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Unhappy Teachers Come to Work Less, Study Finds

Unhappy Teachers Come to Work Less, Study Finds

According to a recent Gallup survey, teachers who are unhappy with their job miss an estimated 2.3 million more workdays than teachers who are more engaged with their roles.

"Gallup categorizes survey respondents as 'engaged,' 'not engaged' or 'actively disengaged' based on their responses to questions about workplace elements with proven links to performance outcomes. Gallup defines engaged teachers as involved with, enthusiastic about and committed to their work," said the article on "They know the scope of their jobs and constantly look for new and better ways to achieve outcomes. Not engaged teachers may be satisfied with their jobs, but they are not emotionally connected to their workplaces and are unlikely to devote much discretionary effort to their work. Actively disengaged teachers are not only unhappy, but also act out their unhappiness in ways that undermine what their coworkers accomplish."

Overall, the article said, "30% of U.S. teachers are engaged in their work, matching the national average for all workers."

According to the article, "Gallup estimated additional missed workdays for not-engaged or actively disengaged teachers as follows:

  • Step 1. Converted full-time teachers' average number of unhealthy days per month into an average for the school year, i.e., nine months.
  • Step 2. Converted the average number of unhealthy days into the average number of missed workdays each school year by multiplying each value by 0.31. The 0.31 conversion factor is based on an analysis of all U.S. employees that was released by Gallup in 2011.
  • Step 3. Calculated the difference in the average missed workdays between 'not engaged' teachers and 'engaged' teachers, as well as between 'actively disengaged' teachers and 'engaged' teachers.
  • Step 4. Estimated the number of full-time teachers in each engagement group based on 3.7 million U.S. teachers (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012). These estimates were then multiplied by the differences in missed days produced in Step 3 to estimate the additional missed workdays for 'not engaged' and 'actively disengaged' teachers."

According to Gallup, "a majority, 57%, of full-time K-12 teachers in the U.S. are 'not engaged.' They report, on average, 11.3 unhealthy days per school year -- days that keep them from doing usual activities -- resulting in an estimate of about 3.5 missed workdays per school year. Using engaged teachers as a baseline, all "not engaged" U.S. teachers miss an estimated 781,921 additional days of work each year."

"Additionally, about 13% of U.S. teachers are 'actively disengaged' in their jobs, somewhat lower than the 18% average for all American workers," the article said. "These actively disengaged teachers average 20.4 unhealthy days per school year, resulting in slightly more than six missed workdays per school year -- more than twice as many missed workdays as engaged teachers reported. Using engaged teachers' absenteeism as the baseline, actively disengaged teachers as a group miss an estimated total of 1,521,101 additional days of work."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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