Exploring the Experiences of a Small Group of Saskatchewan Neophyte Aboriginal Teachers


  • Laurie-ann M. Hellsten University of Saskatchewan
  • Jane P. Preston University of Prince Edward Island
  • Michelle P. Prytula University of Saskatchewan
  • Danielle P. Jeancart University of Saskatchewan




neophyte/beginning teachers, preservice teacher education, mixed-methodology


The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of a small group of Aboriginal neophyte teachers in Saskatchewan, Canada. Part of a larger study, this research used a mixed method approach for data collection in which 18 Aboriginal beginning teachers completed a survey (with Likert-scale items and open-ended questions) and an additional two Aboriginal beginning teachers participated in individual interviews. This study is a focused attempt to highlight the voices of the Aboriginal beginning teachers. Findings suggested that many participants had difficulty obtaining employment and identified family and friends as their core supports. Most participants felt challenged by their workload and a lack of supports to address the diverse needs of their students. Most participants found teaching to be rewarding and enjoyed the autonomy of their own classrooms. Many of the issues raised by the participants can be addressed by placing a greater focus on an Aboriginal epistemology based on the concept of community. To promote Aboriginal teacher recruitment, employment, and retention rates, it is essential that neophyte teachers are provided with employment assistance, mentorship opportunities, and curricular and unit plan resources.

    Keywords: neophyte/beginning teachers; preservice teacher education, mixed-methodology

Author Biographies

Laurie-ann M. Hellsten, University of Saskatchewan

Associate Dean Graduate Studies and Research; Associate Professor

Jane P. Preston, University of Prince Edward Island

Assistant Professor

Michelle P. Prytula, University of Saskatchewan

Associate Dean Undergraduate Program; Assistant Professor Educational Administration