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Teacher Survey: It's Hard But We Love It

The Primary Sources: 2012 report reveals that working with kids and helping them grow drives job satisfaction for teachers.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

A remarkable nine in 10 teachers are satisfied with their jobs, according to Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on the Teaching Profession, a report released this month by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Of the teachers surveyed, 42 percent reported that they are “very satisfied “ and 47 percent said they are “satisfied” with their work. Elementary teachers reported slightly greater job satisfaction than high school teachers. But the reasons for job satisfaction were consistent, whatever grade level taught: the love of working with kids and the helping them learn.

Teachers also cited their own professional growth as an important contributor to job satisfaction. “I know I can be more effective and I strive every day to be more effective,” one teacher from Illinois said.

The reasons given by teachers who expressed dissatisfaction with teaching tell us much about the supports needed to keep people in the profession. The 11 percent of teachers who are not satisfied in their careers cited lack of support, lack of the resources needed to do their jobs well, salary concerns, and the desire for more autonomy and input in their schools as the primary obstacles.

Primary Sources: 2012 also revealed the need for more efforts to retain good teachers. Whether or not they currently expressed satisfaction or dissatisfaction with teaching, over 20 percent of teachers with ten or fewer years experience plan to leave the profession. As one elementary teacher noted, “It makes it hard to want to continue teaching, when teachers have so little input and support and yet the expectations are ever increasing.”

Margery Mayer, President of Scholastic Education, suggests that through Primary Sources: 2012 teachers make it clear what can be done to help them meet the many challenges they face in and out of the classroom as they strive to help children grow as learners.

“It comes down to this: Teachers want to be good at their jobs. They want to improve their craft, and they want to be great at helping kids learn," Mayer said. "The 10,000 teachers we surveyed told us that they want the support and the resources to do their jobs well, just like any professional would.”

Now in its fourth year, Primary Sources surveyed 10,000 educators from all 50 states to learn first-hand how teachers perceive their classrooms, their profession, and the future of education.

To download the full Primary Sources report, or take the survey, visit the Primary Sources website.

Teachers: Are you satisfied with your choice of teaching as a profession? Why or why not? In your opinion, what is needed to help keep great teachers in the profession? Join the conversation at Scholastic Teachers at Scholastic Teachers on Facebook!

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