Clemons, C., Hall, M., & Lindner, J. (2021). What is the real cost of professional success? A qualitative analysis of work and life balance in agriscience education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(1), 95-113. http://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.01095
The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate United States secondary agriscience teachers’ perceptions and attitudes of balancing personal and professional responsibilities. While many
researchers are asking educators why they have or would leave the profession others have suggested
a more forward-looking approach to why teachers remain in the profession. The theoretical framework for this study was structured in Self-Determination Theory and framed in Attrition Theory. This study addressed two research questions: what are your perceptions of overcoming professional challenges
in your career, and how do you evaluate and address your personal wellbeing as an agriscience teacher. Five semi-structured research questions were prepared prior to the telephone interviews. The frame for this study consisted of six women and ten men in 14 states. Independent analysis of participant
comments were organized into 19 categories using 318 coded objects. Three emergent themes were developed and included secondary agriscience teacher contributions to the student learning
environment, secondary agriscience teacher resilience confronting conflicting experiences between
personal and professional responsibilities, and professional motivation and validation of individual
self-worth. The findings of this paper identified a connection between professional success through
intrinsic motivation affected teacher’s personal life and feelings of contentment and happiness.
Findings also revealed student success in programs, academic student success in local, state, and the national FFA organization were influential as extrinsic motivators to drive intrinsic happiness.