By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34163689
I live and breathe statistics, and so it is appropriate to begin with some astonishing, maybe not so astonishing, data results. There are a variety of factors that affect job satisfaction for teachers, and Karen Meyers Giacometti, in her dissertation, concluded that the best predictor for choosing to stay in the profession, or not, in the first three years of teaching was emotional factors such as anxiety, joy of teaching, confidence, making a difference in children’s lives, commitment, burn out, frustration, and stress. (2005) One of the least predictors of choosing to stay in the profession, or not, was instructional support such as professional development, mentoring program, and induction program. (2005) The latter result is corroborated by another study by Thomas Meager. (2011) If you ponder this, it makes some sense. In another study by the U.S. Department of Education, they surveyed public school teachers nationwide and determined that in different three school years since 2003, the percent of teachers that were “satisfied” in the job was around 91%. (Sparks, 2016) Interestingly, when they asked those same teachers about the perception of administrative support, among the teachers that agreed administration is supportive, 95% stated they are “satisfied”, but among the teachers that disagreed administration is supportive, 65% stated they were “satisfied.” (Sparks, 2016) The overall result of 91% seem inflated, but the reader is informed that the categories agree and somewhat agree is combined. The same is true about administrative support categories. (agree = agree and somewhat agree, disagree = disagree and somewhat disagree) But there is a significant difference in these percentages.
This brings me to what I think is the most influential factor to professional satisfaction, which Dave Burgess describes as Play Your Drum. (Kindle Ed.). He describes The Little Drummer Boy story and how the boy’s passion of playing the drum is the only gift he can afford to give. We all need to have that same passion for teaching and giving it our all to students. Our enthusiasm is sometimes the only positive component in a child’s life. The classroom should be a safe place for learning and engaging students.
It’s no surprise that professional development, mentoring program, and induction program has little effect on job satisfaction. These components are still important to develop and participate in as we learn more about the teaching profession, but they don’t have a chance compared to emotional factors. It was also not surprising that if teachers felt there was no administrative support in the eyes of a teacher, job satisfaction would decrease. Leadership is an important component in the educational arena, and administrators need to give and offer support to their staff in any way possible. If possible, provide that emotional support that affects teachers so much as to quit teaching altogether.
So what role does professional satisfaction play in the classroom? EVERYTHING.
Burgess, Dave. Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Meagher, Thomas. (2011). An Investigation of the Relationships of Teacher Professional Development, Teacher Job Satisfaction, and Teacher Working Conditions. Dissertations. Paper 68. Retrieved from http://ecommons.luc.edu/luc_diss/68
Meyers Giacometti, Karen S. (2005). Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction and Retention of Beginning Teachers. Dissertation at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. [PDF] Retrieved from https://theses.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-11152005-172907/unrestricted/final.pdf
Sparks, Dinah. (2016) Teacher Job Satisfaction. Data Point: U.S. Department of Education. [PDF]. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2016/2016131.pdf