OECD: teachers love their job but feel undervalued

| 26/06/2014

(CNS): In a worldwide survey of teachers, the OECD found that in about half of the countries, one in four teachers spend at least 30% of lesson time handling classroom disruptions and administrative tasks. The survey of 100,000 teachers at secondary level in 34 countries also found that most teachers enjoy their job, despite feeling unsupported and unrecognised in schools and undervalued by society at large. Those countries where teachers feel valued tend to perform better in PISA, the OECD’s international assessment of student performance.
The Teaching and Learning International Survey found that more than nine out of ten teachers are satisfied with their jobs and nearly eight in ten would choose the teaching profession again. 

But fewer than one in three teachers believe teaching is a valued profession in society.

The average class size is 24 students. Teachers spend an average of 19 hours per week teaching, ranging from15 hours in Norway to 27 hours in Chile.

Of an average total of 38 hours of work, seven hours per week are spent preparing lessons, five hours per week marking, and two hours per week on school management, working with parents and extracurricular activities.

Most schools are well-resourced and teachers report positive relationships with their peers and school leaders. But more than a third of teachers work in schools where the principal reports significant staff shortages of qualified teachers, teachers for students with special needs, and support staff.

More than 100,000 teachers and school leaders at lower secondary level (for students aged 11-16) in 34 countries and economies took part in the OECD survey, which aims to help countries develop a high-quality teaching profession by better understanding who teachers are and how they work.

The survey shows that too many teachers still work in isolation, the OECD said in a release on the findings. Over half report rarely or never team-teaching with colleagues and only one third observe their colleagues teach. Feedback is also rare, with some 46% of teachers reporting they never receive any from their school leader, and less than a third (31%) believe that a consistently underperforming colleague would be dismissed.

But the survey shows that there is a lot teachers and school leaders can do about this: teachers who engage in collaborative learning have higher job satisfaction and confidence in their abilities. Participation in school decisions also boosts job satisfaction and makes teachers feel more valued in society.

“We need to attract the best and brightest to join the profession. Teachers are the key in today’s knowledge economy, where a good education is an essential foundation for every child’s future success,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, launching the survey in Tokyo. “This survey provides strong evidence that teachers are open to change and keen to learn and develop throughout their careers. At the same time, they need to take more initiative to work with colleagues and school leaders, and take advantage of every opportunity for professional development.”

The survey challenges some stereotypical views of the profession. For example, job satisfaction rates are much more affected by classroom behaviour than class size. And most teachers find appraisals and feedback constructive: 62% of teachers, on average across countries, said that the feedback they receive in their school led to moderate or large improvements in their teaching practices. But between 22% and 45% of teachers in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Spain, and Sweden said that they have never received feedback in their current school, compared to an average of 13% across the 34 countries surveyed.

Go to survey results

Read more about PISA

Category: World News

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Other OECD reports released today found that air is good to breathe and the there is no such person as Santa Claus.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Teachers need to make the salaray of  the Speaker of the House, and the Speaker needs to make a teacher's salary. 

    This is why Cayman is in such a mess, you've the wrong people in the ivory tower.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lucky them. Many of us hate our jobs and feel undervalued. At least teaching is gratifying (not from a monetary perspective) and meaningful.