Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Jennifer Reeves

Committee Member

Hardwick S. Johnson

Committee Member

Katrina Pann


motivation, self-efficacy, teacher attrition, teacher burnout, teacher turnover


Educational organizations were experiencing increasing teacher attrition rates, thereby impacting teacher self-efficacy, workplace continuity, and student achievement levels. With this national crisis unfolding, schools struggled to recruit and retain high-quality teachers necessary for organizational success and student mastery of standards-based instruction. The increasing levels of teacher attrition were affecting both novice and veteran schoolteachers. The purpose of this applied dissertation was to understand the experiences of teachers impacted by the problem of increasing teacher attrition, as well as identify retention strategies to employ. Scholarly research on the topic of teacher attrition highlighted factors and issues related to this dilemma; however, a limited amount of research was available regarding health issues encountered by teachers in the field as a result of other teachers exiting and fewer numbers of replacement teachers entering the classrooms.

The qualitative research approach facilitated the exploration of participant perspectives of experiences related to increasing teacher attrition rates. The study was conducted utilizing a phenomenological research design with indepth interviews. Research participants included seven teachers and two administrators staffed in an urban Title I elementary school. For Research Question 1, factors emerged that teachers and administrators perceived contributed to the number of teachers who left their positions at the urban elementary school. Examples of factors included teachers no longer felt they were making a difference in educating students, insufficient salaries for working long hours, and coping with paperwork demands from the state.

For Research Question 2, factors emerged that teachers and administrators perceived might decrease the number of teachers who left their positions at the urban elementary school. Some of the factors were positive school climate with professionalism, trust, and good school leadership, as well as respect and admiration for work and sacrifices of teachers. For Research Question 3, participants reported stress influenced teacher attrition rates in a variety of ways, such as a stressful negative school atmosphere that led to unhappy teachers and trickled down to severe classroom problems with students. Nonschool-related teachers’ hobbies and leisure activities alleviated stress with enhancement of the physical health and mental health of teachers.