One of the scariest portions of the study concluded that 29 percent of teachers expect to be out of the profession within 5 years -- up from 17 percent in 2009.
During this time of great fluctuation in education policy, we need teachers to be involved in the changes and feeling good about the direction their profession is heading. This survey indicates the opposite is happening.
Some have noted that recent events like the recent publication of student data by New York City and the higher and higher stakes being placed on these scores for teacher compensation have led to lower teacher morale.
Here's what the survey found:
While most (76%) teachers report that their school’s budget has decreased in the past 12 months, those with low job satisfaction are more likely than those with high job satisfaction to report this (81% vs. 70%). They are also more likely to report that there have been layoffs of classroom teachers (49% vs. 37%) or other school staff (66% vs. 49%) at their school, or that their school has reduced or eliminated arts or music programs (28% vs. 17%), afterschool programs (34% vs. 23%) or health or social services (31% vs. 23%). Teachers with low job satisfaction are also more likely to report that their school buildings and grounds have not been kept in clean or good condition (26% vs. 14%) or that educational technology and learning materials have not been kept up to date to meet student learning needs (39% vs. 28%).
In 2006, the survey found the following factors were significant in determining a teacher's level of job satisfaction:
At the same time as these reductions in resources, many teachers report an increase in student and family needs, and teachers who are not very satisfied with their job are even more likely to have experienced these changes. Teachers with low job satisfaction are more likely than those with high job satisfaction to report that there has been an increase in the number of students and families needing health and social support services (70% vs. 56%), in the number of students coming to school hungry (40% vs. 30%), and in the number of students leaving school during the year to go to another school (22% vs. 12%) in the past 12 months.
Again, involving teachers in the development of their profession will give them more job satisfaction and, therefore, a much greater opportunity to succeed. Rare is the successful professional who is dissatisfied with their job.
Teacher is not assigned to classes that s/he feels unqualified to teach.
Teacher feels that his/her salary is fair for the work done.
Teacher has enough time for planning and grading.
School does not have problems with threats to teachers or staff by students.
School does not have problems with disorderly student behavior.
Teacher is treated as a professional by the community.
Teacher has adequate involvement in team building and problem-solving.
Teacher has adequate ability to influence policies that affect him/her.
Teacher has adequate time for classroom instruction.
Teacher has adequate ability to influence student promotion or retention.
Teacher has adequate involvement in shaping the school curriculum.
Of the 11 most important factors in teacher job satisfaction, 10 are non-economic and are instead focused on empowering teachers to have a say in their career development and workplace.
Let's hope policymakers take note as they propose overhauling this profession.