The role of the rural community in teacher commitment
The purpose of the study was to examine the problem of rural educator turnover through the lens of organizational commitment. The question asked in this study was: in what ways are rural British Columbian teachers' perceptions of their community related to their perceptions of their school organizations? It was hypothesised that long-term and successful rural teachers would tend to commit to their schools and their communities in conjunction, while those who are disenfranchised from their schools would also be disconnected from their communities. It was further hypothesised that committed teachers would integrate the community into their teaching practices and would tend to emphasize place-based pedagogies in their classrooms. The study used a mixed method approach to gather data via an anonymous online survey administered through hostedincanadasurveys.ca. In addition to gathering demographic data, the survey measured three types of community commitment along with school commitment using Likert type questions. Comments and long answer questions enabled the survey to elicit narratives regarding views on community-school links. The research was conducted between April 2017 and June 2017 with 55 rural educators from remote rural schools, spanning seven school districts within B.C. The data suggest that there is a correlation between participants’ normative community commitment and their commitment to their school organizations. Also, there is a link between participants’ affective and continuance community commitment and the number of years that they intend to remain in their jobs. A model is developed to differentiate between duty-oriented and retainment-oriented educators and to sort their varied opinions about community-school connections.