Class teacher attrition : an investigation of self-reported job satisfaction and commitment amongst teachers on St.Helena island.
This study investigated levels of job satisfaction and commitment reported by the
population of class teachers on St. Helena Island (N = 76), and was set in the context
of burgeoning turnover that threatens local educational provision. It explored
possible determinants, correlates and implications of these constructs and their
interrelationship, drawing comparisons with findings from other cultural
The investigation aimed to obtain high quality data that could inform policy decisions
designed to reduce attrition, and to test established theories relating to job
satisfaction and commitment within a small, developing state setting. A model of
possible influences upon the constructs in question and their effect upon career
decisions was developed.
A three-phase research design was used, involving both qualitative and quantitative
approaches to data collection. A purpose-built survey instrument, containing both
scale and open-ended items, was constructed and administered. Non-participant
observations and interviews were also undertaken.
The findings reveal that although most St. Helenian class teachers were moderately
satisfied with their jobs and committed to these, all found certain aspects of their role
dissatisfying, and a quarter (N = 19) wished to cease teaching. Job satisfaction and
commitment were found to possess a weak, positive relationship.
Significant differences existed between responses of class teachers within different
school sectors, and of those having disparate lengths of teaching experience. These
appeared influenced by contextual and personal demographic factors. Similarities
between challenges and constraints facing local class teachers and those in both
developed, and other developing, states emerged strongly.
Emanating from the results, recommendations for changes at strategic and
operational levels that may reduce class teacher attrition were formulated, and areas
for further research identified.
The investigation, thus, sheds light upon the job satisfaction and commitment of St.
Helenian class teachers and contributes to international literature pertaining to the
theoretical aspects of these constructs