ERIC Number: ED518123
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reducing Teacher Turnover by Utilizing a National List of Reasons for Teacher Dissatisfaction or How to Keep Teachers from Declaring "Dear Folks, I Quit"
Lopez, Angela J.
Background: Teacher turnover is a national problem and has been investigated on the national level since the 1920's. This study compares the reasons teachers give for leaving teaching positions from data collected nationwide with local data. Purpose: To examine whether the same problems that arise on the local level have been identified in the professional literature as reasons for teacher dissatisfaction that lead to teacher turnover. Setting: A public middle school on the island of Kauai in the state of Hawaii during school years 2007-08 and 2008-09. Study Sample: School staff size approximately 100, of which about 60 were teachers; approximately 1000 students served annually in grades 6 through 8; during the years of the study about 35% of the total student body qualified for free and reduced lunch, approximately 9% of the total student population qualified for special education services; about 6% of the total student body were English Language Learners. Research Design: Correlational. Data Collection and Analysis: A national list of reasons, entitled the "Dear Folks, I Quit" list, which teachers give for leaving teaching positions was compiled from the National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey and its supplement, the Teacher Follow-up Survey, as well as from the professional literature. Team meeting minutes from the school were examined and coded for all teams during the years of the study. Team leaders during the years of the study were also interviewed. The frequency, or relative emphasis, for each of the major reasons cited from the "Dear Folks, I Quit" list were correlated to each item in the meeting minutes to determine whether or not the symptoms of teacher dissatisfaction were detected in any of the biweekly team meetings. Findings: All of the problems from the "Dear Folks, I Quit" list of reasons for teacher dissatisfaction leading to teacher turnover were identified by teachers at the school during biweekly team meetings. No additional items came up that were outside of the list of problems identified nationally. Discussion of the dissatisfaction topics varied by team and by year. In the case of the only team that had a change of team leader between year one and year two of the study, the discussion of dissatisfaction topics also varied according to team leader. The derived national list of problems therefore was applicable for examining the content of team meeting discussions at the school. The study contributed an additional insight into research available on the nature of problems faced by teachers by disaggregating the "Dear Folks, I Quit" list into two categories: internal and external problems. Internal problems are those within the control of the teams (or any of the teams' teacher members). External problems are those not within the control of any of the teams (or any of the teams' teacher members). Conclusion: Findings of this study, although not definitive, suggest the need for additional studies to determine whether and how external factors correlate with high teacher turnover. Further, this study raises the question if teachers and school administrators work together to address or resolve external concerns, could they reduce teacher turnover? Citation: Lopez, A.J. "Reducing Teacher Turnover by Utilizing a National List of Reasons for Teacher Dissatisfaction or How to Keep Teachers from Declaring 'Dear Folks, I Quit'". University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Education, Department of Curriculum Studies. Honolulu, Hawaii, 2010. Team Leader Interview Data is provided in an appendix. (Contains 12 tables.)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES)