Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 4-29-2017

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Julie M. McCann, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Sally Evans, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Trish Lichau, Ph.D.


lived experiences, school leadership, attrition, international schools, broken contract, power struggle, student behavior, trust, vision, communication, culture


The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain insight into the experiences of North American teachers working in international schools and why they chose to leave within the first year. The findings offer insights into the following questions; (1) How do these teachers experience relationships with leadership and students? (2) What role, if any, did their recruitment and induction have on these teachers’ decision to leave? (3) What role, if any, did the culture of the host country play in these teachers’ decision to leave? The struggles experienced from these conditions led teachers to abruptly leave their contracted international positions. The study took place in the Middle Eastern region and the population targeted were North Americans working in international schools within the Middle East. For the purposes of this study, the term North American referred to United States and Canadian citizens.

This qualitative study used a phenomenological design and allowed the researcher the opportunity to investigate and gather data through two open-ended interviews, which were recorded and transcribed. Data analyses involved coding to identify themes related to the research questions. The data collected during the interviews established five themes: lack of trust, power struggle, student behavior, lack of vision, and lack of communication the participants experienced while working at their international school. The participants reflected on their individual experiences and shared that they were able to develop personally from their experience. This phenomenological study had 10 participants, and their lived personal, professional, and cultural experience while teaching internationally could be beneficial to current and potential teachers and school leaders in international schools.

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