A study of the perceptions of leadership behaviors and the morale of elementary teachers in a selected school district
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The evolution of student accountability has led some researchers to suggest the increase of teacher attrition is tied to the increase of accountability. Although some may suggest the teacher attrition rate is tied to accountability, this study explored the relationship of elementary teacher morale and the leadership of elementary principals and how that leadership may play a role in teacher morale and a possible factor in the teacher attrition. While many quantitative studies have been conducted on teacher morale and principal behaviors, this study analyzed principal behaviors through the lens of transformational leadership, gathering data in a qualitative method through individual teacher and administrator interviews. The findings, implications and recommendations of this study are a result of the data that were gathered through individual interviews. There were four common positive themes which principals and teachers believed impacted teacher morale in a positive manner including teacher support, teacher feedback, shared leadership and creating a family culture. There were five common themes principals and teachers believed to have a negative impact on teacher morale including negativity, lack of support, change or new initiatives, valuing teachers and common core curriculum. Additional emergent themes were also identified and discussed in the conclusions of this study. The findings are intended to change the leadership approach of principals in order to increase teacher morale and student achievement and decrease teacher attrition.