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Dr. Molly Fisher pointed out the importance of the creation of an effective retention strategy for secondary school teachers. This objective was the primary justification for studying the impact of stress and burnout in relation to the significant rise in the high turnover rate within the teaching profession. At the end, she was able to explain the correlation between stress, burnout, and high turnover rate. However, it was not possible to develop an appropriate and relevant retention strategy based on the outcome of the said study. Fisher failed to develop a retention strategy because the research team did not isolate the problem and the factors that contributed to the high turnover rate within the said profession.
The Objective of the Study
The title highlighted the importance of a retention strategy in order to reduce the high attrition rate among teachers in the secondary school level. High turnover rates in secondary schools created tremendous problems for students, parents, and administrators. Thus, the need to solve this problem justified the elements found in the research design. However, it is interesting to note that Fisher did not spend a great deal of time describing the process of creating an effective and relevant retention strategy.
After expressing the ultimate goal of the study, Fisher highlighted two critical factors affecting the high turnover rate. She said that stress and burnout directly affected the decision of teachers to choose another career path. It is therefore crucial to analyze the nature of stress and burnout in the context of the teaching profession. The need to learn more about stress and burnout became the secondary goals for the said study.
The Study’s End Result
Fisher and her team discovered that there was no significant difference in the stress scores between “novice” and “experienced” secondary level teachers. Nevertheless, there was a significant difference when it came to the burnout scores. Fisher pointed out that less experienced teachers reported higher burnout scores. This was a significant discovery, because after the application of a multiple regression analysis on the research data, the team found a correlation between burnout scores and job satisfaction levels. This revelation found support after the application of a statistical measurement called the Pearson correlation coefficient, because the said researcher found out that “as years of experience increases, stress decreases” (Fisher, 2011, p.25). However, the team cannot ignore the contradictory results of the study.
In the multiple regression tests, years of experience had a positive effect on stress scores, but the ANOVA test did not confirm this view. Fisher pointed out that adjusting the years of experience for “novice” teachers from five years to three years may help in harmonizing the results. However, one can also argue that the problem is not in the definition of novice and experienced teachers. The real problem is the failure to understand the nature of the work-related stress in the context of the teaching profession. It is not enough to say that stress affects the burnout rate, and that the high burnout rate serves as a precursor to a higher turnover rate.
It is not prudent to end the discussion at the stress and burnout level, because workers from other industries are also affected by the impact of the said factors, but the turnover rate are lower compared to the attrition rate within the teaching profession (Fisher, 2011). One can also argue about the need to focus more on the correlation factors between years of experience and lower turnover rate, because this is the only way to develop the appropriate retention strategy. In other words, the failure to isolate the problem made it difficult to find a solution to a complicated issue. For example, there are different factors that affect the attrition rate. Teachers leave because of maternity issues or career issues. It is not prudent to develop retention strategies on things that are beyond the control of school administrators. Therefore, a follow-up study requires the need to isolate the problem. It is imperative to focus on teachers with high levels of commitment and desire to teach, and yet forced to quit due to the inability to acquire or develop coping mechanisms. The information collated and the results of statistical measurements support the idea that novice and experienced teachers go through relatively similar levels of stress, but experienced teachers found a way to survive the ordeal.
Fisher and his team were unable to develop a relevant and effective retention strategy because of the failure to isolate the problem and focus on one aspect of the issue regarding the profession’s high turnover rate. The focus of the study was to demonstrate the significant difference in the stress and burnout scores of novice and experienced teachers. However, after the discovery of conflicting results, the team struggled to figure out the unexpected outcome of the study. In a follow up study, it is better to start with the assumption that novice and experienced teachers face relatively the same levels of stress, but it is the inevitable struggles in the acquisition of coping mechanisms that ensures the high attrition rate within the teaching profession. Designing the study using these parameters makes it easier to understand data results that revealed high burnout rate among novice teachers. As a result, school administrators are prompted to develop coping mechanisms based on the success rate of experienced teachers.
Fisher, H. (2011). Factors influencing stress, burnout, and retention of secondary teachers. Current Issues in Education, 14(1), 3-35.