Teacher satisfaction needs clarification

Teachers in this country are satisfied with their jobs, according to the Teaching and Learning International Survey (“Teachers Around the World Say They’re Satisfied With Their Jobs,” Education Week, Jun. 19).  The only exception pertains to salaries that they say are too low.

Yet I say there is more to the issue.  I don’t believe the high teacher turnover can be attributed solely to salaries.  Teachers are faced with unprecedented demands that slowly undermine their morale.  Pressure to boost standardized test scores, meet the needs of multicultural students and practice triage for impoverished students eventually cause them to quit.

If teaching were such a plum, then why don’t the best and the brightest college graduates make the classroom a lifetime career?  Long summer vacations, guaranteed pensions and generous health benefits are not enough.

The latest evidence supporting this view is a study of teachers in the New York City system, the largest in the nation.  An appalling 41 percent quit the classroom in the first five years.  Something else besides salaries is going on because teachers in New York City are well paid and their pensions are totally free of state taxes.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

2 Replies to “Teacher satisfaction needs clarification”

  1. Something wrong with this study — at least with the “satisfied-with-job responses. It’s extremely unlikely that 90% of any profession are satisfied with their job — more generally, it’s virtually unheard of in polling to get a 90% YES response to any question, that’s just contrary to human nature. Wonder if the study respondents believed (rightly or wrongly) that their employer could access their study responses?

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  2. Labor Lawyer: I agree, especially in light of the situation in New York City, the home of the largest school district in the nation. The high turnover rate there indicates that teachers are overwhelmed even though they are paid well and their pensions are totally free of state income taxes.

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