Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kay A. Keiser


Teacher dignity has been a topic of discussion among teachers and in society since the inception of schools in the United States. Yet even as the word "dignity" is referenced by educators, administrators, and community members, the term lacks clarity in understanding. As schools and society seek to understand the problem of the retainment and recruitment of qualified teachers in the United States, this study provides a lens to look at patterns over time that represent the perspectives of teachers concerning their dignity.

This study focused on the semantic use of teacher dignity from the inception of schools in the United States. The study used a constructivist lens coupled with historical materialism to decipher patterns among sources on education. Keyword analysis was used to select texts for the study. The Attride-Stirling method is used to decipher themes among disparate sources that are organized by decade. Finally, a theme-based matrix was developed to help define the concept of teacher dignity. In this study, teacher dignity in the United States becomes situated within three organizing themes: the dignity of work (defined according to hygiene factors), teacher professionalism, and the character traits of teachers. The study of teacher dignity in the United States provided an example of how word use changes over time and how it can be used to understand the condition of dignity in schools for teachers.


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