What makes them want to stay? A qualitative study of new teachers and their intent to persist in education
Wellenzohn, Nancy A.
MetadataShow full item record
New teacher turnover can be a costly problem for school districts. Almost half of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years. Costs can be financial (recruiting and training cost) or academic (lower academic performance of students). The impact is greatest for low performing urban schools. New teachers are typically young, first career teachers or older career change teachers. Analysis of data from the Schools and Staffing Survey conducted by the NCES indicated that these two groups of new teachers intend to persist in education at different rates. An intention to persist in education can be influenced by the individual’s states of mind including individual sense of efficacy, collective sense of efficacy, job satisfaction, organizational commitment/professional engagement, and stress/burnout/morale. Various professional and personal factors can influence these states of mind, and therefore, the intent to persist as a teacher in education. Twelve individual case studies (six from each group) were conducted followed by cross case analyses in order to narrate the perceptions of new teachers from the two research groups in terms of reported factors influencing their states of mind. In-depth interviews were conducted and five categories of influence emerged from the data. These were relationships (with students, colleagues, and administrators), professional support (from colleagues, administrators, and parents), a sense of competence (from preparation program or ongoing professional development), personal and professional circumstances, and emotional connections to teaching. The most significant influences came from the relationships and support and there were both similarities and differences between groups. All identified relationships with administrators as having influence, but the impact was stronger for the young first career teachers. All looked to colleagues for support, but the young first career teachers wanted both instructional and classroom management support while the career change teachers were only interested in instructional support. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of potential administrative mechanisms, such as induction, recruiting, setting job situations, and professional development that can help reduce new teacher turnover.