Murray State Theses and Dissertations


This study aimed to provide qualitative inquiry into the attrition rates of high school agriculture teachers in Tennessee. The supply does not equal the demand for high school agriculture teachers. The study investigated why teachers left the profession, their personal experiences while in the classroom, their feelings on preparedness, and identifiable trends among the participants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with former secondary agricultural educators taught in a high school agricultural classroom between 2014 and 2019. Objective one sought to describe the demographic characteristics of secondary agricultural teachers. Two themes were found: Teachers who enter the agricultural education profession right out of college did not stay in the job for longer than five years. Teachers with traditional and professional licensure did not feel prepared for the classroom. Objective two was created to identify the reasons teachers left the profession. Four themes developed as follows: Agricultural teachers left their careers because they wanted to spend more time with their family. Agricultural teachers left the job because they felt they had no support. Agricultural teachers left the profession because of the time demands from the occupation. Agricultural teachers left the career because of the personal health issues from stressful work environments. Objective three investigated the relationship between personal and professional characteristics and teachers leaving the classroom. Four themes developed as follows: An agricultural teachers’ love of agriculture and wanting to give back to the community is not enough to keep them in the profession. There is an impact on retention rates when having a veteran co-teacher in your agricultural program and high teacher turn over. Former teachers still feel very strongly about the future of agricultural education. The positive experiences while teaching is not enough to keep teachers in the classroom.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Dissertation Committee Chair

Brian Parr

Committee Member

Randal H Wilson

Committee Member

Teresa Clark

Document Type