Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Existing problems identified in the literature on teacher retention and resilience include (a) a gap in understanding factors influencing urban teacher retention; (b) lack of clarity on multiple factors swaying teachers' decisions to remain despite challenges; (c) overlapping definitions of teacher retention, attrition, and resilience; and (d) absence of a theoretical framework for a potential relationship between retention and resilience. This embedded-case study sought to identify factors influencing effective teachers' decisions to remain in an urban setting and to examine the role of teachers' resilience, retention, and effectiveness with respect to this decision. Fourteen core-area secondary teachers, identified through criterion reference sampling by National Board Certification status and administrators' assessment of characteristics derived from studies on effective urban teaching, participated in a focus group and individual interviews and supplied archival data. Line-by-line coding and data grouping revealed that (a) passion for students, dedication to reflection, a sense of spiritual calling, and dedication to social justice influenced both retention and resilience; (b) professional development increased resilience but had little influence on the decision to remain; and (c) teacher community influenced resilience at varying levels. The findings indicate a relationship between retention and resilience, yet they are not synonymous, suggesting caution when using resilience studies to create retention models. Outcomes suggest professional development that emphasizes reflection on one's purpose and practice and the linkage of reflection, pedagogical changes, and student achievement. This study contributes to positive social change by providing insight into retention of effective urban teachers and a foundation for further research on urban teacher retention and its impact on student performance.