Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth E. Smith


This phenomenological study was designed to investigate the support experienced by kingergarten teachers working in the Archdiocese of Omaha metro area schools. All teachers participating in the study had strong beliefs in the use of developmentally appropriate practices as measured by the Primary Teacher Questionnaire. Two of the participants felt strongly supported in their work, while two did not feel strongly supported in their work. The level of support was measured through an instrument developed for this study, the Support System Rating Scale. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the four subjects. These audiotaped interviews were transcribed and through a process of decontextualization and recontextualization common themes emerged. Four of these emergent themes involved external support: administrative interpersonal support, administrative structural support, peer support and relations, and parent support. The last emergent theme was of internal, rather than external support, and is termed self-support. Teaching in a supportive environment benefits those teachers in that environment and, more importantly, benefits the children they teach. The research indicated that the amount of support given teachers by the principal, colleagues, and the parents can change as the administration, personnel, and parent clientele of the school changes. Self-support is the one constant and is the type of support on which every teacher must ultimately rely.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Ann Marie Adkins November, 1999