Over The Edge: Factors Nudging Mid-Career, School- Based Agriculture Teachers Out of the Profession
The field of agricultural education has experienced a consistent labor shortage the past several decades. Consequently, many school districts struggle to fill their open positions, while others are forced to shut down their agricultural programs completely due to inadequate staffing. Teacher attrition has been identified as a predominant factor behind the teacher shortage. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to identify factors influencing mid-career school-based agriculture teachers’ decision to stay in or leave the secondary agriculture teaching profession. Researchers developed and administered questionnaires, as well as conducted interviews, to gather data from current, mid-career agriculture teachers to answer the research questions. The researcher’s discovered mid-career agriculture teachers are satisfied with their careers and significant differences do not exist in overall job satisfaction between those contemplating leaving and those who were not. However, differences existed between groups in areas related to recognition and school policy and administration. Additional findings suggest mid-career agriculture teachers value student and program successes, autonomy and variety, and stakeholder support. Moreover, the researcher’s discovered mid-career agriculture teachers experience similar frustrations as teachers in other professional life stages; however, they seem to struggle more with balancing their personal and professional lives due to changing family dynamics.
This article is published as Solomonson, J. K., & Retallick, M. S. (2018). Over the edge: Factors nudging mid-career, school-based agriculture teachers out of the profession. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(4), 1-19. doi: 10.5032/jae.2018.04001. Posted with permission.