Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

David Lee

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

J.T. Johnson

Committee Member 3

Leslie Locke

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Myron Labat

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine whether principal leadership behaviors and the demands of high-stakes tests had an impact on teachers’ intent to remain in the teaching profession. Perceptions of teachers concerning the contributing factors that led to their intent to remain in the teaching profession were also examined. Factors included in this study were examined by the researcher in an effort to gain knowledge of what leads to teacher job satisfaction in the teaching profession.

The researcher used a quantitative survey instrument with a qualitative component. The survey instrument was created by the researcher and consisted of seven sections. Sections included teacher demographic questions, Likert-scale perception questions which addressed principal leadership behaviors, teacher intention questions, teacher job satisfaction questions, teacher mentoring questions, intrinsic motivator questions, and five open-ended questions. Open-ended questions were found in the final section entitled self-reported factors. The survey instrument was distributed to K-12 teachers in public schools in south Mississippi. These state-measured and non-state- measured subject area teachers taught at elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

When looking at overall quantitative data, the results of this study indicated that principal leadership had an effect on whether teachers would remain in the teaching profession, confirming what the literature said. In examining whether there was a difference in the levels of teacher job satisfaction between teachers of state-measured subject areas and teachers of non-state-measured subject areas, there was not a significant difference found, contradicting previous scholarship in this area. Analysis of data also suggested that there was a significant relationship found between teacher job satisfaction, teacher morale, and teacher mentoring programs with regard to teachers’ intent to remain in the teaching profession. The findings on teacher job satisfaction supported previous literature.

Overall analysis of data for the qualitative component supported quantitative data in most areas. Although both quantitative and qualitative data supported the relevance of principal leadership on teachers’ intent, when teachers responded to open-ended questions relative to principal leadership some answers varied compared to the responses in the quantitative section on principal support. Additional qualitative data indicated three things that most influenced teachers to remain in the profession: student success, subject matter taught, and the art of teaching. When asked which factors contributed greatest to teachers leaving the profession, teachers responded with lack of administrative support, teacher workload, and student discipline. Additional self-reported factors that were bothersome to teachers were student discipline, as previously noted, excessive paperwork, and pressures of state-testing. Teacher responses are supportive of previous literature in the area of teacher retention. Based on the findings in this study, the researcher developed recommendations for policy, practice, and future studies.

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