Date of Award

8-2006

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Dianne Hoff

Second Committee Member

Phyllis Brazee

Third Committee Member

Sarah Mackenzie

Additional Committee Members

Anne Pooler

Phillip A. Pratt

Abstract

Educators face the ever-increasing demands of federal and state mandates. Retaining teachers may be increasingly difficult as work becomes progressively more stressful and unfulfilling. The degree to which teachers feel supported by and connected to their administrators is likely to influence their overall teacher job satisfaction.

This study examined the relationships Maine public school teachers in K-12 teaching positions had with their principals and how this relationship affected their job satisfaction. In addition, the research examined the types of relationships teachers and principals developed within the school organization and whether these relationships differed by gender of the teacher, gender congruence with the principal, experience in the position, level of teaching assignment, and years until retirement.

Teachers in Maine who were participating in summer courses at three University of Maine campuses during the summer of 2005 were surveyed, resulting in 364 participants. Teachers responded to 11 survey questions to allow the researcher to assess current relationship with the principal and gain information about their satisfaction.

The findings demonstrated that the teacher/principal relationship accounted for 12% of the variance in a teacher’s overall job satisfaction score after controlling for other variables in this study: that teachers with a more “Personal/Professional” relationship with the principal tended to have greater job satisfaction; that male teachers were the less satisfied group regardless of the principal’s gender; that male principals were more likely to operate from a more “Strictly/Professional relationship type; and that female principals were more likely to develop “Personal/Professional” relationships with teachers. This study supports the belief that the teacher/principal relationship has an impact on a teacher’s overall job satisfaction, but other factors, such as gender differences, also affect relationships. The findings suggest principals may face a tension between the hierarchical structure in which they find themselves and the more contemporary view of “people-centered” leadership. Further, the data make clear one relationship type does not meet the needs of all teachers. Effective leaders, therefore, must use more teacher-centered relationship models, in which the focus is on the needs and development of teachers, rather than on the style that is most comfortable for the principal.

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