To improve teacher retention, many scholars have set out to identify which teacher working conditions influence teachers’ decisions to remain in the profession or stay in a particular school or district. School leadership has been identified as one of the most important working conditions affecting teachers’ decisions to remain in a school. Therefore, with a hope of expanding our understanding of teachers’ perceptions of working conditions and subsequently our efforts to reduce teacher turnover associated with school leadership as a working condition, this study examined teachers’ perceptions of school leadership as a working condition. More specifically, this study sought to determine if a school’s urban-centric locale has a relationship with teachers’ perceptions of school leadership as a working condition. There is currently little research available regarding this relationship.
Using data collected by the 2012 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey and school demographics for the 2011-2012 school year (i.e., urban-centric locale, percent of student body eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch, percent of student body that is minority, and average daily membership), hierarchical linear modeling was conducted to examine the relationship between teacher demographics and school demographics and teachers’ perceptions of school leadership as a working condition. In addition, this study sought to understand to what extent does the relationship between school contextual factors and teachers’ perceptions of school leadership as a working condition vary according to a school’s locale.
The results indicated that a statistically significant relationship does not exist between teachers’ perceptions of school leadership and urban-centric locale and that the relationship between school contextual factors often considered predictive of working conditions (percent minority, percent eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch, and average daily membership) and teachers’ perceptions of school leadership is statistically significant, although the magnitude is negligible. Seventy-one percent of the variance in teachers’ perceptions of school leadership was explained by differences within teachers in a school. This means that teachers’ perceptions of their working conditions explain their perceptions of their school leadership more than characteristics of the student population. In brief, teachers are not penalizing school administrators for working in schools with substantial populations of low-income and minority students. The two teacher demographic variables considered, years experience in education and years at current school, each had a statistically significant relationship to perceptions of school leadership, however, the magnitude of each of those relationships was essentially negligible. Teacher leadership, managing student conduct, professional development, and instructional practices and support were the strongest predictors of perceptions of school leadership.
This study reaffirms the need for school administrators to focus on improving working conditions, with greater attention to those more strongly related to teachers’ perceptions of school leadership. Since these perceptions appear to be quite individualized, this study also points to the difficulty in using policy measures to impact teachers’ perceptions of school leadership. Future research is needed to help clarify the nature of the relationship between urban-centric locale and teachers’ perceptions of school leadership. Further research is also needed to determine what factors account for the variance in teachers’ perceptions of school leadership between schools.
|School:||North Carolina State University|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||School leadership, School locale, Student demographics, Teacher retention, Urban-centric locale, Working conditions|
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