Clark, M. S., Kelsey, K. D., & Brown, N. R. (2014). The Thornless Rose: A Phenomenological Look at Decisions Career Teachers Make to Remain in the Profession. Journal of Agricultural Education, 55(3), 43-56. doi: 10.5032/jae.2014.03043



Attrition among the agricultural education profession is concerning as approximately 50% of agriculture teachers leave within the first six years of teaching. Therefore, the purpose of the phenomenological study, conducted from an emic perspective, was to explore and describe secondary agriculture teachers' experiences related to remaining in the profession past the point of retirement eligibility. Four themes emerged from the study: (a) Career teachers experienced a transformative shift in mid-career, leading to career sustainability; (b) Career teachers experienced an abundance of support from students, parents, administrators, and community; (c) Career teachers maintained a balance between work and personal life; and (d) Career teachers reduced their workload later in their careers to coincide with aging. The essence deduced from the data revealed that teachers balanced work, family, and community life, reduced known stressors, and found satisfaction that led to long-term engagement in the profession. The emergent metaphor of this phenomenon was the Thornless Rose and served as the structural framework for reporting the findings. The results of this study can serve as a transferrable means to help teachers remain in the profession.

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