20 October 2023

Teachers Feel Overworked, Underpaid

Teachers need help (from www.weareteachers.com/principals-support-teachers/).
Welcome back. In late August, I released a blog post, Teachers’ Views on Safety. The post highlighted a national survey of K-12 teachers conducted in 2022 by the Rand Corporation, a non-partisan, nonprofit global policy think tank, research institute.

For a recently published 28-page report, in early 2023, Rand surveyed public-school teachers on how salary and work hours affected their well-being and intent to leave their jobs. To provide context, the researchers also surveyed U.S. non-teacher working adults.

Teachers’ well-being and job-related stress appeared to have returned to pre-pandemic levels. In some states, however, more teachers left their jobs at the end of the 2021–2022 school year than in the two previous school years at rates higher than pre-pandemic averages.

Survey Data
Rand researchers used data from three sources: the 2023 State of the American Teacher (SoT) survey, a nationally representative survey of 1,439 K-12 public school teachers; the 2023 American Life Panel (ALP) companion survey, a nationally representative parallel survey of 527 working adults; and the 2021 and 2022 administrations of the SoT and ALP companion surveys. Black and Hispanic teachers were oversampled in the 2022 and 2023 SoT surveys to allow for representative estimates of teachers in these groups.

Hours Worked

Hours that teachers worked during the school year were measured by surveying:
-total hours worked per week before and after school and on weekends on teaching and other school-related activities,
-total contracted hours worked in a typical week at their current school in accordance with the teacher’s contract, and
-total hours worked for extra pay on school-related activities for which the teacher received extra pay during a typical full week at their current school.

Also surveyed were the hours that working adults other than teachers worked in a typical full week since September 2022, including any unpaid or overtime paid hours.

Hours worked per week reported by teachers and other working adults (*percentage for subgroup differs at a significance level of 0.05 from the reference group); (fig. 1, from www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1108-9.html).

Teachers were asked to report their base teaching salary for the school year, how adequate they considered that salary to be, and if inadequate, to report the desired base salary. Teachers were not asked the total amount they made during the school year with benefits, any extra school pay or non-school work. 

Teachers’ and other working adults’ satisfaction with pay, hours worked and selected working conditions (YOE, years of experience; *percentage for subgroup differs at a significance level of 0.05 from the reference group); (table 1, from www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1108-9.html).
Work-Place Factors
The researchers asked teachers their perceptions of, and satisfaction with, five work-place factors: total hours worked weekly during the school year, base salary, administrator support; relationships with other teachers and well-being support provided by their employers, health insurance or professional association.

Well Being
Five indicators of well-being were surveyed: frequent job-related stress; difficulty coping with job-related stress; symptoms of depression, burnout and resilience.

Key Results
On average, teachers reported working 53 hr/wk during the school year, though nearly all were contracted to work 40 hr/wk or less. That 53 hr/wk was 7 hr/wk more than the average reported by non-teacher working adults. (Notably, these hours per week were about the same as those throughout the pandemic.)

Digging deeper, 88% of teachers reported working more than 40 hr/wk compared with 47% of non-teacher working adults. Nearly half of the teachers worked more than 50 hr/wk and 16% more than 60 hr/wk.

On average, Black and Hispanic teachers worked more hours per week than their White counterparts, received slightly lower base salaries, and were less satisfied than White teachers with their base salary.

Wrap Up
Most teachers feel overworked and underpaid, working more hours per week, on average, than non-teacher working adults, with 1 out of every 4 hours worked per week being uncompensated.

Low salary and long working hours were the top-ranked reasons why teachers were considering leaving their jobs as well as commonly reported job-related stressors.

Percentage of teachers who are considering leaving who selected each reason as one of their top five reasons (error bars depict 95% confidence intervals for each estimate; *percentage for subgroup differs at a significance level of 0.05 from the reference group);  (fig. 7, from www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1108-9.html).

The researchers conclude that pay increases alone, without improvements in working hours or conditions, are unlikely to induce large shifts in teachers’ well-being or intentions to leave.

Thanks for stopping by.


Rand report on teachers’ perceptions of pay and hours worked: www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1108-9.html
Article on report on EurekAlert! website: www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1001025

No comments:

Post a Comment