Teacher Self-Efficacy and Years of Experience: Their Relation to Teacher Commitment and Intention to Leave
Miller, Theresa Marie
University of Kansas
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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The teacher turnover remains to be a pressing problem in the United States. Some teachers move between schools, while others leave the profession altogether. This creates loss, costs, and disruptions in our schools. This loss is even magnified in urban schools, under- performing schools, and schools with more economically disadvantaged students. It is then critical to understand and address teacher turnover in combatting its effects on student learning, in strengthening teacher commitment and teacher efficacies and, hopefully, in stemming teacher shortages in the United States. Teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs and commitment have come to be recognized as important teacher variables linked to attrition. However, there is still lack of knowledge on the variances of self-efficacy that occur in the specific dimensions of instructional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement when teacher characteristics are considered. This study examined how specific areas of teacher self-efficacy, commitment, and intention to leave indices vary based on years of experience, gender, race/ethnicity, and school setting. Furthermore, this study sought to understand how each of these indices relate to each other, more specifically how they influence teachers’ intention to leave or quit. Using the data collected from 201 completed teacher surveys, this study found that female teachers have higher self-efficacy in student engagement compared to male teachers. Non-white teachers also feel more confident in their ability to engage their students than white teachers. It was determined that teachers with 6 to 10 years of teaching experience are more efficacious in instructional strategies and classroom management but have higher intention to quit compared to teachers who have only been teaching for at most five years. Furthermore, while it was found that self-efficacy, commitment, together with gender, race, years of experience and school setting explain a significant amount of variance in a teacher’s intention to quit, only teacher commitment was found as a significant predictor. The influence of commitment on intention to quit was the strongest for teachers in their first five years of teaching and the weakest for teachers with at least 20 years of teaching experience. Teacher self-efficacy in student engagement was found to be a significant predictor of commitment. Lastly, teaching experience appeared to have a significant positive effect on intention to quit but only for teachers who have been teaching for 6 to 15 years. As a whole, the results of this study contribute to an important story about relationships that exist between teacher self-efficacy, commitment, years of experience, and intention to quit.
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