job satisfaction, rural teachers, rural teacher job satisfaction, rural schools, grow your own teachers;


The purpose of this research was to understand the beliefs and attitudes of teachers that affect their perceptions of job satisfaction in one small rural Florida school district. Data collected included a self-administered survey of Likert-type items measuring 20 factors for job satisfaction (96% response rate), individual semi-structured interviews, and focus groups. Analysis of the data confirmed prior research suggesting that multiple factors influence job satisfaction. Intrinsic satisfaction factors were the best predictors of overall job satisfaction: security, activity, social service, variety, and ability utilization. Extrinsic factors were most likely to predict overall dissatisfaction: recognition, company policies, opportunities for advancement, co-workers, and compensation. Interviews and focus groups further confirmed how participants projected personal significance onto these factors and how they interacted. The complexity of these interactions stemmed from personal perceptions and values participants placed on individual extrinsic factors and linked those values to other extrinsic factors. Consequently, other extrinsic factors took on perceptions of dissatisfaction based on the original factor. In addition, this research revealed several issues not previously reported in studies of rural teaching. First, "role confusion" emerged as a major source of job dissatisfaction for teachers who were either raised in the community or who had spent a considerable number of years in the community. These teachers often found themselves frustrated at work because of conflicting expectations and perceptions between their professional roles as teachers and their social roles in the community. Second, a high majority of teachers interviewed expressed dissatisfaction because they believed other teachers to have undue influence and power. However, interview data suggested that power was distributed properly but pervasive informal decision making processes led to the widespread perception of favoritism. In addition, teachers often exercised influence because no one opposed them. This study suggests that research to gain a better understanding of the sociology of rural communities needs to be conducted in rural education generally and specifically in rural teacher job satisfaction. Rural teachers' job satisfaction is complexly intertwined with a wide range of factors. Suggested uses for this study include an invitation for rural administrators and teachers to incorporate issues related to job satisfaction into their school improvement and professional development strategies. Addressing the factors influencing rural teacher job satisfaction, which have been previously overlooked, affords rural administrators a new opportunity to positively influence teacher retention, teacher quality, student achievement, and school climate.


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Graduation Date





Boote, David


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction








Release Date

May 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)