Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Mary R Moore


David Campos


Stephanie Grote-Garcia


This basic interpretative study explored 12 childcare teachers’ perceptions of job satisfaction and how their motivation has had an instrumental impact on their 10 years or more of job sustainability. In examining the childcare teachers’ perceptions of job satisfaction, the primary research question guiding this study was, “What are the motivational factors that childcare teachers perceive to have contributed to their job satisfaction and retention?” The theoretical framework underlying this study was the Self-Determination Theory, a theory that describes how interactions between early childhood teachers and the system within their work influences motivation in their teaching and their authentic well-being as an educator (Deci & Ryan, 2010). The research participants were childcare teachers with a CDA and had 10 years or more of childcare teaching experience as a childcare teacher. Semi-structured interviews provided a rich, thick description of the experiences of the participants. The basic interpretative study took place in the natural world of the childcare profession with the focus on the context of job satisfaction (Rossman & Rallis, 2003). The constant comparison analysis indicated four major themes: motivation of being a childcare teacher, a community of collegiality, a definition of job satisfaction, and inspiration of becoming a childcare teacher. Evidence also emerged that the participants would recommend the early childhood profession to other potential childcare teachers because of their job satisfaction despite their low wages and lack of recognition for their work. Based on the motivational factors of the childcare teachers’ perceptions of job satisfaction, a model was initiated with the purpose to improve recruitment and retention of childcare teachers. Collegiality is the basis and the foundation of the model, which is paramount for a functional and supportive community of collegiality (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker & Karhanek, 2004). The motivational factors of the model are: organizational climate, professional development, intrinsic motivation, and credentials. In addition, the Model of Motivational Factors could increase student achievement with less childcare teacher turnover. Future research should focus on what the childcare teachers perceive as obstacles in the early childhood profession and what they would recommend to recruit and retain childcare teachers. Their recommendations could merge and connect with this study’s motivational factors. Their recommendations for recruitment and retention of childcare teachers would be their voice on a personal level, which could be the basis for the study.