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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

John Hosp

Subject Categories

Special Education and Teaching


Massachusetts has a severe shortage of teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing (TODHH) and there is only one deaf education graduate program in the six New England states. The purpose of this study was to survey every currently working teacher of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children in Massachusetts to understand the makeup of the Massachusetts deaf education workforce and gather teacher ideas for retention and recruitments of teachers of DHH children. This mixed-methods sequential explanatory design collected Phase One data through a statewide survey, identifying where Massachusetts teachers are working, how they decided to work in this field, the challenges they encounter, and satisfaction with different aspects of their work. Phase Two of the study used data learned from the survey to develop semi-structured interview questions of teachers of different demographic groups, using maximal variation sampling, including employment type (early childhood, elementary, secondary, itinerant), teacher deafness status (Deaf, hard of hearing, hearing), and the language of instruction (American Sign Language or spoken English). The data from both phases were integrated to identify the reasons that bring teachers into deaf education, the challenges to becoming a certified TODHH in Massachusetts, identifying satisfaction level of different demographic groups of Massachusetts TODHHs, and collected ideas for recruiting and retaining TODHHs to address the teacher shortage. Barriers to recruitment identified that many hearing TODHHs learned of their profession by accident, usually when some chance encounter steered them toward deaf education. Teachers shared ideas for publicly promoting the profession. Retention issues addressed concerns of teachers not feeling supported and disparate pay issues between private schools for DHH students and public schools. A policy implications section connects research analysis to practice and implementation from federal, state, and local policy perspectives.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.