Monday, October 19, 2009

Contented Disheartened Idealists

American teachers can be divided into groups broadly defined as Disheartened, Contented and Idealists, according to a new survey conducted by Public Agenda and Learning Point Associates.

This EdWeek article by reporter Andrew L. Yarrow describes the study as "a comprehensive and nuanced look at how teachers differ in their perspectives on their profession, why they entered teaching, the atmosphere and leadership in their schools, the problems they face, their students and student outcomes, and ideas for reform."

The study, called "Teaching for a Living: How Teachers See the Profession Today," is based on interviews with nearly 900 teachers, who were asked about 100 questions.

The plurality of teachers described as disheartened characterize their jobs as “so demanding, it’s a wonder that more people don’t burn out.”

Those identified as contented say that “teaching is exactly what I wanted to do.” The study says they are most likely to be veterans who believe they have adequate time to prepare lesson plans, and teach in middle-income or affluent schools.

The study reports that idealists have "the strongest sense of mission about teaching." They believe that, given good teachers, all students can learn. A majority think that all their students "given the right support, can go to college."

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