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The impact of school violence on teacher performance and attitudes

Dissertation
Author: Tracy E. Hill
Abstract:
Schools maintain a steady rate of violent crimes nationally with more than 1.6 million violent acts occurring towards teachers over a four year period (NCES, 2007). Nearly 35 percent of teachers report that school violence affects their teaching (NCES, 2009). Concurrently, teacher attrition rates are steady across school districts nationwide at nearly twenty percent and cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year. This study explored teacher's perceptions of school violence and its influence on their teaching performance and attitudes towards others. In addition, it investigated whether teacher's perceptions of school violence had an effect on teacher's intentions on attrition. A representative sample of teachers from Southeastern Pennsylvania was selected at random to participate in an on-line self reported survey. Five teachers were then randomly selected for unstructured individual interviews. Results indicated that there is a relationship between perceptions of school violence with teacher's performance, attitudes and thoughts on moving or leaving the profession. Both interpersonal non-physical violence (INPV) and group crime violence (GCV) were positively associated with negative teacher performance as well as negative teacher attitudes. Additionally, interpersonal non-physical violence (INPV) was positively associated with intended teacher attrition as more than half the teachers reported that they might transfer schools due to school violence.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................... iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ..................................................................................... iv DEDICATION.......................................................................................................... vii LIST OF TABLES .................................................................................................... xi LIST OF FIGURES ................................................................................................. xii CHAPTER ONE ........................................................................................................ 1 INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................... 1 School Violence ............................................................................................... 2 School Violence Programs ............................................................................... 4 Teacher Performance and Attitudes ................................................................. 5 Teacher Attrition .............................................................................................. 8 Teacher Turnover Models and Programs ....................................................... 10 Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................ 12 Background Information ........................................................................................ 13 Research Questions .................................................................................................. 15 Definitions ................................................................................................................. 17 Procedural Overview ............................................................................................... 18 CHAPTER TWO ..................................................................................................... 19 LITERATURE REVIEW ....................................................................................... 19 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 19 School Violence and Teachers ....................................................................... 19

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Effects of Stress on Teachers ......................................................................... 27 Teacher Attrition and Turnover ..................................................................... 30 CHAPTER THREE ................................................................................................. 34 METHOD ................................................................................................................. 34 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 34 Research Questions .................................................................................................. 34 Research Design Overview ...................................................................................... 35 Participants ..................................................................................................... 36 Research Procedure and Instrumentation ....................................................... 37 School Violence and Teacher Performance and Attitude Survey .................. 39 Unstructured Interviews ................................................................................. 44 Designing Variables ................................................................................................. 45 Dependent Variables ...................................................................................... 45 Independent Variables ................................................................................... 46 Other Factors .................................................................................................. 48 CHAPTER FOUR .................................................................................................... 49 RESULTS ................................................................................................................. 49 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 49 Data Analysis Methods and Measures ................................................................... 49 School Violence ............................................................................................. 51 Teacher Performance and Attitudes ............................................................... 52 Teacher Attrition ............................................................................................ 52 Demographic Data ................................................................................................... 52

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School Violence ............................................................................................. 55 Performance and Attitude .............................................................................. 57 Intended Teacher Attrition ............................................................................. 59 Other Factors .................................................................................................. 60 Correlations .............................................................................................................. 62 Diagnostics for the Multiple Linear Regression Analyses.................................... 64 Multiple Linear Regression Analyses..................................................................... 65 Teacher Performance ..................................................................................... 65 Teacher Attitudes ........................................................................................... 66 Teacher Intended Attrition ............................................................................. 68 Unstructured Interviews ................................................................................. 70 Summary ................................................................................................................... 70 CHAPTER FIVE ..................................................................................................... 74 Conclusions and Further Research ........................................................................ 74 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 74 Research Questions .................................................................................................. 74 Limitations and Strengths ....................................................................................... 75 Conclusions and Further Research ........................................................................ 76 REFERENCES ......................................................................................................... 82 APPENDICES .......................................................................................................... 97 A: PSEA Letter of Support .................................................................................... 97 B: Permission to Audiotape.................................................................................... 98 C: School Violence and Teacher Performance and Attitude Survey ................. 99

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LIST OF TABLES Table

Page

4.1 Descriptive Characteristics of School Personnel Survey Participants ……………….

53

4.2 Frequency of School Violence I tems …………………………………………...…...

56

4.3 Frequency of the Impact of S chool Violence on Teacher Performance …………….

58

4.4 Frequency of the Impact of School Violence on Teacher Attitude …………………

58

4.5 Frequency of the Impact of School Violence on Teacher Attrition Intention ………

60

4.6 Frequency of Staff Supports and Programs Available to Cope with

or Handle School Violence ………………………………………………………… ….. …..

61

4.7 Frequency of Utilized School Supports or Outside Supports to Cope with

School Violence ……………………………………………………………………… …….

62

4.8 Pearson‟s Correlatio ns Between the Predictor and Outcome Variables … …………..

63

4.9 Pearson‟s Correlations between Outcome Variables and Supports ……… …………

64

4.10 Kolmogorov - Smirnov Tests for Normality of Outcome Variables ……… ………….

65

4.11 Multiple Linear Regression Esti mates of the Impact of Demographics ,

Utilized School Supports and the Experience of Violence on Teacher Performance … …...

66

4.12 Multiple Linear Regression Estimates of the Impact of Demographics,

Utilized School Supports and the Experience of Viol ence on Teacher Attitudes ……... .....

68

4.13 Multiple Linear Regression Estimates of the Impact of Demographics,

Utilized School Supports and the Experience of Violence on Teacher Attrition Intention ……………………………………………………………………………… …. ...

69

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LIST OF FIGURES Figures

Page

Figure 1. Histogram of the Standardized Residuals Assessing

Normality for Teacher Performance ……………………………………………. ....... ..

93

Figure 2. Normal P - Plot of Regression Standardized Residual Assessing

Normality for Teacher Perform ance ……………………………………………... .......

93

Figure 3. Scatterplot of Standardized Residuals and predicted Values Assessing

Homogeneity of Variance of Teacher Performance ……………………………... .......

94

Figure 4. Histogram of the Standardized Residuals Assessing Norm ality for

Teacher Attitudes ………………………………………………………………… …...

94

Figure 5. Normal P - P Plot of Regression Standardized Residual Assessing

Normality for Teacher Attitudes ………………………………………………… ……

94

Figure 6. Scatterplot of Standardized Residuals and predic ted Values Assessing

Homogeneity of Variance of Teacher Attitudes ………………………………… ……

95

Figure 7. Histogram of the Standardized Residuals Assessing Normality for

Intended Teacher Attrition……………………………………………………….. .......

95

Figure 8. Normal P - P Plot of Regression Standardized Residual Assessing

Normality for Intended Teacher Attrition ………………………………………... .......

95

Figure 9. Scatterplot of Standardized Residuals and predicted Values Assessing

Homogeneity of Variance of Intended Teacher Attrition ………… …………… ..........

96

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION School violence is an international concern in educational institutions. The Crime, Violence, Discipline and Safety in U.S. Public Schools Survey (Neiman & DeVoe, 2009) reported that more than 75 percent of public schools report incidents of violent crimes in the 2007-2008 school year. These crimes were committed by students on peers as well as faculty members. Concurrently, teacher attrition rates as reported by the Teacher Attrition and Mobility Survey (Marvel, Lyter, Peltola et.al, 2006) are steady across both public and private schools nationwide averaging more than 15 percent. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) also found a correlation between school violence and teacher attrition. NCES noted that more than 32 percent of public school teachers and 21 percent of private school teachers stated a “dissatisfaction with workplace conditions” as a reason for leaving or moving schools. While most of the attention and has focused on the impact of school violence on students, there is little information known about how school violence impacts teachers. Certainly, being a victim or witnessing violence on a daily basis would affect most people. Often, individuals exhibit symptoms of generalized stress or anxiety from the constant fights and confrontations they witness. These encounters may occur at work (e.g., military) or home (e.g., divorce). Teachers who witness daily conflicts encompassing bullying, verbal intimidations, fights and the like are no different from others who observe the same. The constant daily stress from school violence may have ill-effects on teachers. Teacher‟s perceptions of school violence may impact their performance, attitudes or thoughts on attrition. Recently (Graham, 2010), a district superintendent of a large urban school district stated “In all my 41 years in education, I‟ve never had a teacher‟s union that lists that (fixing school violence) as one of their top three bargaining issues. Violence impacts how teachers teach, how children learn (p. B4).” Yet, this recently

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happened for this large urban district whereby teachers are stating that school violence is a top priority in union negotiations. This study will explore whether school violence affects teacher‟s job performance or attitudes towards their students (or other faculty) and whether there are possible trends between school violence and teacher‟s thoughts on attrition. School Violence In the 2005-06 school year, close to 1.5 million crimes occurred in public and private schools equating to more than 77 percent of schools reporting criminal violence (U.S. Department of Education, NCES 2007). The National Center for Education Statistics reported that violent acts included physical attacks or threats, rape, robbery and sexual battery with or without a weapon. In the Crime, Violence, Discipline & Safety in U.S. Public Schools report for the 2007-08 school year, statistics remain steady with more than 1.3 million crimes reported and more than 75 percent of schools reporting criminal violence. More than 31 out of every 1,000 students across America have experienced a violent crime as reported in the School Survey on Crime and Safety consistently for years 1999-2000, 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 (U.S. Department of Education, NCES 2007). Additionally, more than 25 percent of public schools reported that bullying is a daily or weekly concern in their school (U.S. Department of Education, NCES, 2008). School violence occurs more often by and against males than females and the violence is not limited to in school violence but appears on buses and other school venues such as athletic events (U.S. Department of Education, NCES, 2007). In the Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2002 report, the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that in the school year 2000, 25 percent more males than females were involved in a violent act either going to or from

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school. Today, that gap in gender related school violence appears steady (25%) for males to be more likely than females to commit acts of school violence. More than 350,000 males were involved in violent crimes and more than 265,000 females (U.S. Department of Education, NCES, 2007). Additionally, research (McKinney, Berry, Dickerson & Campbell-Whately, 2007; Smith & Smith, 2006; Stanford, 2001) is often focused on urban school districts due to the fact that school violence is more prevalent in the city than the suburbs (U.S. Department of Education, NCES, 2007) with close to 500, 000 incidents of violent acts reported in urban schools compared to 380,000 in suburban, 158,000 in town schools and nearly 300,000 incidents reported in rural schools. School violence and the related tension are not student specific (student on student violence), but includes violence towards teachers as well. In fact, teachers are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than students (student on teacher violence). From 1996 to 2000 more than 1.6 million violent acts were committed against teachers of which nearly 600,000 included a violent crime such as sexual assault, rape, robbery, aggravated assault or simple assault. During this same period as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), male (50 incidents per 1,000), middle (49 incidents per 1,000) or high school (35 incidents per 1,000) teachers working in an urban (36 incidents per 1,000) school were more likely to be victims than female (20 incidents per 1,000) teachers, elementary (15 incidents per 1,000) teachers or suburban or rural teachers (21 and 17 incidents per 1,000, respectively). In the 2005-06 school year, 17 percent of public high school teachers reported student verbal abuse directed toward them on a daily or weekly basis and more than 30 percent reported disrespectful acts committed towards them daily or weekly (NCES, 2007). In the 2007-08 school year, the Crime, Violence, Discipline & Safety in U.S. Public Schools survey reported that (Neiman & DeVoe, 2009) 29

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percent of high school teachers had daily or weekly acts of verbal abuse or disrespectful acts directed towards them. In the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2008 (NCES, 2009), 35 percent of teachers reported that student misbehavior affected their teaching. However, there is little data on how teaching behaviors or attitudes are specifically affected. School Violence Programs Although this project is not an investigation of the availability or effectiveness for school violence preventative programs; it is worth mentioning the types of programs currently in place at many districts nationwide in order to get a better feel for the programs and services offered to students, faculty and administration. In the Crime, Violence, Discipline & Safety in U.S. Public Schools survey (Neiman & DeVoe, 2009), all eight programs that were reported as school violence prevention programs were aimed at and for students. These eight public school instituted programs included all of the following in the order of which they were utilized at all levels of schools (elementary, middle, high school and combined): counseling, social work, psychological or therapeutic activity for students (93%); behavioral or behavior modification intervention for students (90.4%); individual attention, mentoring, tutoring or coaching of students by students or adults (90.3%); prevention curriculum, instruction or training for students (88%); recreational, enrichment or leisure activities for students (84%); programs to promote a sense of community or social integration among students (80%); student involvement in resolving student conduct problems (53%); and a hotline/tip line for students to report problems (26%). Teachers are with students on a daily basis. Depending on the level of curriculum or grade level, teachers spend anywhere from forty five minutes daily to several hours each day with students. There are no programs mentioned (U.S. Department of Education, NCES, 2009) which help teachers with the skills and training necessary to help de-escalate violent situations or

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manage crises. It is also surprising that there are no training programs designed to help teachers thwart a violent situation through violence prevention instruction, conflict resolution training or specific behavioral classroom techniques aimed specifically for teachers. Consistent with the Teacher Attrition and Mobility: Results from the 2004-05 Teacher Follow-Up survey reported (Marvel, Lyter, Peltola, Strizek and Morton, 2006) that more than 37 percent of public teachers (movers) were dissatisfied with administrative support from their previous school. In addition, 13 percent of public school teachers reported dissatisfaction with professional development opportunities. More than 25 percent of leavers rated pursuing another occupation as their reason for career change. If there is a relationship between school violence and teacher performance, attitude and attrition, it may well be that new programs may have to be instituted to help teachers not just the students. Teacher Performance and Attitude What makes a good teacher? The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS, 2009) asserts there are five core principles that encompass professional characteristics of a „good teacher.‟ The values are initially defined broadly and then subsequently broken down into more detailed accounts for each value. The core values include teachers who: are committed to learning and their students, understand their domains and how to teach them, monitor and manage student learning, think analytically about their profession and continue to learn themselves, and are part of a larger learning community within their schools. Some common terms used to describe effective teachers are respect, tolerance, flexible, pedagogy, purpose and fulfillment (Arnon & Reichel, 2007; NBPTS, 2009; NECN, 2009). Commitment to their students and learning is the first core value and a cornerstone to being a good teacher. Teachers often assert that they remain teaching because they find meaning in helping students.

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Viktor Frankl (1963) affirms that people reach happiness when they find fulfillment or meaning in their life, typically without regard to financial or economic gains. This affirmation appears to apply to teachers who feel fulfilled and committed to teaching. The second characteristic of a good teacher encompasses the ability of a teacher to understand different learning styles, varied cultures and family dynamics as well as having expertise in their domain. The third characteristic of a good teacher maintains high expectations for all students, manages and monitors student learning and combines the art and science in teaching. Respect is offered by the teacher to each student at the onset of the school year. Tolerance and flexibility for individual students, programs and the day-to-day issues that creep into a teaching day help teachers with performance and a more positive attitude. Pedagogy incorporates the other values as teachers continually improve their skills through various methods and typically maintain a presence in the larger community. The New England Cable Network and the Boston Foundation hosted a series on television entitled “State of Education: what makes a good teacher (NECN, 2009)?” The panel, which was hosted by several top educator representatives replicated these same themes on good teacher characteristics and noted the passion many teachers demonstrate in their work. Most teachers are evaluated on their performance and attitude through semiannual or annual evaluations conducted by administrators. In Southeastern Pennsylvania, a suburban school district defines the performance evaluation for teachers to consist of the four areas: a) planning and preparation; which includes pedagogy and knowledge of content, b) managing classroom environments, c) professional responsibilities such as effective communication with families and accurate record keeping as well as d) effective instruction which includes teachers‟ engagement in student learning.

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In order to be an effective teacher, one has to be engaged in the process of teaching. However, teacher performance and attitude may be greatly affected by daily stress at work. According to the National Association of Head Teachers (2000), nearly 40 percent of teachers reported a stress related doctor‟s visit during the indicated school year. Stress, can contribute to reduced work performance, mental health symptoms (i.e., depression) and physical symptoms such as high blood pressure (Kopp, Stauder, Purebl, et.al., 2008; Mallor, 2007; Maxon,1999; Van Dick & Wagner, 2001). Workplace violence is correlated with individual stress as Galand, Lecocq & Philippot, Philippot and Lecocq (2007) point out. In their study, the researchers concluded that a positive relationship existed between school violence and teacher disengagement, depression and anxiety. Additionally, they noted a negative relationship between teacher disengagement and school administrative support. Where there is a perceived or actual work condition of school violence, teachers may become more disengaged, especially if school provisions (in the form of administration and programming) are not in place to support them. Daniels, Bradley and Hays (2007) concluded that school personnel often do not have their mental health or physical health needs met with respect to school violence. High rates of teacher turnover not only affect taxpayer dollars but more importantly may also affect the quality of student education. In the fall of 2008, twenty students were arrested for disrupting a northeastern city high school. Several students who were interviewed commented that they felt there was “a lack of qualified teachers,” “It‟s not …a learning environment,” and having “had just gotten… its third teacher (Graham, 2008).” Casella (2001, p. 43) states that “the outcomes of school violence…not only undermine the education of those involved…but create obstacles for all students in their attainment of an education.” If students are misaligned in their focus for education due to an environment of violence, it may affect their attention away from learning in

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the same manner that it would divert a teacher‟s attention away from teaching. Violence in the workplace or school place affects all persons to some degree. The concern is to what degree and specifically how is school violence affecting teacher‟s performance and attitudes within the school setting. Teacher Attrition Teacher attrition rates, as reported by the Teacher Attrition and Mobility Survey (U.S. Department of Education; NCES, 2007), are steady across both public and private school districts nationwide averaging more than 15 percent per year. This high turnover rate is a concern that administrators, superintendants and districts contend with on a national level. The New England Cable News (2009) claims that districts are often more concerned with recruitment rather than retention; however, many researchers have demonstrated that teacher retention should be the goal (Ingersoll, 2001; Stockard & Lehman, 2004; Van Dick & Wagner, 2001). In the field of education, discussing teacher attrition includes two groups of people. The first group is known as leavers. These are teachers who leave the field of education in order to pursue a different occupation often for a better opportunity, a less stressful environment (Billingsley, 2004) or better working conditions (U.S. Department of Education; NCES, 2007) . The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 25 percent of public teachers left the field of education to pursue other fields of interest. Additionally, more than 25 percent (combined) of public and private school teachers reported dissatisfaction with teaching as extremely or very important in their decision to leave the field (Marvel, Lyter, Peltola, et.al. 2006). Galand, Lecocq & Philippot, Philippot and Lecocq (2007) concluded in their study that a positive relationship existed between teachers leaving and school violence. Other studies (Kukla- Acavedo, 2009; Bon, Faircloth & LeTendre, 2006) have noted a relationship between teacher

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attrition or burnout and school violence. The other group is the movers. Movers are teachers who remain in the field of teaching but change schools or districts for reasons similar to leavers. The Teacher and Attrition Mobility survey (Marvel, Lyter, Peltola et al., 2006) reported that 54 percent (combined) of public and private school teachers rated dissatisfaction with workplace conditions as an “extremely” or “very important” reason for changing schools. Additionally, 64 percent (combined) rated dissatisfaction with administrative support as an “extremely” or “very important” reason to change schools. Although attrition rates are not that different from other occupations (Bureau of National Affairs, 2002; Harris & Adams, 2007), it can have more detrimental effects on the clientele, namely students, in the field of education than other professions may experience. In the field of education, students may end up with inadequate education or poor levels of achievement due to high levels of teacher turnover. This may lead to a lifetime of limited intellectual growth and development for students. A study investigating the differences between academic achievement and social development between students with higher teacher retention versus lower teacher retention would be interesting to investigate at another time. Barnes, Crowe & Shaefer (2007) conclude that costs associated with teacher replacement exceed more than $15,000 per teacher resulting in more than $5 billion dollars nationally in teacher attrition expenses. If school districts reduced this expense, more money could be spent on educational programs and student related expenses (i.e., funding for clubs, sports, music, etc.). Recently, several school districts in the Northeast have had to cut back on student programs due to lack of funding. As the Boston Foundation group on NCEN discussed, teacher retention programs cost less and retain more qualified teachers.

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Many assume that teachers are motivated to teach by money, healthcare benefits and other economic incentives. Yet the NCES (1997, 2006) statistics illustrate a different picture; indicating that salary and benefits have little effect on teacher satisfaction or retention. In fact, in the 2004-05 Teacher Attrition and Mobility Survey, 38 percent of teachers indicated the top reason they would transfer schools had nothing to do with financial motivation but rather for a better teaching assignment. The second highest response for teacher dissatisfaction with their current school (i.e., reason to transfer) was a lack of administrative support in which 37 percent of public teachers rated this as “very important” or “extremely important” in their decision to change schools (“movers”). Studies have pointed out the positive effect that school administration support plays in retaining teachers (Harris & Adams, 2007; Ingersoll, 2001; Van Dick & Wagner, 2001). What programs are in place in order to provide teachers this level of administrative support and are administrators aware of the impact they have on teacher retention? Teacher Turnover Models and Programs Several researchers suggest that the way to counteract teacher attrition is through teacher recruitment. However, this is in direct contrast by others (NECN, 2009; Marvel, Lytel, Peltola et al., 2006) who claim that retention is more important for reducing teacher turnover. A vicious cycle may appear with recruitment tactics since attrition is highest for newer teachers (less than three years experience). It appears that recruitment rather than proper retention of teachers may cover up the problem, not fix it. In the public corporate sector, companies typically employ a knowledge management and development program to retain employees as well as an exit interview for those who do leave. Yet, in the education arena, teachers and staff leave the profession (“leavers”) or transfer (“movers”) on a regular basis with no administrative policy in

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place to find out “why” they have left. In addition, schools generally have a poor and inconsistent model of retention programs. It is difficult to obtain official or standard retention programs that exist in many districts. Two basic theories of teacher turnover and attrition models that currently exist include an economic based model (Boe, Bobbitt, Cook, Whitener & Weber, 1997; Stinbrickner, 1998) and a model based on work conditions and school characteristics (Ingersoll, 2001; Stockard & Lehman, 2004). The economic models of teacher turnover and attrition focus on the theory that teachers are more apt to stay in their profession if provided enough economic incentive by means of salary, health benefits and other fiscally related enticements (i.e., tuition reimbursement, paid days off, etc.). However, as noted previously (Marvel, Lytel, Peltola et al, 2006; NCES, 2004), teachers are not primarily motivated by financial incentives to remain in their professions. Several researchers (Aarons, Sommerfeld, Hecht et al, 2009; Ingersoll, 2001; Kukla-Acevedo, 2009; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004) have shown that teachers are motivated by intangibles more so than economics. Job satisfaction, mentoring, school environment and empathic, supportive administration are all significant factors in retaining quality teachers. One of the most effective programs in teacher retention may be mentoring programs which pair a tenured teacher with a new teacher during their first year. Most of the mentoring programs are for new hires since they are most likely to leave compared to veteran teachers. Few (if any) programs appear to be in place for older teachers, veteran teachers or teachers experiencing stress due to violence in the school. There is little documentation on specific programs aimed at job satisfaction, administrative support or better school environments as they relate to teacher attrition. It is rare that a teacher is asked by an administrator or the human resource department about the teacher‟s

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job and whether the teacher is happy or needs help. Most teacher interface with administrators is typically in the form of either (semi) annual reviews, discipline, observations or to make sure no problems in the classroom have surfaced. Many schools have programs which target school environments; however those programs are mostly related to positive and pro-social behaviors of the students which help reduce school violence amongst students and increase moral traits and characteristics of the student body. In addition, many schools, as articulated by the School Survey on Crime and Safety survey (Neiman & DeVoe, 2009), report eight programs which help students, but none that emphasize helping teachers with school violence, stress, better classroom management or focus on teacher retention. Teacher in-service days are most often student focused by providing teachers effective means to increase student literacy and state scores for student testing. Several of the socialization models (Angelle, 2006; Brock & Grady, 2006; Dinham & Scott, 1999; Youngs, 2007) for teacher retention encompass the concepts of job satisfaction and administrative support. Yet few of the models center solely on the issue of workplace environment or the necessary programs to help administrators, teachers, counselors and staff cope on a personal or school level with school violence. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to examine an experiential construct (i.e., the teacher‟s perception of experiences) within the confines of school violence using a mixed methods approach with a primary focus on the quantitative data. The study examines how school violence affects teacher performance and attitudes as well as how school violence may affect teachers‟ thoughts on moving districts or leaving the profession entirely. The emotional and economic costs of school violence to educators, students and districts have not yet been fully

Full document contains 119 pages
Abstract: Schools maintain a steady rate of violent crimes nationally with more than 1.6 million violent acts occurring towards teachers over a four year period (NCES, 2007). Nearly 35 percent of teachers report that school violence affects their teaching (NCES, 2009). Concurrently, teacher attrition rates are steady across school districts nationwide at nearly twenty percent and cost taxpayers billions of dollars per year. This study explored teacher's perceptions of school violence and its influence on their teaching performance and attitudes towards others. In addition, it investigated whether teacher's perceptions of school violence had an effect on teacher's intentions on attrition. A representative sample of teachers from Southeastern Pennsylvania was selected at random to participate in an on-line self reported survey. Five teachers were then randomly selected for unstructured individual interviews. Results indicated that there is a relationship between perceptions of school violence with teacher's performance, attitudes and thoughts on moving or leaving the profession. Both interpersonal non-physical violence (INPV) and group crime violence (GCV) were positively associated with negative teacher performance as well as negative teacher attitudes. Additionally, interpersonal non-physical violence (INPV) was positively associated with intended teacher attrition as more than half the teachers reported that they might transfer schools due to school violence.