What Makes Delaware Educators Tick?

February 9th, 2011

Category: News

Educators throughout the state show greater satisfaction with their jobs across a range of metrics compared to their national counterparts, according to results from the recently released report A Portrait of Delaware’s New Teachers.

The results, based on a survey of approximately 500 educators in their first three years of teaching, paint a mixed picture.  On one hand, teachers expressed a high overall satisfaction rate around many critical components of the job.  However, as the results show, there has been a noticeable drop over the past six years in overall teacher satisfaction.  Some of the biggest drops include the teacher’s relationship with their mentor, level of teacher autonomy, and career advancement opportunities.

Interesting results from the survey include:

  • The majority of teachers felt “very satisfied” with their teaching assignment, career in teaching, and support they receive from colleagues;
  • Almost 80% of teachers found school support staff (such as department chairs, subject area specialists, team leaders, etc.) “very” or “somewhat” helpful in addressing first-year teaching areas of concern;
  • Almost 25% of teachers were “somewhat” or “very” dissatisfied with professional development opportunities;
  • Every category, except benefits, saw a decrease in the percent of teachers who are “very satisfied” compared to recently-hired teachers in 2004;
  • Only 17% of teachers are “very satisfied” with their career opportunities; and
  • Nearly 50% of teachers feel “somewhat” or “not at all” prepared to assess students and use state assessments for improving instruction. 

Through Race to the Top, Delaware will receive additional funds to put in place policies and practices that address many of these areas.  Examples include:

  • Data coaches to help educators understand and act upon student assessment data;
  • Teacher-leader pathways to enable our most successful educators to advance within the profession, allowing them to support our newly hired educators; and
  • Development coaches to help evaluators understand teacher strengths and weaknesses in order to provide more tailored professional development.

While the results are on the positive side, we must continue thinking about how we can create the conditions that will increase new teacher satisfaction – especially among a new generation of teachers as a significant percentage of our older educators retire. 

Brett Turner