Now that I had received IRB approval to conduct the research study on Teacher Retention, I was ready to start recruiting participants from 10 Head Start preschools and 6 Early Head Start centers. This is going to be a lot of driving.
Although there are multiple research studies happening around the idea of Teacher Retention, it was extremely important to start recruiting the New Hire teachers immediately. The reasons for this were two-fold: First, the New Hire teachers research project was based on a longitudinal design, and therefore understanding their thoughts and feelings when the school year began was very important. Second, New Hire teachers were allegedly the teachers most likely to quit, so recruiting them for the study immediately became paramount.
After receiving a list of all of the New Hires, that is, those people who were hired for 2 years or less, I started driving to the different centers. Over the next two weeks (which were the second and third weeks of school), I traveled from center to center to recruit Head Start and Early Head Start teachers to participate in my study. Nearly all Early Head Start employees were eligible to participate in this study, since most of those positions had just been created over the past two years, but the Head Start employees were spread out pretty evenly amongst the centers, compared to how large their school was.
Driving was the easy part. The tedious part was getting the teacher away from the children for 10 minutes to go over the informed consent form (and emphasizing how the research was completely voluntary and wouldn’t affect their employment in any way) and seeing if they would like to participate or not. Nearly all new hire teachers agreed to participate, with their largest fear being that their boss would find out what they said (and that fear was quelled by the anonymous questionnaires). Nearly all new hires agreed to participate because they stated that they wanted their voice to be heard. So recruitment wasn’t difficult. This was great, because the study sample would be really limited if half of them agreed to participate.