Adjusting Sails: A Narrative Inquiry into the Transfer Experience of Three Secondary Teachers in the Maldives
'Adjusting Sails' is a narrative inquiry which presents the stories of three secondary teachers who underwent transfer from one school to the other in the Maldives. This metaphoric journey also describes my journey as a narrative researcher, how I sailed into unknown waters with my participants, what I discovered, and the interpretations I drew from their experiences. Semi-structured interviews of teachers and transfer managers and the analysis of official correspondence of the transfer contributed to the richness of the data. The stories of the teachers were analyzed for common themes, partially corroborated by contrasting the data gathered from interviews with two transfer managers, and written in collaboration with the participant storytellers. Trustworthiness of findings was further enforced through member-checking and adhering to reflexive procedures. The findings of this study suggest that the three teachers found the transfer quite stressful and as having impacted negatively on their emotions and professional lives. Communication issues before and after the transfer, personal perceptions associated with the transfer as well as leadership practices in their new environments appeared to have given rise to de-motivation, stress and frustrations. Apart from contributing to existing literature on teacher transfer, this study highlighted factors that made the transfer a negative experience for teachers and provided evidence which may usefully inform school managements and future transfer policies on the impact a transfer can have on the emotional and professional well-being of teachers.