Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Whaley, Rachel


Popular media reports indicate that there is a national teacher shortage. Scholars have written that there is either a recruitment crisis, a greying of the teaching population, or that teachers are leaving the profession due to dissatisfaction. This dissertation attempts to answer two central questions related to the lattermost: what are the components that go into the calculus of job satisfaction for public and private school teachers and what role does job satisfaction play in a teacher's decision to leave the profession. Drawing on the literature of job satisfaction and organizational exit behaviors, I develop hypotheses designed to test three related research questions concerning the relationship between sector of employment, job satisfaction, and turnover behavior. Findings indicate that although private school teachers report greater overall job satisfaction, they are nearly twice as likely to leave the profession as public school teachers. Findings indicate that sector of employment affects job satisfaction, and that the relationship between sector of teacher employment and job satisfaction is mediated by organizational perceptions including school environment, school structure, professional development opportunities, and employment conditions. Findings further indicate that job satisfaction, net of other factors, does not predict quit behavior; however, occupational pulls outside of teaching do increase turnover.




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