School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Gail Collins


Job Satisfaction, Special Education Teachers, Teacher Attrition, Teacher Retention, Theory of Planned Behavior, Transcendental Phenomenology


Education | Educational Leadership


This transcendental phenomenological study aimed to understand the experiences influencing veteran high school special education teachers in an urban setting to remain in the teaching profession. The central phenomenon under investigation was defined as the events and incidents that influence the decision-making process of special education high school teachers who remain in the special education profession for more than 4 years. The study’s central research question asked, How do high school special education teachers with more than 4 years of service describe their teaching experiences that influence their decision to remain in special education? The study used a qualitative phenomenological research design with purposeful sampling to identify 10 participants. The setting for the study was a large urban school district in the southeastern United States. The data were collected through interviews, one focus group, and a participant journal. The findings of this study illustrated that the principal motivator found was the passion for helping students and seeing their growth. Secondly, teachers often attributed their prior experience working in institutions with individuals with disabilities to their decision to enter the field of teaching special education students. Additionally, teachers recommended different strategies that can be used by the schools and districts to create a supportive environment for special education teachers. Lastly, strong social support helped them to navigate and stay in this field.