Career Longevity Among Southeastern Band Directors: Environmental, Personal, and Educational Factors
Type of Degreedissertation
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The purposes of this study were to determine whether variables reported in previous research on teacher turnover could be reduced to a number of factors, and to determine how those resulting factors affected career longevity in band directors. Career longevity was defined as the total number of years teaching. Literature on teacher turnover was reviewed, a list of variables from previous research was created, and an online questionnaire that collected demographic information and data to address the research questions was developed. Over 3,200 middle-school and high-school band directors in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee were invited to participate. Of the 270 directors who completed the online questionnaire, 226 responses were usable in analysis (N = 226). Mean number of years teaching was 16 (SD = 10.23) and median years at current position was 5 (SD = 7.36), suggesting that most directors had held more than one teaching position. Data for total teaching experience and time at current position were heavily skewed toward less time teaching. Factor analysis confirmed that data reduction to 3 factors which qualitatively resembled Environmental, Personal, and Educational categories from the review of literature was the best fit, but only accounted for 24.7% of variance in career longevity due to a high amount of shared variance. It was also suggested that perhaps the Environmental factor in this study was really a measure of the construct known as job satisfaction, which appears frequently in turnover literature. Multiple regression analysis with career longevity as criterion variable and Environmental, Personal, and Educational as predictors accounted for only 12.0% of variance in career longevity, R2 = .120, F(3, 191) = 8.647, p < .001. Environmental made the strongest unique contribution to variance, b = .346, t(200) = 4.713, p < .001. Educational made a smaller but significant contribution, and the contribution of Personal was not significant. Again a high amount of shared variance between variables was observed. Band directors in positions where their Environmental compatibility is low may be at greatest risk to leave or move. Those directors in positions where their compatibility with the environment is highest may be the most likely to stay, regardless of other variables. This view of Environment as a factor of career longevity places critical importance on the compatibility of the band director with the environment in which they will be teaching for optimal career longevity.