I think that most people would agree that people who feel professionally satisfied are more effective and happier teachers. I am sure that every one of us can name at least one teacher who is not happy and seems to have a “bad attitude” about teaching, students, administration or the school system in general. As Burgess (2012) wrote, “Our profession has a notoriously high burnout rate. Unless you find something big to care about, you won’t make it. Seeking greatness, on the other hand, is a journey that can ignite, stoke, and continuously fuel a raging inferno.” I believe that the teachers who are unhappy didn’t start out teaching with a bad attitude. I do not want to become one of “those” teachers and I am determined not to be one. I can also name teachers who have been teaching for many years and still have that spark, you know, that feeling that what they are doing is making a difference despite whatever obstacles are put in their path. The teachers who every one wants their child placed in their classroom. The teachers who you know are “great”.
The question is… are the teachers who are unsatisfied less effective in the classroom? I would assume so based on what I’ve heard from dissatisfied teachers, which is mainly that they do not care anymore. For me it is pretty simple, it is hard to be effective if you don’t care about being effective. I found an article that stated, “A recent research paper from The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education examines how working conditions predict teachers’ job satisfaction and career plans. The study found that working conditions were the most important factor in teacher satisfaction. The study found that the three most important elements for teacher satisfaction are 1. Collegial relationships, or the extent to which teachers report having productive working relationships with their colleagues; 2. The principal’s leadership, or the extent to which teachers report that their school leaders are supportive and create school environments conducive to learning; and 3. School culture, or the extent to which school environments are characterized by mutual trust, respect, openness, and commitment to student achievement” (Armstrong, 2012). Working conditions do play an important part in teacher satisfaction. It is hard to feel satisfied when you don’t feel heard or valued because it demoralizes you. I can see where it would be very difficult for the teachers with the “bad attitudes” to turn it around if they constantly feel like that what they say and how they feel is not important. Further, Metlife conducted a Survey of the American Teacher each year from 1984 through 2012. An article by the National Education Association (2013) stated, “Teacher job satisfaction has plummeted to its lowest level in 25 years, from 62 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012 — a total of 23 points, according to the annual Metlife Survey of the American Teacher, released today. Teachers reporting low levels of job satisfaction were more likely to be working in schools with shrinking budgets, few professional development opportunities, and little time allotted for teacher collaboration.” I know that our school district budget has been cut significantly. We don’t have the funds that we had a few years ago and from what I heard there weren’t enough funds then either. I may not have a job next year, but I try not to focus or worry about that possibility. Instead, I try to focus on the “now” and my students.
Armstrong, A. (2012, May). The Leading Teacher: Build higher levels of job satisfaction. Retrieved September 10, 2015, from Learning Forward: http://learningforward.org/docs/leading-teacher/may12_lead.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Burgess, D. (2012). Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator. San Diego: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.
National Education Association. (2013, February 21). NEA president says MetLife Survey of the American Teacher results should be a wake-up call. Retrieved September 11, 2015, from National Education Association: http://www.nea.org/home/54576.htm