TEACHER JOB SATISFACTION IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS The relation to work environment

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik

Abstract: Aim: Teachers contribute to students’ success and school development to a greatextent. Since there is in Sweden—as in other countries—a teacher shortage, itseems important to find ways to value the profession and keep it attractive.Research into factors that affect job satisfaction can be very useful for schoolleaders and teachers. The scholarly literature on job satisfaction is howeverscarce, suggesting that inquiry into factors that relate to job satisfaction islacking, including in Sweden. The purpose of this study is to explore how jobsatisfaction relates to two attributes of school environment: teacher-studentrelations and school management, and stress as a mediating factor. The strengthand direction of these relationships are examined using data collected in 2011among Swedish primary school teachers as part of longitudinal research, the1998-Evaluation Through Follow-up cohort from Gothenburg UniversityMethod: A bivariate correlation analysis was conducted in order to investigate whether,and the extent to which, job satisfaction is related to stress, teacher-studentrelations and school management.Results: The school environment attributes: positive teacher-student relationships andsupport from school management were positively associated with teacher jobsatisfaction, whereas stress and the factor attributes discipline issues (anattribute of student-teacher relationship) and lack of social support (an attributeof school management) were negatively related to it. Sociodemographicvariables did not change the zero-order correlations. The study has linked bothstress and psychosocial factors in the school environment—notably, attributes ofteacher-student relationships and school management—to teachers’ jobsatisfaction, thereby reducing the knowledge gap in the empirical literatureabout factors that affect job satisfaction among primary teachers. Havingidentified school environment factors that school leaders should be alert to, thestudy may benefit school leaders in helping to retain teachers and increase theirjob satisfaction.

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