Saturday, March 30, 2013

Teachers Happy Despite Poor Work Environments

A recent article on reports that teachers have very high satisfaction rates in key areas when compared to other professions. Namely, their self-reported overall wellness is second only to physicians among 14 professions.

Unfortunately, teachers are unhappy with their workplace. Gallup reports:
Despite enjoying top marks in overall wellbeing, teachers rank toward the bottom (eighth out of 14) of the professions surveyed on one very important element of wellbeing: work environment. They rank sixth in saying their “supervisor treats me more like a partner than a boss.” And they are dead-last -- 14th, behind coal miners and truck drivers -- in saying their “supervisor always creates an environment that is trusting and open.” They are also dead-last in saying they were “treated with respect all day yesterday,” and experience the second-highest stress level across all occupations. 
This corresponds to what I've seen personally in schools and gathered from other research on the topic. It suggests that if we could correct the problems of schools being poor work environments, we would have a much easier time retaining talent in the teaching work force.

Wouldn't retaining good teachers go a long way in addressing an array of problems from poor student achievement to dropout rates? And if teachers don't like the work environment, what about students?

Gallup doesn't take this step in the article, but I think this survey is suggestive of the root causes of our education system's issues: poor school leadership, dysfunctional school culture, and bad curricula. 

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