Teachers ‘happier despite falling job satisfaction’

New research also highlights rising anxiety among school senior leaders, citing ‘policy and accountability demands’
6th January 2020, 12:10pm

Share

Teachers ‘happier despite falling job satisfaction’

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/teachers-happier-despite-falling-job-satisfaction
Teacher Wellbeing: Teachers Are Happy Compared With Other Professionals - & It's Wrong To Say That They Have Worse Mental Health, According To New Research

Teachers are happier despite being less satisfied with their jobs, a new analysis suggests.

Educators’ wellbeing has improved over the past seven years, while their job satisfaction has declined, a report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) finds.

According to the report, the average teacher in a mainstream school is happier, more satisfied with life and finds life more worthwhile than the average graduate.

The findings come as the profession faces a recruitment and retention crisis and amid warnings over the  “dire” state of teacher wellbeing.


Teacher recruitment: Is new teaching TV advert honest about job’s demands?

Related: Return-to-work blues? Become a teacher, says charity

News: Teacher trainee demand drops for first time since 2016-17


Today’s EPI report shows that occupational wellbeing is falling, even as personal wellbeing is improving. According to the analysis, this indicates that “the majority [of teachers] find their work as demanding as it is rewarding”.

The findings could also show that “only the most resilient and optimistic people are staying in the profession”, the report says.

Teacher wellbeing fears

Senior leaders working in schools have “markedly” higher anxiety levels on average, compared with all other graduates, according to the analysis.

While anxiety levels decreased between 2011-2015 for almost every group of teachers, they increased among senior leaders even as positive wellbeing has remained high.

The report states: “This is a trend for which changing policy and accountability demands could be a plausible explanation if they are placing a greater burden on school leaders.”

Secondary teachers report lower levels of happiness, life satisfaction and worthwhileness than primary and early years teachers, despite having lower levels of anxiety.

The report says: “There remains a puzzle in the divergence between teachers’ personal and occupational wellbeing.

“The trends we report do not track individual teachers, so it may be that part of the explanation is due to changes in the sort of person who chooses to remain in education, rather than changes in the wellbeing of individual teachers. 

“If, for example, only the most resilient and optimistic people stay in the profession as job satisfaction falls, average wellbeing across teachers may still rise over time as occupational wellbeing declines. However, that is only one possible explanation among many and more research is required to truly understand what is happening to the teaching profession today.”

The research also found that the profession is “generally faring better than the wider graduate population” and the status of teaching among the public has also improved in recent years, “contrary to teachers’ perception”.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of heads’ union the NAHT, said: “Everyone knows that on a good day teaching is one of the most rewarding careers imaginable. However, for many teachers and school leaders, the enormous privilege of helping young people learn and grow can be outweighed by the pressure and workload of the profession they’ve chosen.”

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

This is 0 of 1

Now only £1 a month for 3 months

Subscribe for just £1 per month for the next 3 months to get unlimited access to all Tes magazine content. Or register to get 2 articles free per month.

Already registered? Log in

This is 0 of 1

Now only £1 a month for 3 months

Subscribe for just £1 per month for the next 3 months to get unlimited access to all Tes magazine content.