Continuing to the end : a narrative inquiry into the lives of retired principals of faith-based elementary schools in the Philippines
Susada, Isabelo Villa
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Public and private school systems lack qualified principals. Numerous research studies have shown the causes behind school principals’ leaving. Notwithstanding, few research studies have been done to determine why principals continue in their positions. This narrative inquiry study explored the life and career journey of 6 Adventist elementary school principals who remained in the position until retirement. Further, it aimed to identify the factors that influenced principal retention. This study was anchored on resiliency theory, spiritual leadership theory, and job embeddedness theory. The participants shared their stories and experiences through narrative interviewing using McAdams’s life story interview framework, aesthetic portrayals, and pertinent documents. As the researcher, I did a restorying of the participants’ narratives, following a chronological frame. Then I analyzed the data using the thematic analysis of Braun and Clark (2006). Among the reasons principals in Adventist elementary schools stay until retirement are spiritual maturity, vocational commitment, service opportunity, passion for students, and community engagement. One of the most important contributions of this study is the development of the principal retention model. The model has the following components: retired faith-based school principals’ formative experiences, reasons why they remain in the principalship until retirement, and the strategies they used to overcome challenges in the principalship. Drawing from the findings, I recommend that further research using a quantitative approach be conducted to help verify the accuracy of the principal retention model and in measuring the incidence of different factors that influence retention.