Why Do They Leave ? Physical Education Teacher Attrition

Year: 1993

Author: Macdonald, Doune

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

As a paper, this piece represents a portion of a project which is seeking to understand the lives of beginning health and physical education (HPE) teachers in state and private secondary schools in Queensland1. The project's research process represents a journey into the joys, sorrows and bitter disappointments of 21 teachers who are frequently, and in many different ways, working in extremely testing circumstances. Goodson (1992) recognized that studying teachers' lives in context was an emergent and necessary field of inquiry. Through the brief sharing of these teachers' lives, I have come to better understand the myriad of profound difficulties that HPE teachers face: ridicule, unwelcomed personal and professional surveillance and control, role conflict, unchallenging work, and lack of support and sexual harassment from colleagues. While each difficulty requires a lengthy analysis, and these will be forthcoming, this paper shall use a broad brush to highlight the key dissatisfactions which have and will motivate beginning HPE teachers to leave the profession.