2.4. Well-being of teachers
Teacher well-being is a positive emotional state that combines the personal needs and expectations of both learners and their teachers. Teacher well-being and job satisfaction strongly influence teacher behaviour and are positively related to school and classroom climate and pupil achievement. Research also shows a positive relationship between teachers‘ motivation and learner performance and well-being. Moreover, teacher well-being is related to job retention of highly-qualified teachers, which is especially important for schools with high-needs learners. Teacher well-being and self-efficacy also helps to prevent early school leaving, so it is crucial that teachers receive the support they need.
While recent research on teacher well-being has tended to focus on negative aspects such as stress or burnout, this research also illustrates how important this topic is for the initial and further training of teachers. Teacher well-being cannot be achieved solely through participation in workshops or training. Increasing staff well-being is a long-term process, which requires reflection, a consistent approach and the introduction of and experimentation with more constructive practices. In essence, it involves the interaction of several factors:
- Supportive school culture: improving the working conditions of teachers is central to their well-being and satisfaction as well to learners’ success. It is important to provide teachers with adequate time and space for collaborative work. A collaborative culture involves mutual support, the possibility to actively participate in school decisions and a culture of trust based on shared values. Furthermore, a positive school climate is characterised by appraisal, autonomy, encouragement, collegiality, trust, encouragement and administrative leadership. Being part of a professional learning community that is shaped both by collaborations within schools and networks with other schools and the community is vital for teacher motivation and retention. School principals and their styles of leadership, values, personality and actions also play a major role in promoting teacher well-being.
- Teacher professionalisation: Research shows a strong link between teacher professionalism and the perceived status, self-efficacy and well-being of teachers. Initial teacher education provides a sound basis for teacher well-being and is relevant for retaining teachers in the profession. Continuing professional development (CPD) plays a crucial role in enhancing teacher performance, commitment and job satisfaction. Since collaborative mentoring relationships are strongly related to work enjoyment, motivation, self-efficacy, well-being and teacher retention, experienced mentors have to be carefully selected. Teacher peer networks also support well-being.
- Positive teacher-learner relationships: Positive relationships between teachers and learners are a necessary precondition not only for learner success, but also for teacher well-being. Positive teacher-learner relationships support teachers’ intrinsic motivation. Such relationships can intrinsically reward teachers and increase their motivation. Furthermore, good relations with learners not only help to avoid distress, but also increase teacher well-being.
Find out more:
Beaudoin, M.N., 'Respect-Where Do We Start?'. Promoting Respectful Schools, Vol. 69, No. 1, 2011, pp. 40–44.
Blömeke, S, Hoth, J, Döhrmann, M, Busse, A, Kaiser, G., König, J., 'Teacher Change During Induction', International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2015, pp. 287–308. doi:10.1007/s10763-015-9619-4
Brouwer, C., 'Determining Long Term Effects of Teacher Education', In Peterson, P., Baker, E., McGaw, B. (eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2010, pp. 503–510.
Day, L., Mozuraityte, N., Redgrave, K., McCoshan, A., Preventing early school leaving in Europe - Lessons learned from second chance education, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2013.
Downes, P., 'Prevention of early school leaving through teacher education: Some European perspectives', In: Rabensteiner, P and Rabensteiner, G. (eds.), Internationalization in Teacher Education, Germany, 2014, pp. 17–31.
Durksen, T; Klassen, R., 'Professional Relationships Influence Preservice Teacher Success'. ASCD Express, Vol. 7, No. 10, 2012.
Emerick, S., Hirsch, E., Berry, B., 'Teacher Working Conditions as Catalysts for Student Learning', Conditions for Learning, No. 43, 2005.
Engels, N., Aelterman,A., Van Petegem, K. and Schepens, A., ‘Factors which influence the well-being of pupils in Flemish secondary schools’, Educational Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 127 – 143 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0305569032000159787.
European Commission, Developing coherent and system-wide induction programmes for beginning teachers: a handbook for policymakers, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2010.
European Commission, Supporting teacher competence development for better learning outcomes, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2013.
European Commission, Strengthening teaching in Europe: New evidence from teachers compiled by Eurydice and CRELL, June 2015, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2015.
Fernández-Batanero, J., 'Strategies for inclusion in the face of social exclusion: Case study in Andalusia (Spain)', European Journal of Special Needs Education, Vol. 29, No. 3, 2014, pp. 415–428. doi:10.1080/08856257.2014.906978
Hobson, A., Ashby, P., 'Reality aftershock and how to avert it', Cambridge Journal of Education, Vol, 42, No. 2, 2012, pp. 177–196. doi:10.1080/0305764X.2012.676628.
Jimerson, S., Haddock, A., 'Understanding the importance of teachers in facilitating student success: Contemporary science, practice, and policy', School psychology quarterly the official journal of the Division of School Psychology, American Psychological Association, Vol. 30, No. 4, 2015, pp. 488–493. doi:10.1037/spq0000134.
OECD, Supporting Teacher Professionalism: Insights from TALIS 2013, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2016.
Pillay, H., Goddard, R., Wilss, L., 'Well-being, burnout and competence: Implications for teachers', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2005, pp. 22–33. doi: 10.14221/ajte.2005v30n2.3
Schleicher, A., Teaching Excellence through Professional Learning and Policy Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2016.
Shank, M., 'Common Space, Common Time, Common Work'. Supporting New Educators, Vol. 62, No. 8, 2005, pp. 16–19.
Spilt, J., Koomen, H., Thijs, J., 'Teacher Wellbeing: The Importance of Teacher-Student Relationships'. Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2011, pp. 457–477. doi:10.1007/s10648-011-9170-y.
Webb, R., Vulliamy, G., Sarja, A., Hämäläinen, S., Poikonen, P., 'Professional learning communities and teacher well‐being? A comparative analysis of primary schools in England and Finland', Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2009, pp. 405–422. doi:10.1080/03054980902935008.