This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Contributing Factors to Agricultural Educator Disengagement




Webb, Amy

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



As populations continue to rise across the globe, it is essential to continue the education of all people on the importance of agriculture. Agriculture is the backbone of society, and humans would not be successful without food or fiber. With the average age of farmers in the United States being 60, agricultural educators in secondary and post-secondary schools have become even more critical to the continuation of our society. Agricultural educators are responsible for teaching the youth how and why agriculture is essential and keeping them interested in pursuing such a path. However, agricultural educators and teachers, in general, are leaving the profession in droves due to stress and low morale. This research study aimed to identify the leading causes of stress in Georgia Agricultural Educators and determine the frequency and coping method for said stressors. The study aimed to determine contributing factors to agricultural educator disengagement and eventual attrition. Stress is present in most adult jobs, but teachers are leaving at an astounding rate. According to Bryant, Ram, Scott, and Williams (2023), “over the past decade, the annual teacher turnover rate has hovered around 8 percent nationally and is more than double that for schools designated for Title 1 funding” (para. 1). The study used a Likert scale sent by Qualtrics platform to ask a series of questions from a subset of Georgia Agricultural Educators in both middle and high school settings. Young Farmers and Area teachers were not included in the study as their duties vary compared to classroom teachers. The main parts of the instrument used in this study focused on: stressors, coping methods to deal with stress, frequency of stress, the variance of the stressors, and how the stress has changed over time for Georgia agricultural educators. The study found that female agricultural educators experienced more stress more often and typically felt that outside pressures were more stressful than classroom curricula. According to all participants, the curriculum was the least stressful part of agricultural education. It is important to note that female agricultural educators also mentioned that family time was not seen as a priority in agricultural education, and that caused them stress, not only in the job setting but also in their personal lives. Further research should be conducted to determine what school systems are working on to help all teachers alleviate and deal with stress in their careers. Agricultural education is a challenging but rewarding field, and everything must be done to retain these teachers and do the utmost to help them succeed in the classroom, FFA, and personal lives.