Is the grass really greener? A qualitative study of teacher reflections on their decision to migrate from small rural districts to larger school districts
Teacher retention in rural schools continues to be an area of concern. This qualitative study examines why teachers migrate from small, rural school districts to teach in larger districts by interviewing teachers who have already made the move and who have taught in both environments. It also shares the perceptions of teachers as they reflect on their experience in the small district as well as how they now feel about their decision to leave the small rural district. Findings indicate that teachers look back fondly at their time in small rural schools and, while they do not regret their decision to leave, they do think more teachers should have that experience. Teachers discussed the similarities and differences of the district sizes and gave their personal reasons for leaving. Findings reveal teachers primarily leave small rural districts for financial concerns and enjoy a smaller workload at the secondary level in the larger districts. Workload at the elementary level seemed to be similar. Recommendations for small rural school district leaders are presented.
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