Why do they stay? : an analysis of factors influencing retention of international school teachers : a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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The purpose of this study was to examine factors affecting international teachers’ decisions to stay in or leave their international schools. The research questions for the study answered what individual characteristics of teachers impacted retention, how cultural distance, length of time it took to settle in, and school support affected retention, and what guided teachers to remain in their locations. The participants were 100 international teachers in ten schools across four countries. The teachers ranged from younger to older and from newly experienced to more seasoned international teachers who had been working in international schools for a long period of time. The researcher interviewed each teacher personally and used a grounded theory approach to the collection and analysis of data, coding data into themes related to the research questions. The results of the analysis suggested that the most important reasons for staying in an international school were for personal reasons, including for partners or family, age, quality of life, right ‘fit’, and level of happiness. The second most important reasons for staying in a job included professional reasons such as for the school’s philosophy, vision, administration, and for professional opportunities within the school. The third most important reason for remaining in a job was for the salary and benefits. International teachers who made an effort to get involved in their locations seemed to adjust better. The extent to which international adaptations were positive or negative varied depending on the country. The value of the present study was that the interviews gave a personal insight into the experiences of these teachers, the challenges they faced in working and adapting to new cultures, languages, and in different school settings around the world, and how these experiences impacted retention in international schools.
Employee retention, International schools, Employees, Teachers, Foreign