Teacher turnover and preschooler externalizing behaviors in low-income early childhood educational settings
Research has demonstrated that high levels of teacher turnover are correlated with poorer student outcomes, including lower levels of educational quality, poorer academic outcomes, greater difficulties with emotion regulation, and greater externalizing behaviors. However, the research on teacher turnover in early childhood educational settings is limited. Furthermore, the conceptualization of teacher turnover in preschool settings has been fairly limited, not typically including alternative types of teacher-child relationship disruptions, such as teachers moving to another classroom within the same preschool. The current study added to the area of early childhood research by longitudinally examining the relationship between teacher ratings of work environment, teacher turnover, and preschool externalizing behaviors in a sample of low-income preschoolers (N = 2172) and their teachers (N = 126). Results indicated relatively low levels of teacher turnover in the current sample (5 %). This is likely explained by teacher demographics (e.g., education and years teaching), school factors (e.g., positive work environments), and preschooler behavior (e.g., low levels of externalizing behaviors). These findings suggest that future research should examine ways to manipulate teaching environments and increase supports for teachers in preschool settings in an effort to increase teachers’ decisions to remain in the teaching profession and thus positively impact preschooler functioning.