Education and Learning News from 4imprint
Dedicated teachers will all agree that teaching is more of a vocation than a job, with the challenges they face ultimately helping to make it so rewarding. It’s therefore great to see that teachers around the world are largely happy in their work, as evidenced in a study in 2014 by the OECD. But what specifically is driving these healthy job satisfaction levels and is there anything heads and teachers alike could do to boost staff happiness in their school? The answer is quite simple – help teachers feel empowered.

The OECD study revealed that 91% of teachers feel satisfied with their job, while 93% are happy with how well their school is doing. Meanwhile, 90% said they enjoy working at their current school and 84% would recommend it as a good place to work. But the work of a teacher does not just happen in a classroom and they must work alongside their colleagues as well as with their pupils. Therefore, allowing them to do so in a meaningful and positive way could be the key to ensuring teacher happiness and satisfaction. The research clearly stated that involvement in decision making and teacher collaboration are closely associated with higher job satisfaction. So what can schools do to make this happen?

Allocate collaboration time
While many teachers might want to collaborate with their peers more closely, they might feel unable to do so because of other constraints on their time. It’s therefore worth making sure a set period of time is put aside, perhaps weekly or monthly, for initiatives that involve working in partnership with their colleagues. Training and professional development days and regular staff meetings after class are two options, but there are other approaches worth considering too. Foreign language teachers could, for example, collaborate to organise a school trip abroad and / or foreign exchange students. Teachers could also collaborate on extra-curricular activities such as afterschool clubs and sports teams. Collaboration could even occur with other schools on certain activities.

Create culture of transparency
Teachers no longer see their role as simply being to manage the behaviour of kids and teach them to pass exams. They have the professional knowledge and skills to influence many aspects of how schools are run and contribute in varied and positive ways. Teachers could, for example, be empowered to produce different aspects of the annual budget – in conjunction with the Head, Governors and Local Authority. Alternatively, it may be possible to establish different committees to gauge teacher feedback on issues like pastoral care, exam results or changes in government regulation.

By being transparent, members of staff can make informed contributions to the debate. Since they also have frontline experience of life in the trenches, as it were, they can command the confidence of other teachers and have credible and realistic ideas of what is achievable. A more collaborative environment is good for children and teachers alike – and could be the key to encouraging top talent to stay in your school.

 

Further Reading
Education at a Glance 2014, OECD Indicators OECD