Award Date

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Linda Quinn

Second Committee Member

Jane McCarthy

Third Committee Member

Katrina Liu

Fourth Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages



Teacher turnover is a significant phenomenon and a dominant factor driving demand for new teachers and, in turn, creating school staffing problems. Retaining teachers in the classroom is critical to properly serve a growing and diverse student population. The purpose of this case study was to investigate critical components that cause teachers to remain teaching in Title 1, hard to staff schools and how their professional identities contribute to that decision. A qualitative research design was used by conducting one interview with seven teachers employed at a Title 1 elementary school in the Southwest portion of the United States.

The participants’ years of experience ranged from six to sixteen years. There was a diverse range of age, experience, and schooling. Data was collected through interviews and audio recorded. Each interview was approximately sixty to seventy-five minutes and was conducted after contracted school hours away from the teacher’s school. Follow up questions and clarifications were obtained from participants via email or text messages. Transcribed interviews and follow up questions were analyzed using componential domain analysis and searched for a cultural scene. The purpose of using this method was to look for patterns of behaviors from each interview to create new knowledge based on the findings.

The findings are presented by answering three separate questions and using a domain analysis and a dimension of contrast to investigate teachers as individuals, groups, and subgroups based on how many years they have been teaching. The themes were consistent and substantial during the interviews and analysis. There were five recurrent themes about reasons the teachers remained teaching at a Title 1 school: Teachers Support, Recognition, Perseverance, Relationships, and Commitment. There were also five recurrent themes about the teachers’ identity construction: Positive Perception, Negative Perception, Feelings, Self-Image, and Commitment. Reasons teachers stay and professional identity support one another as factors for teacher retention in a Title 1, hard to staff school. The results of this study indicate the importance of administrators providing a positive school climate where teachers feel supported and respected at their school. Teacher identity as a simple solution for teacher retention was examined and found to have an influence on retaining teachers in Title 1, hard to staff schools. Results showed the importance of relationships in the retention and growth of teachers and the personal nature of the teaching profession.


Administration; Hard to Staff Schools; Professional Identity; Teacher Identity; Teacher Relationships; Teacher Retention


Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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