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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
How Do Teachers Feel About Their Jobs?
By Cynthia Nagrath 03-Jun-15
Burned-out, stressed-out, under-appreciated, pressed for time, micro-managed, under- paid -- all common complaints heard frequently about teachers these days, but is this leading to unhappy teachers? Apparently not. According to a recent survey, the vast majority of teachers – (nearly 9 out of 10) said they were satisfied with their jobs and more than two-thirds (68%) said they would actually recommend the profession to others. This is according to an online Harris Poll from the University of Phoenix released in May, which surveyed 1,002 K-12 teachers across the U.S. to explore how they feel about their chosen profession. The survey asked teachers what can be done to attract high quality teachers to the field, and what factors they find most satisfying and discouraging about their jobs. What’s Good? Being able to have a significant effect on the lives of their students was sited as the most rewarding aspect of their work. The second most valued aspect of teaching is the lifelong learning opportunities that teaching allows. Teachers who devote themselves to their students’ learning also appreciate the opportunities to continue their education as well. The variety that comes along with teaching was sited as the third most popular aspect of the job. Teachers are active professionals on the go and seem to enjoy the fact that no two days are exactly the same. What’s Bad? The most frustrating aspects of teaching, that respondents identified were dealing with policies that were created by non-teachers, too much emphasis on standardized testing and a lack of respect among students, according to the survey. Below are highlights of the survey’s top findings: Top 3 Reasons for Teacher Job Satisfaction? 1. The effect they have on students' lives -- 68 % 2. Lifelong learning opportunities – 43% 3. Variety offered by the job – 41% Top 3 Reasons for Teacher Dissatisfaction 1. Policies created by non-teachers – 78% 2. Focus on standardized testing as a challenge of the profession – 67% 3. Lack of appreciation and respect for authority from students -- 60%. Teachers’ Recommendations for Improvement Teachers have identified several areas that would improve teacher happiness and retention rates: • Tuition reimbursements • Mentorship opportunities • More relevant professional development • Better teacher preparation Teachers Inspired by Teachers Despite the frustrations, teaching is an inspiring profession and according to the survey nearly half (47%) of K-12 teachers were inspired to join the profession by a teacher they had when they were students. The significance of this last statistic, according to Pamela Roggeman, Ed.D., Academic Dean for the University of Phoenix College of Education, underscores “The fact that so many educators were inspired by their own teachers to pursue the profession is an indication of the lifelong influence teachers have on their students.” Source: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between April 14 and 27, 2015. Respondents included 1,002 U.S. residents employed full-time as teachers in grades K-12 who have at least an undergraduate degree.
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