Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Importance of the Principal/Teacher Relationship in West African International Schools in Countries with Instability
by O'Malley, James E., Ed.D., The Florida State University, 2019, 90; 13857199
Abstract (Summary)

Teacher retention is an area of importance for school leaders. Attrition rates are especially high in international schools (Hayden & Thompson, 2008). School leaders working in small West African international schools (500 students or less) face a more challenging landscape than many schools in other regions. The significance of this challenge is more impactful in many ways than in traditional schools in the United States. Teacher retention has a direct impact on student learning. Retention also has financial implications for school leaders in these West African international schools. The costs of recruiting teachers continue to soar and soak up school financial resources. International schools offer benefits when hiring teachers that include settling-in packages, shipping allowances, and costs associated with providing housing. Improved teacher retention would have a positive impact on school budgets and free funds for other resources that impact student learning.

Many factors impact a teacher’s decision to stay or leave the school in which they work. Some of the areas that research has proven to be important include relationships with administration, geographical location, salary and benefits, and family and personal reasons. This study focused on the importance of the principal-teacher relationship role when teachers decide to stay or leave their small West African international schools and how the impact of the challenges that are faced by expatriate teachers affect the importance of that relationship.

The findings of this study showed that the perception of the quality of life differentiated the stayers and leavers. The leavers could not overcome the challenges they faced in West Africa. The stayers did not have to overcome these challenges; they simply did not experience the challenges. Instead, they valued the positive relationships with principals, teachers, students, and community members. Good salary and benefits, professional development, and support were also important. Most teachers had a positive relationship with their principal regardless of their decision to stay or leave, but the difference for the stayers, this relationship was the determining factor, while for the leavers, it was not as they valued the independence, travel, and social life beyond school.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Preston, Courtney E.
Commitee: Jones, Ithel, Akiba, Motoko, Rutledge, Stacey
School: The Florida State University
Department: Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational evaluation, Educational administration
Keywords: International school, Principal relationship, Teacher attraction, Teacher relationship, Teacher retention, West Africa
Publication Number: 13857199
ISBN: 9781085789066
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