Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Jennifer Putnam


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the motivational factors that have influenced South Carolina (SC) elementary self-contained special education teachers to remain in the profession beyond the 5-year mark, while despite having the same experiences, many others quickly leave the profession behind. Based on the theoretical framework of Ryan and Deci’s (2018) motivational theory of self-determination, this study sought to explore the lived experiences of 10 special education teachers. Data were collected through interviews, member-checked, coded, and analyzed for common themes. The results indicated that student growth and success; relationships with students, parents, and colleagues; collaboration and planning; and a mindset of perseverance were the top four reasons these teachers have persisted in the classroom. The goal of this study was to identify motivational factors that may assist in keeping special education teachers in the profession beyond the 5-year mark.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License