Work-life variables influencing attrition among beginning agriscience teachers of Texas
Chaney, Cindy Annelle Ray
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The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of former beginning agriscience teachers and to explore the relationships between these perceptions, the characteristics of former beginning agriscience teachers, work satisfaction, work-life balance, and their reasons for leaving the profession. Information was gathered from former secondary agriscience teachers across Texas who left the profession during the 2001–2002 through 2005–2006 academic years. A survey instrument was created specifically for this study through which information about perceived work satisfaction, work-life balance, effect of work-life on attrition, and demographic characteristics of the former beginning agriscience teachers was gathered. Data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics. For this population, work satisfaction, work-life balance, and teacher attrition were not found to differentiate among demographic and career characteristics: age, gender, ethnicity, employment, salary, teacher training institution, years of experience, agriscience department size, hours on the job, or FFA area association. The results suggested evidence of an inverse relationship between work satisfaction and beginning agriscience teacher attrition as well as an inverse relationship between work-life balance and agriscience teacher attrition. Nearly half of all respondents reported the wanting of balance between professional work and personal life as their chief reason for leaving the profession. Closely following this reason were the placement of students in agriscience classes who did not choose to be in the elective courses and too much time away from family. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents offered the recommendation to set a maximum student enrollment per class period and to decrease the number of class preparations/course sections taught by beginning teachers. Over half of the respondents made the recommendation to share the load of shows and contests equally among teachers and to increase the number of teachers in the agriscience department. To improve the preparation and retention of agriscience teachers, two-thirds of the respondents recommended a salary increase. The recommendation following salary and given by nearly half of respondents was to provide mentor teachers. And, one-third of respondents offered the recommendation for more follow-ups from university teacher trainers.