Female high school teachers’ perceptions of reasons for leaving the profession
Leathers, Joyce Carol
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to describe perceptions of female high school teachers who after teaching five or less years in a southeastern Georgia school system, chose to leave the profession. This study was guided by a symbolic interactionist framework and grounded theory research design. Face-to-face interviews were conducted; audio tapes were transcribed and coded. Constant comparative analysis was utilized to generate a theory, grounded in the data, explaining teachers’ perspectives on their experiences and how those experiences influenced their decision to leave the profession. Findings from this study indicate that the training novice teachers receive in their college courses and in their schools is inadequate. More practical and less theoretical training is essential. Novice teachers continue to express their need for more time to plan lessons, observe teachers, and build collegiality. Yet the current pressures placed on them (i.e., teaching two or three different preparations, teaching lower-level students, dealing with large class loads, having to sponsor extracurricular activities, and receiving little or no support from their administration) influence their decision to leave the profession. Additionally, their spouses’ lack of understanding undermines their ability to balance their professional and personal demands. Based on the findings, three theoretical ideas are discussed. First, when teachers are inducted into the profession, a potential negative source of influence is the principal. Second, teachers’ personal and professional lives are strongly affected by the demands placed upon them. Third, when teachers are placed in difficult overload assignments, they are more likely to fail. Implications for future research are discussed. Novice teachers are uninformed about their legal rights when dealing with students, parents, and administrators. This study cited reasons why Boards of Education should examine and address the reasons for teachers’ high attrition rates in local high schools. In order for teachers to respect their administrators, the leaders must be trained to respond to teachers’ concerns in a sensitive manner.