A Study on Teacher Attrition in Two Small School Districts in Southeastern Virginia
All students deserve the opportunity to receive a high quality education that will enable them to reach their full potential and become productive members of society. Teachers play a vital role in the academic development of students and therefore school districts across the country need to do all they can to ensure that all students have highly qualified teachers in their classrooms. Many school districts across the country are having major difficulty retaining the very best educators. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that impact teacher attrition in two small school districts in Southeastern Virginia. This study through survey responses gathered data from teachers who left both districts after the 2007-2008 school year on the factors that impacted their decisions to leave and the challenges they perceived both school districts face that impact teachers attrition. Other data from the survey responses identified characteristics of the teachers who left both school districts after the 2007-2008 school year. Additionally, 2007-2008 demographic data on the total teacher population in both school districts were collected from the Human Resources departments of both school districts.
Results from the study revealed that 54 out of 240 (22.5%) teachers combined left both school districts after the 2007-2008 school year. Of the 54 teachers who left, 52 were mailed surveys. A total of 40 responses were received from the survey population of teachers. This represented a 77% survey response rate. A variety of reasons for leaving were given by the teachers who left both school districts, but a major reason given for leaving was student discipline. The biggest challenge that both school districts face that impacts teacher attrition as perceived by teachers who left was geographical location. Of the 54 teachers who left both school districts, the majority were White and female. The majority of teachers who left both school districts combined had five years or less of total teaching experience. The majority of the teachers who left indicated they entered the teaching profession with the desire to impact the lives of children.