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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.
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