Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Nancy Dishner

Committee Members

Louise L. MacKay, Eric S. Glover, Elizabeth Ralston


The body of research related to teacher retention continues to grow but is limited concerning middle school teachers. The focus of this study was to examine the factors of job satisfaction for middle school teachers. A portion of the study compares teacher responses with Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman's 1959 study of motivation. Additional components of the study provide middle school teachers' feedback on their dispositions and recommendations to administrators and others for attracting and retaining quality middle school teachers.

This qualitative study includes a review of related literature and includes a historical perspective of job satisfaction and a discussion of Herzberg's Two-Factor Motivation Theory. Teacher job satisfaction and dissatisfaction, along with current trends in teacher retention efforts, complete the review of literature.

Data for the findings were obtained from a demographic survey and semi-structured interviews of current and former middle school teachers. The data were then analyzed to learn what factors encourage middle school teachers to remain in the classroom or to leave. Responses related to teacher dispositions were also analyzed.

Findings of this study validate the research of Gawel (1997) based on Bellot and Tutor; salary was not found to be the highest motivator as in the Herzberg study. Instead, participants identified the work itself, their enjoyment of the early adolescent student, and their relationships with co-workers to be important areas of job satisfaction and what keeps them returning to their middle school classrooms. The personal dispositions identified by participants as necessary to being successful as a middle school teacher were a good sense of humor, a love of the age group, and being energetic, flexible, organized, enthusiastic, consistent, and firm.

This study will be of interest to universities and colleges with teacher preparatory programs. It will be of interest, also, to school administrators, principals, and staff development directors in their attempts to attract and retain quality middle school teachers in their schools. In addition, the study should be of interest of boards of education, state legislators who fund education, and State Departments of Education.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.