Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Patricia Krueger-Henney

Second Advisor

Tricia Kress

Third Advisor

Patricia Paugh


The purpose of this study was to give describe how the daily professional experiences of seven high school math teachers’, from Cumberland County, North Carolina, inform their teacher identities and respective commitments to stay or leave the classroom. I used a blended methodology of phenomenological interviewing and portraiture to capture the teachers daily professional interactions and the meanings they associated with those critical incidents. The method of analysis, tanzziegen, employed the use of metaphor in conjunction with the portraitures was used to explain the dynamic relationship between federal and state policies, associated with the Race to the Top program.

Race to the Top policies required the adoption of the Common Core Curriculum, student testing in teacher evaluation, and teacher accountability through compensation. These policies informed the daily professional interactions between the math teachers and their administrations, math teachers and other teachers, and math teacher and their students.

Analysis showed that state and federal policies have a detrimental influence on teacher retention, math teacher relationships with school administration were severely undermined resulting in micromanagement of teacher practice and an increasingly divisive work relationship. Math teachers’ relationships with other teachers provided a source of sustainment for their teacher identities. The strains on the math teacher-student relationship was also exposed.


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