Week 2: What role does professional satisfaction play in the effectiveness of a classroom?

“If people could only see what we do, they would realize we are modern day superheroes wearing the Clark Kent disguise of teacher” (Burgess, Loc 1832).

Professional satisfaction plays a large role in teacher effectiveness in the classroom.  “If public education is to provide effective teachers for all students, then the schools those students attend must become places that support effective teaching and learning across all classrooms” (Johnson, Kraft & Papay, 2012).  It shouldn’t matter if I am teaching in the city or in an outlying community, the support should be similar in all locations.  Those social conditions are what determines professional satisfaction for teachers.  The climate of the school, the administration and leadership within that school, and relationships that are created within that environment with colleagues is what Johnson, Kraft & Papay specify as determining factors for job satisfaction.  This information was obtained from the surveyed teachers in the state of Massachusetts in March of 2008.  If teachers are dissatisfied they leave the profession or the district they are in to seek professional satisfaction elsewhere.  This, in turn, affects the students and their ability to deal with the constant change in staff, the dysfunctional atmosphere and a feeling that they don’t matter.  This creates a difficult environment to learn in if you are not feeling worth the teacher’s time.

When looking at what teachers expect from their professional learning experiences, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation came up with the following list that teachers felt were necessary for professional development:

  • the information is relevant
  • It is interactive
  • It’s delivered by a fellow teacher who knows what it is like to be in the classroom
  • it is something that can be continual through time, revisited in the future
  • it recognizes teachers as professionals and treats them as such (2014)

Through this study that was conducted in January and March of 2014, they discovered that teachers were mostly dissatisfied with professional development.  When educators don’t feel that their professional development is helpful to their ever changing environments (like technology, data analysis, and curriculum implementation) they become turned off to it.  I see this and I look back to the classroom.  If this is how we as educators feel that our professional development should be then we should do the same for our students.  Proving to them the relevance of what they are learning in an interactive way where we can have students become leaders through time can empower our students, especially when using technology that is relevant to their ever changing worlds.

The Mighty purpose of teachers is a tough one indeed.  Burgess puts it best, “A teacher’s impact can only be measured through generations!” (Loc 1821).  There are those who want results now, but teachers don’t see it that way.  We look to the future.  We strive to give our students the education they need to better prepare them as adults to be successful members of society.  We try to pass them on to the next educator with a desire to continue on that path.  Our measurement of their success isn’t in their grades when they leave us, it is what they become and how they use that information in the future that they create for themselves.  My mighty purpose is to treat my students with the respect I expect them to treat others with.  Every moment I see them I expect them to be respectful, and I reciprocate with respect for them.  They need to know that they are just as important as all of the other students and that I don’t treat anyone differently.  I have seen through my many years of teaching that this has created an environment that facilitates a safe learning community where students are willing and able to participate in the activities I present to them.

Cites Referenced

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014, December). Teachers Know Best: Teachers’ Views on Professional Development. Retrieved from http://collegeready.gatesfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Gates-PDMarketResearch-Dec5.pdf

Burgess, D. (2012). Teach like a Pirate: Increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting.

Johnson, S. M, Matthew, A. K, & Papay, J. P, (2012). How Context Matters in High-Need Schools: The Effects of Teachers’ Working Conditions on Their Professional Satisfaction and Their Students’ Achievement. Retrieved from http://www.tcrecord.org/content.asp?contentid=16685

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6 thoughts on “Week 2: What role does professional satisfaction play in the effectiveness of a classroom?

  1. I’ve seen teachers leave a schools because they disagreed with administration. The principal plays a huge role when teachers sign a contract for another school year. I think it’s very important they support their team in all ways, other than in the school; especially in rural areas. I agree that professional development is key to keeping teachers satisfied. I love learning and exploring new ways to improve my classroom and technology use.

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    • So have I. Too many times administration has moved people around because their is something that they don’t like. Not only is this a problem with morale, but it is also a problem for the students. That should be our number one thought, what is best for the students. If it is going to affect them negatively then there is no way we should even think of making that type of change.

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      • I believe that administration does set the tone for the schools. I have witnessed people moving due to it, yet I stayed. I question the difference between myself (and others that stayed) and them. I wonder if part of the “moving on” has more to do with a personal choice. I remember watching 3 principals in two years before settling with the 4th principal. I fortunately had a veteran teacher make the comment, “Just ride them out”, meaning the administration rotates more than the teachers. I’m just thinking that the choice to move on is more due to personal choice. I believe the veteran teacher was just not focusing on the environment and focusing on the classroom. I learned a lot in the short comment that he made. Like you said, “what is best for the students.”

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    • As educators we have committed ourselves as life-long learners. We want our continued education to be of the greatest quality we can receive. Our professional development is a way for us to get what we need to continually grow in our profession. I love that part of my job, that I am constantly learning and challenging myself to do new and exciting things.

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  2. Interesting list of PD necessities by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I would agree with the list. I also read this week another issue with PD is the lack of follow through after PD, the implementation of the PD, the now that I have the information what do I do next.

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