Nice Work If You Can Get it
Here’s something you might not have sensed at your last staff-development meeting: According to an annual survey released last week by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, teacher job satisfaction is at a 20-year high. Specifically, “The Metlife Survey of the American Teacher: Expectations and Experiences” reports that 56 percent of 1,001 teachers surveyed this year said they are “very satisfied” with their careers, compared to just 40 percent in 1984. The finding comes as something of a surprise, considering reports in recent years citing teachers’ frustration with--among other things--mandated testing and lack of autonomy. Perhaps less surprisingly, the MetLife survey found that teachers’ job satisfaction is closely tied to their sense of professional standing. Teachers who reported being dissatisfied were more than twice as likely to say they feel their communities don’t treat them as professionals. The survey also reports—somewhat contradictorily—that one-quarter of the teachers polled plan to leave the profession within five years. Among the top reasons: unmet professional expectations (e.g., salary and benefits), lack of preparation, and lack of support from colleagues and principals.