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Assistant teachers, workplace satisfaction, and the creation of a culturally competent workforce pipeline in Head Start


Early care and education programs like Head Start provide a critical foundation for later achievement for children from vulnerable communities. Notably, recruiting and retaining bilingual teachers is an ongoing struggle for many Head Start agencies. Assistant teachers are more likely to be bilingual than their lead teacher counterparts (Jacoby, in press) and are important contributors to a workforce pipeline that diversifies staff. We conducted this qualitative study with 35 assistant teachers to understand how workplace attributes influence satisfaction and job retention in Head Start. Workplace attributes such as wages and support for professional education and those with symbolic value, such as the robustness of the program, both played an important role. We also found that the instrumental-symbolic framework demonstrated utility for understanding how workplace attributes might be leveraged to recruit and retain linguistically and culturally competent teaching staff. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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