Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A phenomenological study of the perceptions and experiences of seven urban middle school teachers related to retention
by Dunn, Lu Anne, Ed.D., University of Central Florida, 2008, 179; 3341009
Abstract (Summary)

Background. Job satisfaction is essential to retain teachers in classrooms. Increased challenges in today’s classrooms discourage many teachers from reaching veteran status. Teachers with a perception that they are making a difference appear to have more resilience in the difficult times in their classrooms.

Purpose. To investigate the experiences of middle school science teachers. This study explored the influence of perceptions, beliefs, and experiences on job attrition and teacher satisfaction; and helps explain the cumulative effects that contributed to teachers' dissatisfaction. This study analyzed the intensification of the teaching profession and the increased emotional stress this causes for teachers.

Setting. Five public middle schools in a large urban school district in central Florida. A total of seven teachers participated in the study. Subjects: Seven middle school science teachers were selected based on their years of experience, method of teacher training, and ability to participate in the entire study.

Research design. Phenomenological.

Data collection and analysis. The data were collected through focus groups, interviews, journals, and classroom observations. The audio-taped portions were transcribed then analyzed with NVivo/NUD*IST, Revision 1.2 to find common themes. The initial themes were subsequently reduced for manageability. The teachers stories were separated to provide support as the themes emerged.

Findings. Teachers who were more experienced by years on the job or more extensive initial training appeared to have more resilience for the difficulties in their job. Satisfaction with their job seemed to be influenced by professional identity, teacher preparation, personal experiences, curriculum policy, and cultural diversity.

Conclusions. Analyzing the perceptions and beliefs of teachers who are in classrooms can provide insights to improve conditions to encourage teachers to stay. The analysis strongly suggests that teachers who feel supported and valued are more likely to remain in the classroom in spite of the challenges they encounter.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Boote, David N.
School: University of Central Florida
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration
Keywords: Middle school, Retention, Teachers, Urban education
Publication Number: 3341009
ISBN: 978-0-549-96048-5
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