Despite recent headlines, “teacher misery is not uniform across school sectors in America,” writes Mike McShane for Forbes.
A new national poll by Morning Consult and Ed Choice reveals that there are, in fact, places where teachers are thriving.
Teachers were asked, “How do you generally feel about your life on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means you feel like you are suffering to a high degree and 10 means you are thriving to a high degree?”
Overall, 50 percent of teacher respondents said that they are thriving, with 48 percent neutral. But when responses are disaggregated, teachers in traditional public schools are driving much of the negative sentiment — only 41 percent said they are thriving. Compare that to charter school teachers, where 66 percent said they are thriving, and private school teachers at 69 percent.
“How do you generally feel about your life on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means you feel like you are suffering to a high degree and 10 means you are thriving to a high degree?”
Surveyed teachers also answered to what degree their school contributes to their personal happiness. For all teachers, 78 percent responded “a lot” or “a little,” with 17 percent saying their school hurt their happiness “a little” or a “a lot.” But again, when responses are disaggregated, 72 percent of traditional public school teachers feel their school contributes to their happiness over hurting it compared to 90 percent of private school teachers and 94 percent of charter school teachers.
“To what degree does your school contribute to your personal happiness?”
Much is asked of our educators today, and “the quality of our education system rises and falls on the talent it is able to recruit into the classroom,” continues McShane. Because a “mass exodus from the profession would be devastating,” we “owe it to teachers to look into why they are unhappy and what can be done to help.”
“But we also need to look at places where teachers are thriving and ask what we can learn from them,” concludes McShane. “What are these schools doing that makes their teachers so much happier?”
Perhaps the learning environment better aligns with the teacher’s morals and values, perhaps it is because there is more opportunity for autonomy and less bureaucracy.
Whatever the reason, these results add to the growing list of benefits surrounding educational freedom, as more choice appears to mean happier teachers, too.