Term of Award

Spring 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Cherry C. Brewton

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

Rosemarie Stallworth-Clark

Abstract

The student population in the public school systems throughout the United States has become more racially and ethnically diverse, yet the minority teacher population has declined sharply. Currently, Caucasians comprise an overwhelming majority of the teacher population while African American teachers represent approximately only 8% of the field. This study explores the African American educators' experiences of teaching in rural Georgia school districts. This study is being conducted to identify what factors influence African American educators' decisions to teach in rural Georgia school districts and why they remain there. In order to explore the experiences from the participants' perspective, a qualitative methodology was used to conduct this study. The researcher used semistructured interviews which provided participants with the opportunity to fully express themselves without constraints. In order to ensure accuracy of the data, all interviews were audio-taped. Each participant was asked twelve open-ended questions developed from a brainstorming panel in an effort to identify what factors influence African American educators decisions to teach in rural Georgia school districts and why they remain there. Findings from the study concur with the literature on African Americans showing the importance of intrinsic rewards and the influence of a significant other or role model as factors influencing their decisions to become teachers. In addition, the findings suggest the importance of extrinsic rewards and having a positive perception of the profession as reasons African Americans become teachers. Findings from the study corroborate the literature showing the importance of the type of home community reared in, becoming acclimated to the rural lifestyle, the location of spousal employment, and having a supportive administration as factors influencing African American educators decisions to teach in rural Georgia school districts and to remain there as teachers.

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