The challenges of beginning teachers in urban primary schools

Lisa Gaikhorst*, Jos Beishuizen, Bart Roosenboom, Monique Volman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study provides insight in the variety of urban-related challenges that beginning teachers experience in urban schools. Literature on urban teaching focuses on teaching children from low socio-economic status (SES) and/or culturally diverse backgrounds. In many European cities, however, schools are populated by both children from relatively high and from low-SES backgrounds. This study examined the problems and challenges of beginning teachers in Dutch urban primary schools. Teachers were interviewed at schools with different student populations. Results showed that, although many of the challenges that beginning teachers experienced concern the same themes, their actual manifestation differed related to schools’ student populations. For instance, the problem of ‘parental contact’ referred to both the extreme involvement and demands of highly educated wealthy parents at some schools and the diverse backgrounds of parents at other schools. Results of the study can be used to develop adequate preparation and support for beginning urban teachers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Teacher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Beginning teachers
  • professional development
  • teacher education
  • teacher retention
  • urban teaching


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