All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Loucrecia Collins

Advisory Committee Members

Lois M Christensen

Linda Searby

John Tarter

Deborah Voltz

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Education (EdD) School of Education


ABSTRACT The purpose of this narrative study was to explore the thoughts, perceptions, and experiences of 12 urban middle school teachers who were once urban middle school students. The study sought to discover reasons why these teachers returned to urban middle schools to teach and why they decided to stay. A qualitative methodology, using the narrative design, was chosen for this study and interviews were conducted in order to obtain quality re-tellings of authentic experiences. The researcher sought to gain an understanding of life in the urban middle school environment. Purposeful sampling was used to select the 12 participants. The interviews with the 12 participants were recorded and transcribed. Six themes and three sub-themes perceived by the participants as having an impact on why they return and stay in urban environments were developed from these interviews. The identified themes were (a) caring, (b) motivation, (c) mentors, (d) opportunity, (e) relationships, and (f) commitment. The identified sub-themes were (a) observations, (b) hope, and (c) parental involvement. Conclusions drawn from this study should contribute to the advancement of recruiting and retaining quality urban middle school teachers. A question raised for additional research focused on urban school districts ability to motivate urban students to seek careers in urban education after graduation.

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