Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




College of Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Anthony Setari

Second Advisor

Amanda Darden

Third Advisor

Austin Hitt


There is a nationwide shortage of qualified teachers, with 90% of all teacher shortages caused by teacher attrition (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond, 2019). This study surveyed public school K-12 teachers in South Carolina to gain an understanding of workplace factors that contribute to teacher intentions to quit/ teacher attrition. The current design measures teacher stress perceptions of workplace factors as the relational theoretical lens to determine teacher intention to leave or likelihood of attrition. The results of a study suggest that student stressors and workload are the most important factors in teacher attrition. A qualitative analysis of student stressors found that student behavior was closely tied to administrator support, student motivation, and technology. COVID-19 has had a significant influence on student motivation, leading to behavioral and academic concerns. 84% of teachers and administrators reported lower morale levels than prior to COVID-19, in large part due to decreased student engagement, adding that they are more likely to leave teaching or retire early since working during the pandemic (Rosenberg & Anderson, 2021). Inconsistency of administrative discipline policies can also lead to increased teacher stress. Excessive workload is leading to emotional exhaustion and desire to leave the profession (Toropova et al., 2020). This study found workload is the second most stressful daily challenge often leading to mental exhaustion and anxiety. School leaders must recognize the importance of teachers’ professional and personal wellbeing on job satisfaction to prevent burnout, resignations, and early retirement (Van der Vyver et al., 2020).