The study on teacher shortages may affect the present and future educational settings positively by finding out why teachers are not happy and leave the classroom. Having a better understanding of why teachers are not staying could create solutions for universities and school districts in helping teachers feel more satisfied with their decision to go into education. Research should uncover the disconnect between the college of education within universities who educate teachers and school districts who hire them to determine if teachers need more preparation before going into the classroom and or more support and professional development once schools hire them. There are currently significant teacher shortages in nearly every school district across the nation, and weaker states are finding it hard to recruit and retain teachers. Teachers are either not going into the career of education, changing paths before leaving university, or leaving shortly after taking their first teaching assignment. Understanding the root cause of educator shortage would benefit the universities of education by identifying problems and creating solutions within the academic setting, preparing teachers for classroom management. School administrators who recruit teachers and the schools where they teach can determine where the problems remain with retaining teachers after understanding the research.
Purpose of Research
The first study was conducted to discuss whether teacher burnout contributes to high rates of teacher shortages in the education profession. This high rate of burnout has negatively impacted the quality of education. School districts pay a high cost for teacher shortages cost across the nation and need to be dealt with effectively. This quantitative research study wanted to quantify the psychological breakdown of teacher burnout by measuring teachers’ sense of personal accomplishment, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization as three identified components of burnout.
The purpose of the second quantitative study is to investigate the role of collegial trust, structure, and academic importance on the development of professional learning communities and teacher attrition. The study wanted to determine how important creating a strong educational background is to decrease teacher shortages.
The purpose of the third quantitative study is to determine whether job satisfaction is the reason for teacher attrition among black teachers. The study considered other factors that may result in teacher shortages such as school location, salary, administrative support, and student behavior among black teacher satisfaction. Location played a significant role in this study as past research had shown that teachers who taught in urban schools resulted in lower teacher turnover and happier teachers.
In the first study, the quantitative research questions focused on the rates of burnout, personal accomplishments, and depersonalization of new and veteran teachers in rural Ohio. Because these three factors tend to be prominent causes for the massive teacher shortage, this study set out to quantify how teachers reacted to burnout, personal accomplishments, and depersonalization of teachers in rural Ohio to predict the rate of teachers leaving the profession. Weight adjustments were used to determine black teacher job satisfaction by asking the following three questions: Question one wanted to determine if differences exist among new teachers with less than five years of teaching experience and veteran teachers with more than five years of teaching experience in rural Ohio using mean scores for burnout, personal accomplishment, or depersonalization. Question two wanted to determine if burnout, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment among experienced teachers affected by the number of years they teach. Question three wanted to know how often black female teachers reported working conditions when it came down to job satisfaction.
The second study wanted to know if collegial trust and academic emphasis affected low-income school districts more with teacher shortages when it comes to developing PLCs.
The third study used the following three questions to determine the teacher shortage among black female teachers. The first question wanted to assess the extent teacher demographics and credentials have on job satisfaction. The second question wanted to know to what extent school context is associated with job satisfaction. The third question wanted to know to what extent teachers report working conditions associated with job satisfaction.
The first study examined burnout rates among new and veteran teachers in rural Ohio. The independent variable for this study was the number of years teachers stay in education, and the dependent variables were the mean scores of burnout, personal achievement, and depersonalization rates using the survey instrument, Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey, 3rd edition.
The second study had teachers complete surveys online via the Qualtrics Research Suite software. The development of PLCs was measured by a shortened version of the Professional Learning Community Assessment (PLCA) instrument which is a 12-item, Likert-type scale with answers ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree. Enabling school structures was measured using a 12-item, five-point Likert-type scale ranging from ‘never’ to ‘always’ and was reliable in the high 0.8 s and 0.9s. Collegial trust was measured by a subscale of the Omnibus Trust instrument, Omnibus T Scale and comprised of a 26-item, six-point Likert-type scale including three subscales: teacher trust in principal, teacher trust in students and parents, and teacher collegial trust. Academic emphasis was measured by a subscale of the Organizational Health Index (OHI), an eight-item Likert-type scale with an alpha coefficient of 0.93 and 0.89 for this study, which represents high internal reliability. The control variables for this study include school level, elementary, middle and high school, and socioeconomic status (SES) of students enrolled in each school (Gray, 2016).
The third study used data extracted from the Teacher Questionnaire (SASS-4A) and the Public School Questionnaire (SASS-3A) in the 2007-2008 NCES’ SASS which was administered to a sample of nationally representative teachers and principals to determine job satisfaction as a reason for teacher attrition. Three models were constructed based on several factors such as the location of the school, education of sample teachers, student demographics, student behavior, teacher autonomy, administrative support, and commitment to teaching. For this study, an inverse-probability equation was used to weigh teachers to prevent bias, overrepresented cases, and black female teachers correct proportion within the population.
The target population of the first study was 162 rural Ohio school teachers within two groups: rural novice teachers who taught less than five years and veteran teachers who taught five years or more. 23 (14%) were male, and 139 (86%) were female. All of the participants were white. The average experience of the participants was fifteen years. Thirty-one participants reported they taught kindergarten through third grade, thirty-seven stated they taught fourth through sixth grades and sixteen indicated they taught in grades seven through eighth, twenty-nine said they taught ninth through twelfth grades.
The second study sample consisted of 67 public elementary, middle or high schools in the large metropolitan district. The majority of the students in the 67 schools qualified for free and reduced lunch services, a widely accepted indicator and proxy of low socioeconomic status (NCES, 2012).
The study sample of the third study consisted of 970 black female teachers. Less than a quarter of the teachers possess an alternative certification, and approximately 10% have national board certification. A small percentage of the sample teachers work in charter schools. The average years of teaching experience for the sample teachers is twelve years.
In the first study, data analysis showed males could distance themselves from their work as a defense mechanism to prevent emotional exhaustion. Based on the data analysis, how genders deal with stressful situations can play a role in the amount of burnout they acquire.
Moreover, 77% of females had moderate to high levels of emotional exhaustion, while 61% of males fell into the same category. Male teachers had significantly higher depersonalization than did female teachers. Of the two genders, females seemed to be more of the nurturer and supporter as they related to students, making a personal connection with them. With those males who suffered emotional exhaustion, it was easy for them to become depersonalized and cynical with their students.
In the second study the independent variables were enabling school structures, collegial trust, and academic emphasis, while the dependent variable was the development of PLCs. The unit of analysis was the school; therefore individual respondent scores were aggregated to the school level for the independent and dependent variables of this study. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to consider the relationship between each of the independent variables (ESS, collegial trust and academic emphasis) with the dependent variable, the development of professional learning communities, and with the other independent variables. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the individual and collective relationships between the independent variables to the dependent variable. The control variables were SES (measured by 1 – free/reduced lunch) and school level (elementary, middle or high).
The third study showed when examining black female teachers; the data did not permit a multilevel analysis. This study was restricted to a single-level review because of SASS sampling procedure, and Black female teachers were not significantly clustered in schools.
Design Identification and Implementation Supporting validity of Results
Results of the first study showed that regardless of teaching experiences, and burnout rates varied among gender. Results from this study may lead to interventions among gender-specific teachers which could normalize the burnout effect on teachers. Differences were not found to be significant between teaching experience and burnout, depersonalization, and personal achievement, however, there was a considerable difference when it came to gender and depersonalization.
The second study wanted to determine what affected black teacher attrition; however, found that there are little differences between teacher attrition among black teachers and other ethnicities. The results concluded that among all teachers, job satisfaction contributed to the same characteristics. When teachers enjoyed working in their school and felt supported by their administrators, the turnover rate was much lower.
The third study found the first model consisted of teacher age with their teaching experience and level of education. The model determined little significance in determining job satisfaction at only eight percent. The second model consisted of the location of the school, student demographics, and the minority of the students. The model also showed little significance to teacher satisfaction at only twelve percent. The third model studied student behavior, teacher autonomy, administrative support, and commitment to teaching. This model determined that there was a significant correlation at 55 percent between these characteristics and teacher attrition. The rate rose higher when model two and three were combined. The results of the study show that location working conditions play a significant role in teacher happiness.
Reflection on Strengths and Weaknesses
Studies reveal research in the future may be able to use the framework used in the first study to explore teacher shortages and further develop the variables found. Using a mixed study design may be more appropriate to get more information about burnout, teacher achievements, and depersonalization among teachers. A more holistic approach to support and evaluate existing teachers other than using standardized testing results may be more productive. Such individualized strategies may work to help protect existing teachers away from burnout and facilitate them to get more enthusiastic about their jobs (Rumschlag, 2017).
The third study shows there are no current studies on students in college who changed their major either into education or other professions. Researching first-year college students who choose to teach as their major, and continue to follow them through their first years of teaching to see whether they become certified teachers after graduation. This study is necessary to get their perspective on the administrative and community support they received, whether or not they were offered mentoring and or induction programs, whether they are satisfied with their decision to pursue teacher certification, and their intentions for remaining or moving on to a different career choice.
The third study wanted to determine what affected black teacher attrition; however, found that there are little differences between teacher attrition among black teachers and other ethnicities. The results concluded that among all teachers, job satisfaction contributed to the same characteristics. When teachers enjoyed working in their school and felt supported by their administrators, the turnover rate was much lower.
Most studies have samples too low to be an exact indication of the results such as the following study conducted by Brenner. This study was restricted to a single-level analysis because of SASS sampling procedure, and Black female teachers were not significantly clustered in schools” (Farinde 2018). In addition to the sample size being too small, some research also includes gaps in their sample population limiting the study to a certain area or region.
Studies support the ideas self-efficacy, lack of collaboration and the feeling of isolation is a problem in schools which may change with the implementation of professional learning communities (Gray 2016, Mintzes 2013, Peppers 2015). With using professional learning communities, teachers have a chance to increase their morale and feel less isolated from the rest of the school and share the input of others. Education should be researched thoroughly to anticipate the future of our students and educators alike. Having teachers who are prepared and supported will have a significant impact on student learning and retention of teachers. Teacher shortages are not a new problem in any district. However, it is an urgent issue which has not been resolved for decades and is becoming more problematic for administrators who cannot find educators for their students.
- Rumschlag, K. E. (2017). Teacher Burnout: A Quantitative Analysis of Emotional Exhaustion, Personal Accomplishment, and Depersonalization. International Management Review, 13(1), 22–36.
- Gray, J., Kruse, S., & Tarter, C. J. (2016). Enabling school structures, collegial trust and academic emphasis: Antecedents of professional learning communities. Educational Management Administration and Leadership 1(17), 875-891.
- Farinde-Wu, A., & Fitchett, P. G. (2018). Searching for Satisfaction: Black Female Teachers’ Workplace Climate and Job Satisfaction. Urban Education, 53(1), 86.