Why Teachers Choose To Stay In At-Risk Middle School Campuses



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of this study was to discover why teachers choose to remain in at-risk middle school campuses in the Annabella-Christina Independent School District (a pseudonym district). Working at a middle school serving at-risk students brings not only the stressors of at-risk campuses but also the added stress of dealing with teenagers in some of their most difficult years. Studies have found that almost 50 percent of middle school teachers leave the middle school grades or leave education altogether within five years of starting their position (Colbert & Wolf, 1992; Darling-Hammond, 2003). Grissom (2011) stated that studies show at-risk campus teachers tend to get burned out more quickly because of the working conditions. The study takes place in a large suburban school district in the greater Houston area. The participants of the study were divided into two groups. Group one was made of five at-risk middle school principals. Group two, included 68 at-risk middle school teachers with at least two years experience on their current campus. The goal of the study was to expand the body of knowledge to help principals understand why teachers choose to remain in at-risk middle school campuses and what their campuses can do to help influence their teachers to return. The study was divided into three phases. The first phase of the study was to create a survey through an online survey gathering website. Phase two of the study was to have participants of the study complete the survey. Phase three of the study was to analyze the data and find themes that teacher’s state as reasons they choose to stay in at-risk campuses and compare those responses to what their principals stated they believed were the factors that caused teachers to stay. The researcher found teachers who participated in the survey stated eleven reasons for returning. The researcher found that principals stated three reasons that they perceived teachers stayed. The researcher found the number one reason stated by participating teachers for returning was ‘for their students’. The researcher also found that a majority of the principals that participated in the study believed the reason teachers returned to the same at-risk campus was the campus culture.



Teacher retention, Middle schools, At-risk