Schools are finding it increasingly difficult to adequately staff science classrooms. Not only are there are initial shortages of science teachers, but the problem is further compounded by high percentages of premature science teacher turnover from migration and attrition. If the premature turnover of science teachers is not addressed, schools will find it difficult to provide high quality education for all students.
The purpose of this study was to investigate factors that contribute to science teacher turnover by examining possible relationships between individual teacher and school factors, teacher job satisfaction, and middle school science teachers' intent to stay in current teaching position. Teacher variables included self-efficacy, level of education, age, and experience. School factors measured were school climate, support programs, socio-economic status, student behaviors, student enrollment, community type, and work assignment. Each of these factors were correlated with all of the other variables, Science Teacher Job Satisfaction, and Science Teacher Intent to Stay. Regression models were proposed and analyzed to further investigate the relationship between multiple variables and Science Teacher Intent To Stay.
Original data were collected by the researcher and included survey responses from 114 middle school science teachers from 28 public schools in New Jersey. Published surveys completed by participants included Science Teacher Efficacy Beliefs Instrument, by Enochs and Riggs, Teacher Job Satisfaction Questionnaire by Paula Lester, and the Organizational Health Index for Middle Schools by Hoy and Sabo. Additional author created surveys were also included in the measurement set.
The strongest relationship that emerged from the study was between Science Teacher Efficacy and Teacher Job Satisfaction, followed closely by the relationship between Science Teacher Efficacy and Intent to Stay. The combination of organizational climate, teacher efficacy, and teacher job satisfaction, accounts for 27% of the variance of teacher intentions to stay. Overall, 59% of the science teachers in the study indicated that they would stay in their current position, 20% said they had intentions to move to another school, 9% were retiring, and 12% of the participants indicated they planned to leave the education profession.
The proposed conceptual framework illuminates what factors influence a science teacher's intentions to stay in his or her current school. School officials can use the findings in this study to help shape school environments that enhance self-efficacy, teacher job satisfaction and ultimately retain science teachers.