Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Our children deserve this: Understanding highly effective teacher retention in hard to staff schools
by Martin, Helen Davis, Ed.D., University of Florida, 2016, 104; 10299102
Abstract (Summary)

Previous research indicates that teacher turnover adversely impacts schools enrolling predominantly low-income and minority students. This turnover makes it likely that low-income and minority students will receive instruction from a less effective and less experienced teacher than their affluent, White peers. In spite of frequent teacher turnover, some highly effective teachers choose to stay. This qualitative study sought to explore factors influencing highly effective teacher retention in hard to staff schools. Hard to staff schools are defined as schools that experience difficulty in recruiting and retaining effective and highly effective teachers with their student populations.

Participants selected for this study were retained at the same hard to staff school for three or more years and demonstrated a three-year trend of highly effective ratings as measured by the district’s teacher evaluation system. To explore the research question, individual and focus group interviews were conducted with each participant. Data were analyzed following each individual interview and focus group interview. The findings from this study reveal three main factors influencing retention in hard to staff schools: armed love, collaborative relationships with colleagues, and school leadership.

The findings of this study emphasize the importance of “armed love” as the primary factor influencing participant retention. Armed love is a commitment to others rooted in action and advocacy. The participants’ beliefs about education results in a lively, forceful, and challenging love that leads to positive student outcomes, and therefore, influences retention. Participants developed their commitment to students through previous interactions with low-income and minority student populations. Their commitment is sustained through collaborative relationships with colleagues and supportive school leaders.

This study concludes that influencing teacher retention in hard to staff schools is deeply rooted in relationships between and amongst teachers, students, community members, and administration. It is hoped that the results of this study will be utilized to increase the number of highly effective teachers in hard to staff schools through the identification and development of armed love in pre-service teachers, current teachers, and administrators.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bondy, Elizabeth
School: University of Florida
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education, Teacher education
Keywords: Armed love, Teacher retention, Urban schools
Publication Number: 10299102
ISBN: 978-1-369-42162-0
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