BoardBuzz read this excellent article in Education Week on a nationwide study of teachers and their perspectives on the profession. The “Teaching for a Living“ study by Public Agenda and Learning Point identified three categories of teachers “Contented,” “Disheartened,” and “Idealists” and describes the differences between them.
But when BoardBuzz looked at the questions and results here, what stood out is a key similarity between Disheartened and Idealist teachers. Both Disheartened and Idealists were motivated to go into teaching by the idea of putting underprivileged kids on the path to success – 73 percent of Disheartened teachers said it was either the most important or a major factor in their decision and 78 percent of Idealists responded similarly. Only 56 percent of Contented teachers responded this way, by contrast.
if Idealists and Disheartened teachers are similarly motivated to begin with, what happens afterward to put them in such different places? We noticed that 77 percent of Idealists have been in the profession for 10 years or less, compared with only 21 percent of Disheartened teachers. Do Idealists become Disheartened over time? If so, what do respondents think will keep teachers motivated, effective and feeling valued? The respondents give us some clues:
- Career paths: Most respondents see teaching as a lifelong choice, but Idealists are more likely than others to see it as part of a career path in education.
- Classroom supervision by experienced teachers is viewed by all groups as an effective strategy for improving teacher effectiveness.
- Ensuring technology is available in each classroom to aid instruction is highly valued by all groups, but most highly by the Idealists (97%).
- Increasing teacher salaries to levels of other professional jobs such as lawyers or doctors need we say more?
There is lots of other interesting information in the study and more still to come. At least ten questions in the study are being held for later release, and BoardBuzz will let you know as soon as we do.
Do you see evidence of the three categories of teachers in your school district (Contented, Disheartened, and Idealist)? What are some strategies to assure that all children have access to effective teaching?