Date of Completion

May 2006


Many first-year teachers find it difficult to reach the needs of all their students in part, because they feel their college coursework left them ill-prepared for the complexity they face in the classroom. This is particularly true among urban teachers who often face crowded classrooms of diverse students with a wide range of instructional needs. This study is a comparative case study of two University of Connecticut graduates during their first year teaching in urban schools. Using mixed-methods, the study draws on interviews, questionnaires, and videotape data shared as a part of a monthly teacher study group of similar graduates. I also draw on group conversations in which teachers discussed their ability to reach the needs of all of their students as this was related to their preservice coursework. My findings suggest that many first-year teachers feel university coursework failed to help them. One teacher felt it did not help her at all, while the other felt it helped her but she still could not meet all of her students' needs. Many first-year, urban teachers do not feel confident in the classroom as a result of their preparation from coursework. With this lack in confidence, the teachers may be more likely to leave their urban position, and this may contribute to the high turnover of teachers in urban placements.