Why They Stay: A Look into Why Three Title I Educators Taught Longer than the Five-Year Average



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Background: This study explored teacher retention rates within different Title I schools and why certain teachers stayed in the profession longer than the current five-year career average. Several studies have been completed on why teachers leave the field of education, and Ingersoll and Smith (2003) attribute some of the difficulties to low salary, student discipline problems, lack of administrative support, and low student motivation. While many prior studies have focused on the reasoning and factors as to why teachers are leaving, conversely, this study used a qualitative approach to determine and understand teachers’ perspectives on factors that influence their retention within the education field for more than five years, specifically within a Title I school in a southwest city in Texas. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of why teachers at Title I schools stay for more than five years. This study sought to answer the following research question: What is the teachers’ perception as to what factors, both internal and external; motivate educators to continue teaching longer than the typical five-year span within a Title I school? Method: The case study approach was employed to examine the perceptions of the three teachers. The study took place within one large Texas public school district, which contained many Title I schools. Critical case sampling was employed and the participants were chosen based on particular criteria from a social network of peers. After the chosen participants agreed to the study, the initial interviews took place. The live audio-based Zoom interviews were recorded in their entirety, and the responses were immediately transcribed. Each interview lasted approximately one hour. A maximum of two follow-up interviews and to allow for member-checking was also conducted, as needed. The in-depth interviews allowed the participants to be questioned using broad, open-ended questions. Upon interview completion, the data collected were transcribed, coded, and analyzed to determine if there were common factors, motivators, attributes, or common themes that directly influenced why educators continue employment within a Title I school for more than five years. The information was taken and presented as the key findings for this study. Results: The results showed that the teachers were motivated by three major elements. These factors included: being motivated by their students and knowing that they have a great impact on their lives and are making a difference, an internal drive to continue within the profession, and being led by administration who maintained open communication and a positive work environment. The participants all agreed that ultimately, the motivation to remain in teaching was due to these major themes, and if one or more of these factors was negatively impacted or shown, it can seriously influence a teacher’s decision to exit the profession no matter what year they are within their career. Additional findings revealed the teachers perceptions that there is a need for several improvements to be made within the profession regarding strategies that can be put into place to retain a higher population of effective teachers. Conclusion: This study uncovered themes that have been attributed to educators who have found success longer than the average five-year term. Through looking at and considering the perspectives of teachers who have already found continued success within Title I school teaching, this study serves as a basis for insight on the retention topic. The information provided may offer insight to educational leaders and teachers themselves on potential strategies, motivations, and attributes that foster higher retention rates. However, more research should be conducted on the positive aspect of the teacher retention issue in the future, and on a much larger scale in order for more teacher voices to be heard and taken into account.



Teacher retention, Teacher attrition, Teacher job satisfaction