Boosting School Staff Morale

By Nora Carr

With districts still facing budget woes and teacher job satisfaction at its lowest point in two decades, boosting morale in meaningful ways is a new national imperative.

Teachers, like all employees, perform better when they feel appreciated for the work they do. Simply hanging on to a job, with the threat of more layoffs hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles, is not enough.

As the recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher shows, teachers with high job satisfaction feel secure in their jobs and are more likely to say parents, students, district officials, and others treat them as professionals.

Community support matters. Class size increases and cuts to art, music, Advanced Placement courses, counseling services, and other programs send a message to teachers that meeting children’s needs is not a priority.

Job satisfaction also increases when teachers have more access to professional development, time for planning and working with their colleagues without students present, and help with engaging parents successfully.

High levels of parent involvement also translate into greater teacher satisfaction. Teachers feel supported when school officials, parents, volunteers, business partners, and other adults support children and the hard work of teaching and learning, whether that takes place in the classroom, at home, or in the community.

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