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Teacher perspectives on factors that affect teacher attrition and retention in rural middle schools of North Carolina

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Teresa Holt Cowan (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://www.wcu.edu/404.asp
Advisor
Kathleen Jorissen

Abstract: Teacher attrition and retention in rural middle schools is a matter of concern in North Carolina. The purpose of this mixed method study was to examine teacher perspectives about teacher attrition and retention in rural middle schools of North Carolina. Ten rural middle schools participated in the study. A group of thirty teachers from these schools completed a survey. Four women and three men were subsequently interviewed. Surveys and interviews were analyzed to identify patterns and themes from the theoretical frameworks of characteristics, conditions and compensations. Findings revealed three consistent themes for attrition and retention: family, school, and self. Rural middle school teachers placed the needs and well-being of their family before personal job satisfaction and their professional career. Retention was maximized when the needs of the educators’ families were met. Attrition increased as the families’ needs either changed or were no longer being satisfied. Rural educators made sacrifices to their personal happiness and professional careers for their families. Implications of the findings of the study are provided as programs and practices that may influence attrition or retention. Programs and practices are recommended by interviewees and the researcher. Findings concerning curriculum, working conditions, and NCLB are included in the study.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Attrition, Middle schools, North Carolina, Retention, Rural, Teacher
Subjects
Middle school teachers -- Job satisfaction -- North Carolina
Teacher turnover -- North Carolina -- Prevention
Education, Rural -- North Carolina