Principal and Teacher Perceptions on Practices that Impact Teacher Job Satisfaction and Retention in Title I Elementary Schools with High Teacher Retention Rates in a Large Suburban Central Virginia School Division
Teacher shortages throughout the country have been an issue for school divisions and leaders. The demand for teachers has increased, while the number of teachers entering and graduating from teacher preparation programs is decreasing (Sutcher et al., 2016). Increased teacher demands by school divisions, schools, families, and testing requirements have contributed to declining teacher job satisfaction and teacher retention. Teachers are leaving high poverty, high minority schools for more affluent schools (Hanushek et al., 2004). The challenge of retaining quality teachers affects schools with diverse populations and high poverty, thus contributing to achievement gaps between minority and non-minority groups (Garcia and Weiss, 2019). Teachers in high poverty or high minority schools, mostly categorized as Title I schools, report low teacher job satisfaction levels, translating into high teacher turnover.
The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify principal practices that impact teacher job satisfaction and retention in Title I elementary schools in a large suburban Central Virginia school division. The researcher sought to gain insight from Title I elementary teachers on the factors that they identified as impacting their job satisfaction and retention in their Title I elementary school. Title I elementary principals were interviewed and asked to identify their practices that they perceived to impact teacher job satisfaction and retention. The researcher sought to identify common factors identified by both Title I elementary principals and teachers in impacting teacher job satisfaction and retention. The intended outcome of this study was to provide Title I elementary principals and school division leaders with qualitative data to improve teacher job satisfaction and retention in Title I elementary schools.
Data collection included five principal interviews and five teacher focus groups with 16 teachers in Title I elementary schools. An analysis of the data indicated that both teachers and principals perceived support, professional respect, relationships, climate, community, and collaboration to impact teacher job satisfaction and retention in Title I elementary schools. It is anticipated that this study's results could help Title I elementary principals and school divisions with high teacher turnover implement practices to impact teacher job satisfaction and teacher retention in Title I elementary schools; thereby improving consistent, quality instruction and student achievement.