Type of Document Dissertation Author Grantham, Jonathan Hires Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-11032006-171403 Title Helping Teachers "Do What They Do": Teachers' Perceptions of the Influence of Peer and Adminitrator Suppor on Teacher Retention Degree Doctor of Education Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jeffrey S. Brooks Committee Chair Keywords
Date of Defense 2006-10-29 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to investigate which forms of administrative and peer support facilitate teacher retention. Specifically, I explored both administrative and peer forms of support in an attempt to understand the relationships between this support and teacher retention. While most researchers are aware the growing attrition rate within the teaching profession (Darling-Hammond, 2001; Hope; 2000; McCreight, 2000), this paper focused on what can be done to keep teachers in the profession. My goal was to understand teachers’ perspectives on how administrative support and peer support influenced the rate of teacher retention at a school. Since teachers are leaving high minority, low socio-economic schools at an alarming rate (Ingersoll, 1999), administrators need to be aware of the reasons behind the attrition. After closely examining the literature on attrition, I examined specific concepts related to what administrators and other teachers can do to support first-year teachers and encourage them to remain in the profession.
This study is a meaningful contribution to our understanding of teacher retention and attrition because it explores the perspectives of teachers at critical junctures in their careers. I used a qualitative case study approach to investigate teacher attrition and retention at a Florida high school. I collected data from interviews with focus groups to answer research questions. Guided by extant literature, I recruited and then interviewed four different groups of teachers based on years of experience. These focus groups were made up of: (1) five teachers in their first-year of teaching; (2) five teachers who have taught for three or four years, (3) six teachers who have between five to eight years of teaching experience and (4) four teachers who have been teaching for at least twenty-five years.
My findings suggested that first-year teachers perceived a need for help from many sources. They wanted assistance from the district, administrators and from teachers. However, after this first-year of teaching, findings suggested that teachers perceive a need for less, but more focused support. In summary, I offered conclusions and recommendations based on the findings of this research. Specifically, my recommendations were made for district personnel and school-level personnel, primarily administrators and teachers. I also listed some areas of future research that might produce rich data that could change the way researchers view teacher retention in high schools.
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