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This study examines the support structures and strategies utilized by beginning mathematics and science teachers. The qualitative case study of 18 teachers (0-3 years of experience) includes teachers from rural, suburban and urban schools. Data collection consisted of one-hour interviews. The findings indicate participants utilized formal and informal support structures within the school district (e.g., mentoring programs, talking to other new teachers) as well as those external to the school (e.g., professional organizations and conferences, talking to family and friends). We propose a model of beginning teachers' initiating access to support structures based on the realization that their ideal images of teaching do not match the realities of their classrooms. Implications are given for teacher educators, researchers, and school administrators.
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