A teacher’s working conditions can affect his or her performance, satisfaction, how long he or she stays at a particular school site, and how long he or she stays in the profession. In order to attract and retain highly qualified teachers, working conditions need to be as optimal as possible. As demands placed upon teachers continue to increase, more needs to be studied about what constitutes optimal working conditions. The purpose of this hermeneutic, phenomenological study was to investigate the working conditions and professional beliefs of eight Southern California secondary (6th-12th grade) school teachers who had two years of teaching experience in the same content area or grade level in both a public school and a district charter school, with at least five years of consecutive full-time teaching experience, to learn more about what constituted ideal working conditions for secondary teachers. More specifically, this study, via in-depth individual interviews, invited participants to (a) describe the work conditions they experienced in a traditional setting, (b) describe the work conditions they experienced in a charter setting, (c) compare the traditional and charter school work conditions that they experienced, and (d) describe what they believe to be the ideal school work conditions for secondary teachers. This study had three conclusions related to working conditions in both traditional public and district charter secondary school settings. The first was that teaching at the secondary level is professionally challenging, in all types of environments. The second was that teachers prefer a blend of traditional public and district charter school environments. The last was that teachers like to have autonomy with opportunities to collaborate and build relationships with colleagues.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; High school teachers -- Job satisfaction -- California, Southern; Charter schools -- California, Southern; Public schools -- California, Southern

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;