Why Teachers Stay: A Phenomenological Study in Teacher Retention

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Absel Antello


Dorothy Ettling


Richard Henderson


Flor de Maria Garcia-Wukovits


The purpose of this qualitative study was to look at the experiences of veteran teachers in public schools in central Texas. Veteran teachers from secondary schools were interviewed and the information collected from the interviews was analyzed to ascertain the lived experience among veteran public school teachers in Texas and how their experience related to their classroom retention. Research done by the Texas Education Agency in 2003 showed the impact on the lives and academic achievement of students excelled at a greater rate when a student was educated by a veteran teacher versus a teacher with 4 or less years of teaching experience. With the influx of teachers leaving the profession yearly, the number of veteran teachers in classrooms has diminished. For this phenomenological study in teacher retention, veteran teachers were interviewed to obtain their experience and denote the impact that experience had on student achievement and the impact it placed on veteran teachers desire to remain in the classroom. The participants were interviewed in the areas of personal satisfaction; educational training and background; job satisfaction; salary range; support on the job; career background and future career plans. Information ascertained from the guided interviews in the cited areas was recorded, coded and analyzed for common themes. As the transcripts were analyzed, the researcher found emerging themes among the participants. The experience of these veteran teachers revealed certain common elements that evidenced the phenomenon of their retention. The elements found were: an overall positive attitude regarding their occupation; support on the job; love of students and subject; value of education/learning; natural teaching ability; desire to stay on the job and professional development; all which played an active role in them remaining in the classroom, as well as, what factors encourage novice educators to become veterans in the field of teaching.

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