For 29 years the insurance company MetLife has been surveying teachers across America to identify challenges involved in public school education. In the fall of 2012, one thousand K-12 public school teachers (with an average of 15 years of experience) and 500 principals participated in the survey. Data from the latest survey was published in February of this year. It may not come as a surprise that teachers are concerned about decreased budgets, meeting the needs of diverse learners, and engaging parents and the community in the education of children.
Here are some highlights from the report:
- A majority (56%) of teachers report that their school budgets have decreased in the past year. The 2011 survey found that three-quarters (76%) of teachers said that they work at schools where the budget had decreased during the past 12 months. Although fewer teachers reported budget decreases than in the previous year, school budgets do not appear to be recovering from the economic declines of recent years.
- Of course, less money means fewer resources. Fifty percent of surveyed teachers also identified the lack of available professional development opportunities as a significant concern, no doubt related to a decrease in funding for such opportunities. Data from the report also indicated that there seems to be a relationship between career satisfaction and professional development opportunities.
- Budget decreases were also associated with lower morale and greater stress among teachers. Forty-eight percent of teachers at schools where the budget has decreased within the past year were less likely than teachers at other schools to be very satisfied with their profession. In addition, they were more likely to report greater levels of job related stress.
Meeting the Individual Needs of Diverse Learners
- Seventy-eight percent of teachers identified the responsibility to address the individual needs of diverse learners as challenging or very challenging. When asked what would help them most in addressing this concern, majorities of teachers consistently said having other teachers available to help would be most beneficial for students.
- Maintaining an adequate number of teachers is, of course, related to budgetary considerations as well. Fifty-two percent of teachers cite this as being a significant challenge. This is especially the case for teachers in high-needs schools.
Teacher Job Satisfaction
- Only 39% of teachers surveyed reported being very satisfied with their jobs. This is the lowest level of teacher satisfaction in 25 years. In the history of the survey, there has only been one year that teacher satisfaction has been lower (in 1986, only 33% of surveyed teachers reported being very satisfied with their jobs).
- Over half of teachers reported feeling great stress several days a week. In 1985, (what was up with the 80’s?) only 36% of teachers reported such high levels of stress. Elementary school teachers reported experiencing stress more frequently than middle school or high school teachers (59% vs. 44% vs. 42%).
- Less satisfied teachers are more likely than very satisfied teachers to be in schools where budgets declined in the last 12 months.
- Less satisfied teachers are more likely to work in schools that had declines in professional development opportunities and in time for collaboration with other teachers in the last 12 months.
- Mid-career teachers (between 6 and 20 years of experience) are most likely to experience low levels of job satisfaction.
This may all seem dismal but keep in mind that the purpose of this report is to identify challenges that teachers experience in the public school system. Even so, if you are like me, results from this survey leave you wondering why teachers keep teaching.
The Polly Anna in me would love to see results from a survey that is designed to specifically identify positive aspects of what teachers and principals experience on the front lines. In the meantime, you can find the MetLife report here.
Many administrators have noted that Reading Horizons training and reading curriculum have improved teacher morale and engagement in their districts.
"Reading Horizons has given our teachers a fresh perspective on the teaching of reading. Teacher morale has improved due to the success they are seeing in their students’ reading gains.”
- CHERE’ FETTER, Director of Instructional Services | Haleyville City Schools, AL
Delbert Mark Dyar said
Thank you for sharing the results of the survey. The results are not surprising to any educator who has recent experience in most public school settings. I was a bit surprised that technology was not identified as a challenge or concern for teachers. The rapidly changing technology available to students and teachers and the challenge for teachers to meet the student's desire to utilize technology in their learning is very significant..
Mohammad Shafiq Khan said
This is the biggest challenge to teachers/educators of physical sciences & philosophy. The very paradigm of physical sciences has been shown to be incorrect as theories of relativity have been mathematically, theoretically & experimentally proved as baseless and openly challenged on the basis of published scientific articles. Following is the open challenge which everyone could see at http://www.worldsci.org/php/index.php?tab0=Abstracts&tab1=Display&id=6476&tab=2 and http://www.gsjournal.net/Science-Journals/Essays/View/4018 .
The article 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies' by Albert Einstein is based on trickeries is proved beyond any doubt whatsoever in the articles (1). Experimental & Theoretical Evidences of Fallacy of Space-time Concept and Actual State of Existence of the Physical Universe published in the peer-reviewed journal namely Indian Journal of Science & Technology (March 2012 issue) available on www.indjst.org (2) On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies By Albert Einstein is Based on Trickeries (Open letter to Professors, Teachers, Researchers and Students of Physics) published in peer-reviewed journal Elixir Online Journal (February 2012 issue) available on www.elixirjournal.org. The Voigt transformation was simply a mathematical possibility which was changed by Lorentz by introducing the Lorentz factor but the Lorentz factor is simply a manipulation. Thus nature and forces in nature were trivialized and made subservient to mathematics in the theories of relativity, Big Bang Theory, Space-time concept and in all physical sciences which are directly or indirectly based on the 'On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies'. It is unfortunate for humanity that exposing these trickeries took more than one hundred years.
I openly challenge all the professors, researchers & teachers of physics/philosophy of physics to come forward & show me where I am wrong or else they have to accept that they are teaching incorrect physics based on trickeries.
My challenge may not be treated as a publicity stunt, but I sincerely wish that truth should prevail on this planet and am expecting identical response from all truth loving people/intellectuals. I do understand that it is hard for mainstream physicists to reconcile with the alternative philosophy; though actual and factual; as almost all the living physicists and researchers are borne, brought up and taught physics which is fundamentally incorrect. Their livelihood is based on the physics which has been adopted as the result of fraud, but these material interests should never be a stumbling block to acknowledge the reality, which to my understanding is the essence of scientific thinking and honest living for the betterment of entire human society.
I have not an iota of doubt that sooner or later the truth will prevail, but it would be in the interest of humanity that truth is accepted now so that humanity comes out of clutches of materialism which in itself is naked atheism.
Mohammad Shafiq Khan
I would like to keep you informed that the open challenge has been sent to almost all professors of physics & universities of the world and so far two retired professors of physics namely Jeremy Dunning-Davies of Hull University & Brian Cole of Columbia University accepted the challenge but both of them finally failed to show a single error in the articles on the basis of which open challenge has been put forward. In this regard exchange of articles between me & Jeremy is available on vixra, General Science Journal & Elixir Online Journal.
AGNES NANGAKA NAKHUMICHA said
thank you for the information. these challenges are the major ones that teachers face in their professions, it is faced in every country across the world