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ON THE JOURNEY: Concepts That Support a Study of the Professional Trajectories of Jewish Educators

The Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE), with generous support from the William Davidson and Jim Joseph Foundations, is launching a multi-strand program of research that will have significant ramifications for the recruitment, retention, and development of educators in all sectors of the Jewish education ecosystem in North America. The three central strands are:

  1. Preparing for Entry
  2. On the Journey
  3. Mapping the Marketplace

The “On the Journey” strand is the first to get underway. Data gathered about the experience of work in Jewish educational settings will serve as a valuable resource for the design and execution of the other two strands. In this first strand of our research, we are concerned with individuals who work as Jewish educators today and (for purposes of comparison) with educators who either recently transitioned to full-time administration or left the field altogether. In this phase of inquiry, we want to know what motivates people to commit to working as Jewish educators, how they grow professionally, and in what ways their workplace conditions, lived experiences, and professional journeys shape their professional choices.

Ultimately, as a reflection of CASJE’s commitment to applied research, we seek to understand the working conditions and the professional development interventions that if instituted or improved would make a difference to educator job satisfaction, self-efficacy, and career commitment—outcomes typically associated with educator retention and growth and, in turn, with learner participation, motivation, and well-being.

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