Home Teaching Is Teacher Morale on the Rise? Results of the Second Annual Merrimack College Teacher Survey

Is Teacher Morale on the Rise? Results of the Second Annual Merrimack College Teacher Survey

by Staff

As schools emerge from the grip of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, teacher morale appears to be on the rebound, according to the second annual Merrimack College Teacher Survey commissioned by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College and conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan EdWeek Research Center.

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The share of teachers who are very satisfied with their jobs has nearly doubled in the past year to 20 percent. At the same time, the percentage of teachers who say they are very or fairly likely to leave the profession in the next two years declined from 44 to 35 percent. In addition, more teachers now say the general public respects them and treats them as professionals, even as schools continue to be caught in the crosshairs of culture wars.

That’s not to say that the teachers are alright. Tellingly, most teachers still say that, given a chance to do it over again, they wouldn’t advise their younger selves to pursue the profession. Measures of teacher autonomy were also stagnant.

With an eye toward defining the problem and generating solutions, this year’s survey took a closer look at the mental health and well-being of teachers and their students as they grapple with the fallout of the social isolation that occurred during the pandemic, the staffing challenges that have rocked the economy, and the renewed attention to culture wars that have divided many communities. Strikingly, 42 percent of teachers say their own mental health and wellness are having a negative impact at school. More than half say the same of their students.

Asked what could be done to improve the situation, teachers endorsed a mixture of solutions, big and small. Even as they indicated that their mental health and well-being would be improved if administrators got more training on listening to them and valuing their input, the majority also said that they needed pay raises and smaller class sizes in order to feel that districts and schools truly supported their well-being.

Administered January 15th-25th, the 27-question 2023 Merrimack College Teacher Survey is part of an ongoing effort to track the pulse of the teaching profession. This year’s survey included responses from 1,178 K-12 public school teachers, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

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