Traini, H. Q., Yopp, A. M., & Roberts, R. (2020). The success trap: A case study of early career agricultural education teachers’ conceptualizations of work-life balance. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(4), 175-188. http://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2020.04175

Little progress has been made to understand the (in)abilities of school-based agricultural education
(SBAE) teachers to balance their work and life responsibilities. Nevertheless, advancing this
conversation is critical, especially in light of ongoing teacher shortage trends. In response, this study’s
purpose was two-fold: (1) examine how early career teachers in Louisiana co-constructed their
conceptualizations of work-life balance as SBAE teachers, and (2) illuminate the contextual factors
that shaped how the early career teachers negotiated meaning regarding their reified views of worklife
balance. When interpreting findings through the lens of landscapes of practice, five themes
emerged: (1) The Success Trap, (2) The Work Eclipse, (3) Aspired Boundaries, (4) Grin and Bear It –
Silence, and (5) Undercurrents of Change. The findings speak against the dominant narrative
perpetuated by various actors and forces in the discipline that have championed the notion that worklife
balance should be the ultimate goal. Instead, our findings problematize this notion by illuminating
how early career teachers in Louisiana visualized success and work-life balance in diverse and complex
ways. As a result, researchers offer implications and recommendations to help reimagine how early
career teachers can better traverse issues of work and life in the SBAE landscape.

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