Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Paul Michalec

Second Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Third Advisor

Garrett Roberts


First-year teachers, Social and emotional competence, Social and emotional learning, Teacher well-being


This study is an exploration of the social and emotional competence of first-year teachers with particular attention directed to how these five core competencies influence the way new teachers navigate tension and exercise agency. Tension is embedded into the fabric of a teacher’s first year. New to the field and still learning the complex art of how to teach, novice teachers must navigate an unfamiliar context without a complete understanding of the potential threats to their well-being. The study explores tension experienced by first-year teachers and their social and emotional competence through classroom observations, interviews, and weekly voice memos with the methodological approach of educational connoisseurship and criticism. The experiences of the four participants in the study are described in detail and shared through a series of vignettes, which highlight prominent tensions experienced by the first-year teachers and show how their social and emotional competencies operationalize in the classroom. The relevant findings in this study are disseminated through six themes categorized under teacher-student relationships, classroom atmosphere, and decision making. Ultimately, the study invites a reconsideration of how prospective teachers are prepared through teacher education programs and what type of support is provided for teachers during their first year in the profession.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

P. Daniel Riordan Jr.


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

339 p.


Teacher education, Education