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Principals’ Perceived Influence over New Teacher Retention

ABSTRACT Studies report that nearly a third of novice teachers leave the field before their third year of service (Ingersoll, 2002), and almost half of novice teachers leave the field before completing their fifth year of service (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Johnson, 2004). These rates of turnover have remained steady (NCES, 2011). Schools are workplaces where teachers face a multitude of factors that collectively contribute to job satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Generally, research has indicated that administrative support has a profound effect on the experiences of new teachers (Ingersoll & Kralik, 2004). The purpose of this phenomenological study is to examine 6 principals’ perceptions of the main factors behind teacher retention statistics and their personal perceptions of their role as a factor in the career decisions of new teachers. In-depth interviewing will investigate the following research questions: To what extent do the principals identify with the new teacher experience? What do principals perceive to be the main factors behind high attrition rates for new teachers, and to what extent do principals believe that new teacher retention is important? What do the principals do to support new teachers in schools, and how is this effort affected by their perceptions of the research on new teacher retention or contextual variables? Results indicated that the participating principals believed that new teacher retention was a crucial component of school functioning, and they generally perceived themselves to have a great deal of influence over new teacher job satisfaction and eventual retention. More specifically, it was evident that the participants do intentionally try to retain good teachers on both direct and indirect levels.