate for that student nobody was. You know I think that' s just what kind of
gets you so frustrated...I had to go through all these channels and you just felt like
nothing got done and you know the morale wasn't always that great. So, that made
it a very difficult situation and I mean you reach a point where you're like their
teacher, their parent, their everything. You know you were the person in their life
that really cared about them and you might have been the only person. It really was
that dramatic, working in a state setting you know. Um, so I think that' s what made
it very difficult...
Within Claire's discussions about the difficult work settings at the State Mental
Health Institutes, her passions for the students and her good work ethics arise once again.
This displays her devoted love for her career and the students she works with. In the
above discussion her difficult work settings are flaunted and the researcher can feel her
passions come alive in her words. In an earlier interview Claire described the facility as
"too institutionalized." This invoked the researcher to ask Claire to describe what is "too
institutionalized." She describes the setting in the following passage:
I worked on a ward with 23 clients that were in cribs and my job was to get them
out of the crib. I drove a school bus and took them on, it was part of recreation
program, and I took them on field trips and it just, the institute, they had just, they
had just taken the cages off the cribs. I mean it was your hard-core institution and I
just, it wasn't for me. Not the environment that I wanted to work in. You know, a
little too cold, very intense, it was just kind of sad. I wanted to be with kids that
were in a public school.
This is when she decided to leave the Institution setting and wanted to work in a public
school setting. However, working in a public school setting would not happen right away.
After only working in the first Institution for six months she soon found herself
employed by the same State Institution but in another city. The second State Institution
was running in a little more favorable conditions than the first that she worked at, but still
not up to par for Claire. She worked there for three years and had this to say about why
she decided to leave:
By the end of the third year I was ready to get out of the institution setting. I got
really, I remember thinking, you know that environment at that time before the
federal government came in, it would be winter time when the kids didn't have
jackets and coats and you know the care on the cottages was not really good and I
just got burned down trying to Eight for kids lives and be their teacher. I mean it
was just, you were just, this is too much. I don't know how else to explain it. I
mean, you're always just trying to get their shoes on their feet and trying to get
jackets so they can come to school and I mean you're always just beating your head
against the institution type setting and it' just, I just got burned out on it...I wasn't
stimulated there. I didn't have the opportunity to, have, create the programs I like
With such difficult environments for the patients to be living in and Claire doing
everything in her power, on top of teaching, to help the patients live comfortably she
couldn't take it anymore. She couldn't handle the State Institution settings anymore. As
much as she tried to get her patients the necessary treatments and basic needs for living
the institution and the employees seemed to deny with complying. The employees were
underpaid, under educated, and overwhelmed with work that they often did what ever
they had to do just to get by. Moreover, the employees did the bare minimum and often
didn't seem like they cared about the patients. They were just doing it for the money, for
their paychecks. This was not a conducive environment for Claire to work in. She is an
exceptional case because she was working there for all of the opposite reasons as stated
about the above employees.
Since this discussion is focusing on the negative attitudes of other employees that
Claire has worked with, a particular case needs to be addressed. This case entails an
employee who once worked with Claire about fifteen years ago. The two were teachers
together at the same school where Claire currently works (Marshville). This case displays
how Claire does not and will not involve herself in a negative environment.
When Claire first started working at Marshville she quickly made many friends. As
well, there was one teacher who she became really good friends with. This person was
the school's music teacher. Often the two would sit around during free moments and talk
with each other. At first, it seemed to Claire that her friend was "real high energy" and
that "she enjoyed her j ob." Yet, a couple of years later Claire noticed a change in her
friend' s attitude about her j ob. Claire illustrates, "After about the 4th or 5th year [of their
friendship], her husband is going through medical school, she knew she wasn't going to
work here anymore and she became really negative." Claire quickly decided that she
needed to do something. So, she quit being friends with her. After some time went by, her
"old" friend noticed that the two were not talking anymore. Claire states about the
One day she came up and she said [Claire] how come we are not friends anymore?
And I said, you know I am going to be here for the next twenty years, this was
quite a long time ago. If I am going to be here I have to feel good about where I am
working, and you don't like this place anymore, and I can't deal with it everyday. I
don't want to be around people who are whining and complaining and griping
about stuff constantly. You know, I just can't do it, I cannot be your friend and
work here and feel good about working here. And because I don't want to hear
everyday that you're out of here and you don't like it, when I really care about what
goes on here.
After the confrontation, Claire spoke of their relationship, "It was strange, our
friendship was strange after that." Eventually her colleague's husband Einished medical
school and the teacher and her husband moved to a different location.
In the second interview, the researcher asked Claire once again about the negative
situation she once was in, "[This category] talks about how many years ago you had the
friend here that was very negative and you stopped talking with her. Why do you not like
being around someone who's in such a negative setting?" Claire responded:
Because I know that this is where I'm going to be and that' s basically what I told
her at the time is this is where I've chosen to be and this is where I want to be and I
don't want to be somewhere I don't feel good about it and be around people who
don't feel good about it. I want to be lifted up and come in here and just have a
good feeling about it. I don't want to hear bitching and complaining and whining.
This is an exceptional example displaying Claire's positive attitude in the workplace. She
says, "... I just want to be upbeat, I want to be positive I want [to] feel good about why
I'm here and what I'm doing and so I surround myself with people that feel the same
A final difficult setting, that Claire is currently experiencing, includes managing
difficult students will now be presented. While discussing this issue, the researcher will
detail how Claire manages her difficult students. But first, a preface to the issue arises
and must be explained.
In the past few years a new program has come to her school. This program is
referred to as an Anchor Program. Claire briefly describes what an Anchor Program is:
...It' s a regular elementary school. But it' s for kids that are very transient. When
they started the program they realized that there was over 200 hundred kids that by
the time they hit second grade, were hardly ever in school because they were
constantly being moved around from school to school because their parents or who
ever never stayed in the same zoned area and these kids were just missing out of
more than a half of a year of school. So they developed this program because we
had busses that went all over the county...It didn't matter where they lived; they
didn't have to be in a zoned area or neighborhood school...
The importance of this program is that most of her misbehaved students are in this
program. Before the Anchor Program, Claire rarely had students who misbehaved on a
regular basis. However, now that she teaches the students in the Anchor Program,
students in the program misbehave on a regular basis. It is a different teaching
environment due to the fact of what she is teaching the students. Claire explains
I'm used to working with kids [with disabilities] in teaching them how to do a skill,
where Anchor kids I am having to teach them on how to behave and what my
expectations are on how they behave in class to do a skill on that they probably
already know how to do. I can break down how to teach you to kick a ball, in a
heartbeat, the Anchor kids I have to explain how I want them to sit, watch, walk,
stand and move to kick that ball which they already know how to kick.
Teaching skills of how to behave while in class is a new talent Claire is learning to
perfect. "I try to do it more on a positive note than I would on a negative punishment,"
she states. However, often during class Claire has to sit an Anchor student off to the side
because of misbehaving. She uses a cone to assign a place for the students to go. She
describes, "...I will say you need to go and sit by the cone, with your legs folded and
your hands folded in your lap. When you are doing that then I know you are ready to
come back to class and your eyes are on me." She later states, Ninety percent of the
time, the kid is going to sit by the cone, and say can I come back in, can I come back in,
because they want to be part of the class." The researcher can account that this procedure
does occur consistently. While the researcher was observing Claire, on several occasions
she had to sit a student out from participating in class due to misbehaving. In doing so,
Claire gave precise and consistent instructions to the students who misbehaved.
While observing Claire one day, the researcher witnessed most of the students in a
class period misbehaving. The activity that day was called "water play" and involved
several kiddy pools and water toys. She began the class with explaining her rules,
"...Couple of rules. I'm gonna be very, very strict. If you break my rule, you will come
over here and you will sit down. I'm going to be watching closely..." Often during the
class period Claire had to sit several students out. The class was wildly out of control and
needed to be corrected regularly. After class, Claire told the students that they would not
be able to have "water play" the following class period they come to and she was going
to have a regular, very strict physical education class with them. When the class left
Claire and the researcher discussed what occurred. Claire said, "I really didn't explain to
them well enough what they need to do, what my expectations were. I just thought they
could handle it, just getting out of the pool, just getting out there and just play, and they
can't." A couple of days went by when Claire and the researcher spoke again about the
class. Claire stated that she met with her troubled class about misbehaving during water
play. She went to their class while their teacher was present and explained very clearly
her rules of water play. She brought the class to observe another class while they
participated in water play. The other class was well behaved and did everything she
wanted them to do. The misbehaved class sat still with their teacher while observing the
other class following the rules. The next time the misbehaved class came for water play,
Claire sat them down before class began to explain exactly what her rules were and that
they need to follow them. She also explained to them that it was their one and only
chance to do well. If they misbehave they will not get a second chance. Also, her water
play program was now structured with activities for them to complete. The students
behaved well this time.
Claire is overcoming her difficult situation with the Anchor Program by leaning
from her past experiences working with the program. She has learned to give clear,
specific, and consistent directions to the students. She believes that the students are most
difficult to teach at the beginning of the year because they have not adapted to her rules
and regulations. Once the students understand her rules and know the consequences of
breaking the rules they misbehave less frequently.
Throughout the years of Claire' s professional career, she has been involved in
many situations. Some situations she was not able to overcome, such as working in the
State Mental Health Institutions. Even so, she knew from the beginning when she took
those jobs that she wanted to work in a public school setting. She was just using the two
jobs at the State Mental Health Institutions to get experience. She has also experienced
difficult work environments at the current public school she teaches. However, unlike
other physical educators who have burned out she has overcome the difficult experiences
and learned from them. She is a unique and extraordinary case because of this.
What Support! What Innovation!
A final theme is now discussed. This theme entails two sub themes that often
reoccurred throughout the entire study. The subthemes are entitled "Great Support" and
"Innovation with Motivation." The first of the two presents the support that Claire
receives at her current school. Not only does it explain all of her support groups within
her current place of employment, but also details her support groups outside of her
school. Next, the researcher displays how Claire remains innovative with her teaching
methods. Her variety within her programs and need for creating new programs are given.
Finally, a last look into Claire's motivations for keeping innovative and persisting to
remain on the cutting edge of her field will be exhibited.
This section will begin its discussion by detailing Claire's support groups within
the community of her school and then will be expanded into all other support groups.
Claire works at a school where everyone likes what he or she is doing. "I work with
a group of people that are, they all feel passionate about working with the kids," she
states. Consequently, Claire is able to work closely with all of the teachers. Working
directly with the teachers allows her to create close relationships that are vital to her
students' learning capabilities. This also allows for a comfortable environment for all
employees to work in.
A great example of Claire's co-workers support involves the water play example of
the misbehaving class. Two of her co-workers assisted her with the issue. The first was
the class' regular teacher. Claire stated, "I went to the teacher and said what I want to do
is Friday I'm going to go in her room at some point and set up the wading pool so that
water and we're going to practice." The teacher was willing to comply and was readily
available to assist. Also, the teacher sat down with the class on her own time to discuss
the importance of following the rules while in Physical Education. The next time the
students came to Physical Education the teacher brought them to a class period earlier so
they could watch how the class before them behaves. The teacher sat next to her students
and pointed out the things that the class was doing correctly. She encouraged her students
to act the same.
The second person that assisted Claire in the issue was a trained administrator who
worked in the main office. This person voluntarily stated that he would assist Claire when
the class comes in again. Claire spoke with the trained administrator before the next class
period and told him what she expects from the class. When the class came the
administrator assisted Claire with keeping the students behaving properly.
Another example that not too many people would consider as part of a support
group is her media specialist. Claire explains, "Our media specialist is really good, and
she'll say, 'Oh [Claire] I got this flyer about this book, are you interested?' And she'll
purchase it for me." In this example Claire was not seeking help; however, the Media
Specialist approached her and offered her suggestions of a book.
As Claire's co-workers are supportive of her, she displays the same support for
them. During the second interview the researcher probed into the issue by asking, "How
do you [Claire] support people?" She responded:
If somebody needs help with something, 'Oh [Claire] you know my aide's not here
and I got to go,' I say bring them [students] on. You know, I have an open door
policy and I always am telling people this does not belong to me, my old gym did
not belong to me, it belongs to the school. My equipment does not belong to me, it
belongs to the school. So, if anybody needs anything, it' s like, I'll, within reason,
I'll help them or give them whatever they need, or whatever support they need or
whatever equipment they need or that type of thing.
Within Claire's work support group there are two main people who are
significantly involved. The first, and very importantly, is her principal, Susan. The
second is a co-worker and teacher named Mark. Claire explains why they are important
to her support group, "It' s really having two people who are in 2 totally different
capacities that I know, support what I do one hundred percent." The principal's
continuing support is first discussed.
The work environment that Susan creates is pleasant, as observed by the researcher.
Claire states, "We've had only one person here in 22 years that has even had a grievance
against our principal, which is unheard of." Later she discussed how the staff that gets
employed at the school rarely leaves and how the school has the lowest turnover rate in
Susan is also open to new ideas. Claire states, "Every idea I come up with, anything
I want to do that is a little of the norm, I have never been told no." She continues, "I have
a principal who I have had for 18 years, um, who is extremely supportive of P.E."
Throughout the interview Claire repeatedly stated that her principal was very supportive
of her Physical Education programs. This prompted the researcher to probe the issue
further. The following is an excerpt from the second interview:
Researcher: Why is she [the principal] so supportive of P.E.?
Claire: Because if I want to go swimming in September, she'll make it happen for
me. She supports the different types of diversity in the programs that I like to
do. If I want to go off campus with kids, she makes that a priority.
Researcher: Why do you think she supports P.E. so much? There are so many
principals out there that don't support P.E.
Claire: I really don't know. I always in my head thought that it was because I did a
really good j ob and that, you know that, I was coming from the right place.
You know, when I said I really want to show these kids what woods are about
and the different parks are about and to learn about [the city], she knows that' s
what I really want to do; that I really want to teach kids about our community.
She knows that I'll do it and that I'll do it, and do a good job of it. I don't
know how else to say it. I've always been very confident about what I do,
when I make a decision to try something and I think that she knows that, you
know, that I am coming from the right place.
The above passage displays the continuing support that Claire believes her principal has
with the Physical Education programs. It also recognizes Claire's confidence and
distinguishes her as an extraordinary Physical Education teacher who is a special and
Outside of Claire' s workforce she has an immense network of people who play
different roles in providing support. The support group consists of people in the
community such as professors at a nearby University and teachers at local schools. Of the
two listed, Claire's biggest support group involves two professors at a local University.
Claire has worked closely with a professor, Mrs. Smith, for nearly twenty years.
When Claire first came to the school she teaches, there were not that many people
teaching Special physical education around the country. Therefore, she had very few
people she could go to for help. At first, her support group consisted of very few. She
soon met a young professor at a local University who was teaching courses about the
special populations. The two were similar in age, early in their careers, very passionate,
and knowledgeable about individuals with disabilities. From the beginning they made a
great connection. Since then, the two have remained great friends and often assist each
other with support. Claire speaks of Dr. Smith, "[Dr. Smith] is my sounding board. If I
ever need help she always sends people out, there' s always a constant flow of people in
here, so I'm not over here in my little world." Dr. Smith consistently sends her students
to volunteer with Claire and help with her Physical Education programs. A prime
example of their simultaneous support for each other is a program the two have
developed over fifteen years ago. It entails Claire transporting a class of her students to
the University for an off-site adapted physical education program. When the students
arrive, a group of University students are waiting to provide help with the program. The
University students consist of both undergraduate and graduate students who are
volunteering their time to get experience in the field. When Claire' s students get off the
bus they immediately pair with a University student for the entirety of the period. Next,
each pairing runs a warm-up lap around a designated area and then, as a group, the
students do stretching exercises. Once completed, the students go to a nearby workout
room to do exercises on Med-ex (Nautilus type) equipment. Finally, when the students
are done exercising on the equipment, they go to a nearby field and participate in a game
or activity that has been chosen prior.
If Claire ever has any questions on research or anything in the field, the maj ority of
the time she asks Dr. Smith for assistance. In so, Dr. Smith plays a vital role in Claire's
great amount of resources. Within the last three years another professor, Dr. Thomas, has
quickly become a maj or provider of Claire' s support. Claire recalls a time when Dr.
Thomas visited her school and assisted her with a difficult class that she was
continuously having trouble with:
I mean with Anchor [program], I mean it was amazing to me. I'm still blown away
by the fact that he came here three or four days and actually took over my class so I
could observe him. And then he watched me model his program and to me that was
just incredible. And it made all the difference in the world because these kids were
eating me up, the Anchor kids were.
Ever since, Claire has been able to control her Anchor students. Dr. Thomas has
also assisted greatly with Claire's off-site adapted physical education program. He has
assisted in keeping Claire's programs fresh by providing his vast knowledge on Research
in Teaching Physical Education (RTPE).
Others who are among Claire' s support group consist of teachers at local schools.
An example of several teachers assisting Claire in when she needed help is when she first
started working with the Anchor program. At the time, Claire did not know how to
control the students in the program. She states:
When I got Anchor, I thought man I don't know what I am doing, and I went to
[her principal], 'I need to go visit some PE teachers and have some days watching
these people working with regular elementary kids.' I went to [three schools] and
spent time with them. I mean, I am more than happy to say I need help, I don't
know what I am doing. And pull people in, just as much as I am willing to go out
there. Show me what to do, or what kind of playground equipment do I need.
The above passage displays how the other local teachers are willing to assist Claire
in her difficult times. Their support helped Claire understand what she had to do in order
to keep control of her classes.
As Claire receives a lot of support from her resources outside of her workplace, she
makes sure she gives her assistance to anyone who may need her help. The researcher
asked Claire, "Do you help support anybody else [other than co-workers]?
Outside of school, absolutely. Yeah, I think I do it with Dr. Smith and Dr. Smith
does it with me. I've gone to programs and done a little bit with helping, I think
[another local teacher] and I went to [another] county and helped set up a PMH
program there. And you know, if people ask for my help I will give it to them if it' s
within my scope, in or outside of this school.
Support is a necessity when you are dealing with such a vast range of different
types of students. The support given to Claire comes from her school and many people in
the community. A very important support group involves her school where she teaches.
With the continuing support of her principal and her co-workers it allows for the
environment to be conducive for Claire to try new programs and be successful at them
too. Also, the support she receives at the University level continues to strengthen her
programs and provides guidance with building new programs. In the beginning she had
few places to find support, but as the years progressed she established and utilized
resources to build the network she has today; she states, "I just have this phenomenal
support group which developed over the years." In this wide range network of support
she is able to Eind help when needed while providing her knowledge and support to others
who may need it. This reiterates how Claire has become a special and unique case within
Innovation with Motivation
The Einal section of this chapter will now be presented. This section illustrates
Claire's persistence to maintain innovative teaching methods. Also, Claire's continuous
motivation in teaching Special physical education is discussed. Together, the two parts
portray Claire as an extraordinary and unique teacher who remains on the cutting edge of
A unique characteristic that continuously arose throughout the study was how she
keeps variety in her j ob. Moreover, she explains several different ways in how she keeps
the variety in her j ob. The first involves her maintaining an active role in many school
related functions. She states:
I organize things really well, and so, I mean like this year...I am treasurer of PTA, I
am the department chair person, I organize open house, I organize the class
reunion, the family picnic; I like doing stuff like that. I like kind of being in charge
of extra-curricular stuff outside of teaching the classroom.
Claire wants to come to work and understand how everything works. She
mentioned a story in her interviews that she came in one day and wanted to learn how the
school bell rings. So she went into the school office and asked a co-worker to explain to
her what needed to be done to ring the school bell. Throughout her career Claire has
participated in many school functions. When one is finished she finds another one to take
part in. She states that she has no stress but sometimes by doing so much it may become
overwhelming, "...sometimes it gets a little overwhelming ... but at the same time I find
it challenging and exciting and it' s trying to do new programs or create something new
for the school..."
The programs she creates are another aspect of her variety in the j ob. Claire
develops new programs to keep her j ob exciting. The following is an excerpt from the
second interview discussing Claire's variety in her Physical Education program:
Researcher: Why do you want a program that has so much variety? Doesn't that
make your j ob harder? Wouldn't you want your j ob to be easier?
Claire: I think it keeps it exciting...I don't want to be bored at work; done that,
don't want to do that. I think it just keeps everything alive and fun and when
you work with the same kids year after year after year, you want to do
different things with them.
Researcher: Wouldn't that make your j ob harder?
Claire: I don't know if it does or not. I don't see it as making my j ob harder, I've
never thought about it making my j ob harder. I think of it more of planning
these things and getting excited about doing different things. It probably
makes it busier, but I don't think it makes it harder.
When Claire first started as a teacher her programs rarely changed. Then after several
years teaching she decided a change was necessary. She recalls:
I remember around year six or seven thinking oh you know this is kind of the same,
I need to do something different. I don't think I though of it as leaving, I saw that I
needed to change my program and maybe try to create some new things and I think
that' s when the rec. room came about.
She states about the recreation room, "I think games are incredibly great way to
teach kids, tumn-taking, good sportsmanship." Claire has been adding and changing
programs ever since. She believes that it keeps her students attentive and motivated to
participate in class. She even thinks she may not have been here if she didn't have the
programs, "I think that if I didn't have all of those programs, if I was still running PE
program 20 years ago, I would not be here." When asked to expand, she replied, "I don't
think I would have felt challenged. If you do the same thing year after year after year, it
just becomes routine and not exciting and challenging. I like to stir things up, and to keep
things busy." In doing so, "When I started ever feeling burned out or stale or whatever I
just re-created something new to get excited again", she states in the first interview.
So, where does she find the ideas for the new programs she creates or changes? She
thinks of the idea herself, reads about it in an article or book, or learns about the program
from her resources within her support group. She states:
There are times where if I feel like I kind of need something to spark, I will come
up with something new. Other times it' s just people giving me ideas, or having
talking to other people and just jumping on the bandwagon and doing what I think
Another aspect in Claire's variety is that she changes her lesson plans every year.
She states, "At the end of the year I put my lesson plan book away, and I start over for the
next year." The reason she does this is twofold; it' s for her and the students. "I try to
alternate what I teach each year... because I have them [the PlVH students] for 15 years,
easily," she talks about how the students can be at the school until the age of twenty-two.
When her lesson plans start as new plans it helps her stay fresh with ideas and allows for
creativity in the plans. She can choose other activities that the students may not get the
chance to do anywhere else other than Physical Education.
She is already thinking of a future proj ect and program to complete. She wants to
build an exercise equipment room in an office that is not being utilized. She says:
If the OT and PT are not going to move into that office, I want to move all that out
of there and turn it into a weight room. I have an incredible weight set at home.
They can take the furniture, open up that space and turn it into a weight room with
exercise bikes and treadmills and I guess I have a universal machine at home. It' s
got like 8 stations on it. You know, we could get bikes and treadmills donated.
Above is a great example of how Claire remains innovative and keeps the variety.
She says that she will begin that proj ect when she has completed some of the proj ects she
is currently working on.
Claire' s variety in her j ob allows her to stay fresh and is a large reason why she
does not burn out. As stated earlier, she thinks that if the variety in her j ob was not
present then she may have quit a long time ago. She also loves the challenges of trying
new programs and getting involved in extra-curricular activities. At times, she may
become overwhelmed, but that is because she continuously participates in school
activities; however, she never becomes burned out.
Claire was asked in the second interview, "How do you see yourself different from
other Special PE teachers?" Her response is as follows:
I see myself different because of the programs that I have. I don't know any other
PE teachers that have a rec. room. I know a lot of them have a cart with games for
rainy days, but to actually have a rec. room, I am the only PE teacher that gets to
take kids swimming and bowling, I know that. I think the community-based
program I do is very unique in this county...I know the schools that have, make
these little field trips, but to have a program every Friday that take students off
campus to visit the different sites in [the community] is unique. Going to the
University and doing the weight program is unique. I think I am the only one that
teaches roller-skating and roller-blading, too. I don't know anyone else. Is that what
you were asking? So that' s how I see myself different.
She is different. She is unique because of her different programs she develops and
implements. Her attitude remains positive because of the variety she creates. She can
become very involved in one program, complete it and then get excited about starting
A factor that supports Claire's unique case is her character. She has the willingness
to understand when she needs help from someone other than herself. Throughout the
study Claire spoke of her network of support, in and outside of the school. A prime
example is when she first started working with the Anchor program. The students were
misbehaving and she could not get them to focus on her class. She says, "I wasn't really
sure what to do with Anchor kids. I really wanted to see how other people were running
their elementary PE program...I was just curious of what people were doing out there,
out in the public schools." In the first interview Claire stated, "I don't have a problem
saying I need help." This prompted the researcher to probe further about the subj ect
during the second interview, "When you first started teaching was there a period of time
when you thought you never needed any help?" Claire replied:
No. No... When I first started out there was nobody else doing what I was doing,
so there really wasn't anywhere to go. And then when [Dr. Smith] came along, we
immediately formed a bond, because she was interested with what was going on
here and had similar experiences. I think I am the type of person that, I would do
that, I am self-motivated obviously; otherwise I wouldn't have been here for so
long. But I always, since I work in a situation where I am only the person doing
what I am doing in the setting I am in, if something new comes up that I feel really
overwhelmed by or I'm not really sure how to, I have no qualms about asking.
Because I have such a great resource, the university and a couple of friends that are
in PE classes, elementary PE programs.
The fact that she is willing to go to others for help outside of her school is unique.
Sometimes it can be rewarding because the help she receives occasionally fosters "new
ideas and new directions" for her programs.
Another factor of Claire's unique character is that she knows when something isn't
working correctly she changes it. For example: when working with the Anchor Program
she learned to be consistent with her directions and class periods. After doing so for a
while, she realized that she slowly backed off with her consistency. Moreover, she
witnessed how consistent a co-worker (teacher) was with her students. When Claire
recognized the differences of how the kids behaved with the teacher and herself, she
decided that she needed to add more consistency in her instruction. Ultimately she
created more structure in her program, which would promote more consistent behaviors.
Another example is when Claire had the misbehaved class during water play she
went to the students' regular teacher for help. She asked the teacher what she did to keep
the students well behaved. Together, Claire and the teacher discussed a solution to teach
the students how to behave during water play. This was a difficult situation for Claire, but
because she was able to ask for help she easily overcame the issue.
She is able to ask other teachers if she can observe them and see how they teach.
Then, she will take what she learned from the observation and apply it to her teaching
methods. This is a great characteristic to possess. Claire started the Golden Sneaker
program after observing a local Physical Education teacher. The Golden Sneaker program
helps the students maintain good behavior. If the all of the students in a class period
behave then the class gets a golden sneaker. After four Golden Sneaker awards the class
can choose from playing in the recreation room or have a free period. She started the
program because she was having difficulties controlling her Anchor students. Once she
implemented the program she has seen much improvement from the students. She says,
"the kids are very motivated but we [the Anchor students] haven't learned how to get it
quite yet, on a continual basis." She noticed at the school she was observing that the
students would get a Golden Sneaker every Physical Education period. At her school the
students rarely get it once a week. "So for me, there's a little frustration, because I want
them to get it every time, but we just haven't gotten there yet. So we are still working,"
Not only does Claire remain innovative in her teaching methods but she also
remains motivated with teaching. Her persistence to keeping her programs fresh helps her
tremendously; she states, "When I started ever feeling burned out or stale or whatever I
just re-created something new to get excited again." A second time within the interviews
she explains if it wasn't for the variety keeping her motivated, then she might not be here,
"If I just came in here everyday and just taught classes and didn't really contribute
anything else at school I think I would not enj oy my j ob... I think if I just came here, just
taught classes and just walked out the door, I would not be here." Therefore, the variety
in her programs is a large factor that keeps her motivated.
Another factor is her passion to work with the special populations. The following
segment from the second interview unveils this in great detail.
Researcher: This statement that you said, 'I think how much they need me is a big
motivation, not that they wouldn't need anybody else if I wasn't here.' Why
do you feel, why do they need you?
Claire: Because I am a person that can give them and teach them a way of playing
and opportunity to play and opportunity to do things that we do in our
Researcher: Does that make your j ob easier? Harder? Does it influence teaching?
Claire: It definitely influences it. And it influences possibly some of the things that
I do, you know and helped created over the years. It definitely keeps me
motivated... if I really felt that this is the only opportunity this kid had a
chance to get on the air mattress and I didn't feel like putting him on, for
example, then I would feel really guilty. So you know I definitely would be
motivated by, I don't want the kids to leave the class and not feel good about
what I did.
Researcher: Ok, going on. I asked you about the relationship and you said you
think that it is just human-to-human, and then I asked if it was fulfiling your
needs and you said absolutely. How does it fulfill your needs? Explain.
Claire: Because I feel needed here, you know, in lots of different ways. You know,
my friends have expressed that to me a couple of times that you know I make
a difference and I feel like I definitely make a difference with my students. I
just I feel good about what I do there.
Her passion for working with individuals with disabilities drives her to do the best
she can. In so, it keeps her motivated because she wants to be there and do everything she
can to help a student. She continues:
I want them to come to my class wanting to come to my class because they know
it' s going to be a good experience beyond just learning maybe you know some
skills and activities. I want them to have a really good experience in the classroom.
Again I don't think these kids have a lot of opportunities as great experiences that
are normal or positive and so when they come to me that' s what I want to give
them... I just want to create a very positive atmosphere for them.
Because of her great motivations, she can create a positive environment for her students.
Her motivations are not directed toward her students and herself, but also toward
her co-workers. The following is a story Claire told about an Aide who came in to a class
period with a negative attitude:
I remember I was doing a dance unit and I was excited and I had the music going
and the kids walked in and she [the Aide] goes 'I'm not gonna do, I'm not gonna
do this, I don't want to do this dance again.' Well. I mean it just kills the
atmosphere of the classroom. You know it' s just like, you know I'm sitting there
going I'm excited, I'm ready and to have somebody come in just go "boom" it just
made me think I need to make this good for every body. Because the minute she
said that she's not working with the kids the way I feel the kids need to be worked
with she's not excited about what I'm doing, she doesn't want to do what I'm
doing. She immediately came in and set a negative tone, where if I change the
program and got her excited before she even walked in the door, like oh I'm glad
you're here we are going to do this, it' s gonna be fun type thing. Then she's excited
about it, wants to work with the kids and get them going. You know so it's sort of
like a trickle down effect I guess. I want people when they come to my room to feel
good about coming to my room. And I hope that carries over to them working with
the kids, that they are motivated to work with the kids when they come in.
This story displays how she is a unique case in the Hield of Special physical
education She' s not only keeping herself motivated with working with the students, but
she also radiates her energy to her co-workers. She sets a positive tone surrounding her so
that her students, her co-workers and she can remain motivated. Claire's motivations
aren't only self-serving but are also for others.
This section covered reasons why Claire has been an innovative and motivated
special physical education teacher. Although others in her Hield may not, Claire persists to
maintain variety in her environment that, subsequently, keeps her motivated. She knows
when she needs to Eind help and has built a great network of resources she can approach.
Enthusiasm fills her time at the workplace, yet can also be overwhelming. Even so, she
chooses to keep busy because she enj oys the constant challenges that she is faced.
It is the intention of this chapter to directly answer the five research questions that
drive this study. In doing so, each research questions will be asked followed by a brief
explanation of the intentions of the question. Next, the answers will be briefly presented.
The answers will not be discussed in great detail, as this has occurred in the previous
chapter. The research questions and answers will be presented in the order they appear
within the first chapter.
First Research Question
The first research question is as follows, "Why does the participant continue
teaching after a long career?" This question was intended to probe into why has the
participant taught special physical education for over twenty years, while at the same
school. Prior research displays high burnout rates in the field (Fejgin, Ephraty, Ben-Sira,
The answer involves several issues. One is the participant' s passion to working
with individuals with disabilities. Also, she has known since the third grade that she
wanted to be a special physical education teacher. Her life was devoted to the cause since
she was a young child. She has a history in being athletic; recall she was a competitive
tennis player. Another is because through the years she has built a great network of
support she can turn to when in need of help. Her innovative teaching style provides for a
great variety in her j ob. Finally, her self-motivations provide an environment that is
conducive to motivate others.
Second Research Question
The second research question is as follows: "Why has the participant not burned
out, as many others in the field quickly do?" This question was intended to probe deeper
into the first research and to ensure the correct interview questions were asked. This
question can be omitted due to the similarity of the first research question. The answers
would be the same as the previous question.
Third Research Question
The third research question is as follows: "What motivates the participant to teach
children with disabilities?" This question was intended to delve into the participants inner
motivations as to why she wants to teach children with disabilities. Probing questions
entailed her lifelong passion to work with the special populations.
Ever since the participant was a young child she knew she wanted to work with
individuals with disabilities. In the third grade she was involved in a program known as
the Head Start program. This offered her a chance, at a young age, to work with the
special populations. She immediately knew she wanted to be in the field. As she grew
older, she developed a passion for physical education and sports. She put the two
passions together and now is a special physical educator. Her motivations stay high
because she keeps her changing her program around. This keeps her motivated in doing a
variety of programs. As she keeps the students and her co-workers motivated, it also
Fourth Research Question
The fourth research question is as follows: "How does the participant handle
difficult situations in the classroom?" This question was intended to discover how she
overcomes difficult situations while teaching.
Dealing with a wide range of students, it is evident that difficult situations will
occur. The participant has built a great network of support from people in and outside of
her work. The network consists of her principal, co-workers, local schoolteachers,
professors at a nearby University, her family, and friends. With her bountiful amount of
resources, she always has someone to ask for help. A most important factor is that she
will ask for help when she needs it. In the past, she has observed other teachers because
she wanted to in order to understand what the teachers were doing.
Fifth Research Question
The fifth research question is as follows: "How does the participant cope with
personal stressors while at work?" This question was intended to discover how the
participant kept a positive attitude while in the workplace.
The participant stated a story about a boss for whom she once worked. The story
exhibited a unique characteristic the participant possesses. She is able to go to work and
forget about other things on her mind, even if it normally would bother her. She arrives at
work 100% focused on what needs to be done while at work. Then, when she leaves work
she doesn't focus on what she did during the day; she focuses on her family and her
The present study is not intended for generalizations, as this is a qualitative study.
The intentions of this study are to present the findings of the participant' s great successes
to other special and general physical educators. With the guidance of this study, other
educators may be able to utilize the data for their own purposes. The conclusions may
have a positive influence within other programs outside of this study. Only then can other
researchers complete similar studies to discover the longevities of other physical
educators. Future, similar research should be conducted in order to assist educators in the
OUTLINE OF FIRST FORMAL INTERVIEW
1. Why does the participant continue teaching after a long career?
2. Why do you still teach Special Physical Education?
3. Why are you teaching at the same school for so long?
4. Have you ever wanted to stop teaching Special Physical Education? Explain.
5. Why has the participant not burned out, as many others in the field quickly do?
6. Why do you think you have not burned out as other teachers do?
7. Do you see yourself as an innovative Special Physical Education teacher who still
wants to learn? Explain.
8. What do you do different from other teachers to not burn out?
9. What motivates the participant to teach children with disabilities?
10. What made you decide to teach Special Physical Education?
11. Why do you enj oy teaching Special Physical Education?
12. Did you enj oy Physical Education when you were in school?
13. Are your coworkers and administrators supportive of what you teach? Explain.
14. How does the participant manage difficult situations in the classroom?
15. If a difficult situation arises, do you recognize when you need help? Explain.
16. Who helps you? And, how do they help you?
17. How do you manage a child that does not listen to you?
18. How does the participant cope with personal stressors while at work?
19. Do you go to work when you are sick? Why?
20. How many days have you missed in the last year? 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? 20
21. How does your personal life affect your teaching?
22. Does you personal life influence your teaching? Explain.
23. How do you cope with personal stressors while at work?
OUTLINE OF SECOND FORMAL INTERVIEW
1. Explain in more detail this quote you stated, "When I was in High School I had a
really good friend who had a brother who had CP and was in a wheelchair and just
thought he was the coolest kid." Why was he the coolest kid to you? What made
him so cool?
2. I understand that you like kids with disabilities, especially the severe and profound
populations, explain why you like them.
3. I understand that you never saw yourself doing anything else, can you explain to
me why? What was the defining moment in your life that said "Ann, you are made
to be a Special PE teacher?
4. If you had chosen another career, what would it have been and why?
5. With all of the j obs that you worked at, how did you Eind out about the j ob
openings? What made you apply for that specific job position?
6. What position did you like the best? Why?
7. What things have you not done with you students that you would like to? Why have
you not done them?
8. How do you plan the activities you do?
9. You stated, "it was really too institutionalized for me, I had a very difficult time
with it because it was a hospital setting". What is too institutionalized for me
mean? Explain institutionalized.
10. Compare and contrast difficult verses easy work settings.
11. You stated, "You know, because they are the one's feeding them, changing their
diapers, lifting them, just doing everything. I want them to come in and feel good."
Explain that for me.
12. Does the amount of work you do impact how you feel about your j ob? Explain.
13. Do facilities influence how you feel about your work? Explain.
14. Can you give me more examples like this statement, "And I'll tell you one more
thing about the school going back is 90% of the people I mean it really is
incredible anything you need I mean you know there is not one thing in this
building that belongs to me you know and I believe this too, if anyone came in here
and said Ann I need 10 bucks that' s fine you know if you need it for your client and
it' s reciprocal this whole school is so much you know I have asked for things and
their like sure I'll do that for you or you know like [a teacher] came in here and said
you know I really need your steering aid. Take it; if you need it take it. I mean you
know that' s there's no this is all my stuff and you can't have it type stuff and I
think that it' s really nice, you can do a lot at a school that feels that way."
15. What did you mean when you stated, "I think, I remember thinking while I've been
here 3 years which was a long time, I remember around year 6 or 7 thinking oh you
know this is kind of the same, I need to do something different."
16. I know you are very passionate about you job and your students. Can you explain
to me why you think you are so passionate?
17. Do you like working with the Anchor program? Why?
18. Do you feel working with the Anchor student' s helps your teaching skills? Why?
19. You have stated how much support the other teachers and others in the field give
you. Where does the greatest amount of support come from?
20. Why do you want a program that has so much variety? Doesn't that make your j ob
harder? Wouldn't you want your j ob to be easier?
21. You stated, "I think that if I didn't have all of those programs, if I was still running
the same PE program 20 years ago, I would not be here." Why would you not be
here if things were the same?
22. A statement here says, "I like challenges, like for example when I got anchor I'm
not, I have no problem admitting that I need help." Why do you like challenges?
23. Do you create challenges? Or are the challenges created for you?
24. You stated, "So I took a couple days off to visit the area PE teachers and observe
them and talk to them." What gives you ideas to go and talk to other teachers?
25. Are the teachers ok with you coming in and observing them?
26. Another statement from you, I don't get an opportunity to do a lot of PE
workshops, but I read quite a bit." What do you read? Is it researched based?
27. You stated, "...and I don't have a problem saying I need help." When you first
started teaching was there a period of time when you thought you never needed any
28. Was there a period of time when you said I am going to start asking for help,
because I realize that I can't do it on my own?
29. You stated, "I think my program is innovative in the fact that it is always
changing." Explain why you feel it is innovative.
30. When you take classes do you feel that those classes that you take actually help you
in classroom settings?
31. You stated that you don't go to workshops in the summer because of family time.
There are many people in this world that work themselves crazy, and don't give
their family that much time, why do you give your family that time?
32. What do you think differentiates between you and other special PE teachers?
33. Why do you like being outside? Does that inspire you to have PE programs
34. You stated, "I am a person that who does not and will not spend time alone." Why
do you not like spending time alone?
35. Why are you a "big people person?"
36. You stated, "All of the other things that you've done are your treasurer of PTA,
department of chairperson, organize open house, organize class reunion, family
picnic, that you like being in charge of extra curricular stuff outside of teaching in
the classroom." Why are you involved in so many different things? What makes
you want to be involved in so many things?
37. You stated, "all of my friends are school involved, 90% of my friends are school
involved, not necessarily Lanier but in the public school system." Why do you
choose those friends?
38. Does you family life influence you teaching?
39. You mentioned when you went to elementary school the presidential fitness
program had just begun. When you were growing up were you always physically
fit? Did you always want to be athletic?
40. Did that have any influence on you wanting to become a PE teacher, and what you
do in a PE classroom?
41. Explain to me a little bit more about your high school PE teacher.
42. When you were young and you had your games you have played, did any of these
games or experiences influence your programs?
43. What made you decide that you wanted a recreation room? How did it begin?
44. You stated that your programs are a lot more relaxed at the end. Is there a reason
why you make your programs relaxed at the end?
45. About a teacher you state that, "you know it took me awhile for me to kind of go
it' s alright you know she uses a lot of sarcasm and I have a real problem with that."
Why do you have a problem with the teacher using sarcasm?
46. Does equipment influence your teaching? If so, how does it influence your
47. Do you feel that you can adapt to just about any setting or any person?
48. Why did you start the golden sneaker program?
49. Is the golden sneaker program working well with your anchor program?
50. You stated, I think how much they need me is a big motivation, not that they
wouldn't need anybody else if I wasn't here." Why do you feel they need you?
51. Does the students "needing you" influence your teaching?
52. I asked you about your relationship between you and the students and you said you
think that it is just human to human. Then I asked if it was fulfilling your needs and
you said absolutely. How does it fulfill your needs? Explain.
53. You stated, If I just came in here everyday and just taught classes and didn't
really contribute anything else at school I think I would not enj oy my job." Explain
54. You stated, "And I was thinking about it the other day I don't use humor as much
as I used to and I need to get back into that." Why do you need to get back into
55. You stated, "So I try to do it on a more positive note than I would on a negative,
punishing." Why would you do it more positive than negative?
56. You talked about how many years ago you had the friend here that was very
negative and you stopped talking with her. Why do you not like being around
someone who is in such a negative setting?
57. If there was another person who was negative, like the one in the past, would you
separate yourself from that person also?
58. Is there anything that you think I need to know or anything that you need to explain
in more detail from any of our interviews or observations that I have made?
THEMES, SUBTHEMES, AND CATEGORIES
I. For the love of kids and the career
1. Liking special populations.
a. Like special kids.
2. A career meant for life.
a. Focused career decision.
b. Passion for Job.
c. Multiple Experiences.
e. School Setting.
f. Age groups.
II. Growing up to having a family.
1. When she was a child.
a. Child life.
b. Childhood PE experiences.
c. Tennis player.
2. Family and Personal Life.
a. Personal life.
b. Leave time.
c. Family time.
III. Of all the hard settings
1. Hard working environments.
a. Difficult work settings.
b. Reason for leaving.
c. Friend and negativity.
e. Manage difficult kids.
IV. What support! What innovation!
1. Great support.
a. School Communication.
b. Support staff.
d. Trained helpers.
2. Innovation with motivation.
a. Variety in job.
b. Need of a change.
c. Amount of work.
e. Motivation factors.
f. Teaching methods.
h. Other PE teachers.
LIST OF REFERENCES
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teachers. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 20, 144-1 54.
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Education and Society, 4, 143-159.
Danziger, K. (1971). Socialization. Baltimore: Penguin.
Denzin, N. K. (1997). Coffee with Anselm. Qualitative Family Research, 11, 16-18.
Dewar, A. M. (1983). The subjective warrant and recruitment into physical education.
Unpublished masters thesis, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver,
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during formal training of preservice teachers. Journal of Teaching in Physical
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