Teacher Retention: In Rural Schools Nested in Large Districts

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Teacher recruitment and retention have been longstanding challenges in rural school districts. Rural schools often fail to attract highly effective teachers (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005) due to lower pay, long distances from urban areas, lack of teaching resources, and limited opportunities for professional development (Eddy, 2007; Jean-Marie & Moore, 2004; Monk, 2007; Schmidt, 2004). Large school districts in deep South Texas, where this study took place, are building schools outside the parameters of their cities due to a burgeoning population. This study sought to discover reasons teachers choose to teach in rural schools nested in these large school districts and to identify factors that contribute to their decisions to stay. Findings indicated that teachers were drawn to teach in rural schools in large urban school districts because they felt they could "fit in" and connect with the school personnel and families. Factors contributing to their retention included having: 1) a connection and/or shared experience(s) with their students, some as formerly impoverished students of rural schools themselves, 2) an ethic of caring and an intrinsic desire to make a difference for rural school children, and 3) a willingness to embrace challenges of teaching in rural schools. Implications of these findings will be discussed.


© 2019 Texas Association of Teacher Educators

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Texas Forum of Teacher Education