When I dropped off the second round of questionnaires at the Head Start and Early Head Start preschools, I learned that a few teachers had quit the agency. I had a bittersweet feeling overtake me: on one hand, it was sad that some of the teachers I had grown to like were gone (and unfortunately, we never know when people leave the company, so you never get to say a proper goodbye), but on the other hand, I need maybe a third to half of the employees in my data set to quit at some point during the year, so that I can compare those who stay vs those who leave to see if there are any differences; so it’s a necessary evil for Teacher Retention research.
However, the truly unfortunate side effect, and something to take into consideration for future studies is this: when I went to pick up the second round of questionnaires, about a week to three weeks after they were disseminated, I sadly learned that some more teachers had quit. This was upsetting, not because they had left (although that is always sad), but from a research perspective, this was particularly sad because I hadn’t received their latest thoughts on the company and why they might be leaving. Therefore, a problem with dropping off questionnaires for preschool teachers to fill out on their own time comes with the issue of them leaving before you receive their data.
I learned by talking with some of the teachers that a few of them had planned to quit over Winter Break. I encouraged them to please fill out the questionnaire, if they still wanted to participate voluntarily of course, because then I would know how they were feeling a week (prior to break) before they quit, giving me accurate data to some of my questions.