Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(3), 246-261 Journal of


Copyright © 2019 Journal of Agricultural Education, a publication of the American Association for Agricultural Education. Used by permission.


Little data exists to examine the stigmatized phenomenon of program mobility within agricultural education. Our research starts the conversation through interviews with eight School-Based Agricultural Education (SBAE) teachers across the United States, using qualitative phenomenology, to provide a unique perspective of retention through migration. We define teacher migration as a program move while choosing to remain in SBAE. Utilizing the theoretical lens of expansive learning through activity systems (Engeström, 2009), we present teacher migration as a means to learn and grow in the craft of teaching within SBAE, particularly among teachers with more than eight years of experience. Although additional efforts are needed to quantify migration within SBAE, and to examine the common narrative, our research reveals program migration to be a relational issue. In our study, participants expressed community, opportunity to learn, and time as functions of support through a career transition. They identified resources and expectations as challenges faced in the migration process. Our research provides a starting place for conversations around teacher migration through a focus on the assets of experience, viewing migration as a means of retention rather than as a function toward attrition.