March 2015

Texas teachers slightly more engaged than national average

A recent Gallup survey on teacher engagement finds that just 30 percent of U.S. teachers are “actively engaged” in their jobs. Fifty-seven percent of teachers report that they are “not engaged,” and 13 percent are “actively disengaged” in teaching.
 
The picture is a bit brighter in Texas, which ranked second among populous states in engaged teachers. Thirty-four percent of teachers here are “actively engaged,” which Gallup defines as enthusiastic, committed, and on the lookout for new and better ways to do their jobs. Fifty-three percent of Texas teachers fall into the “not engaged” category, which Gallup defines as being satisfied with work but not emotionally connected and unlikely to devote discretionary effort. The 13 percent of Texas teachers who are “actively disengaged” take their dissatisfaction further. They “act out their unhappiness in ways that undermine what their coworkers accomplish.”
 
Gallup notes that U.S. teacher engagement statistics have been relatively stable since 2012 and that teachers exhibit a level of engagement similar to comparable estimates for the total U.S. workforce.

Benefits of engagement

Engaged teachers report fewer unhealthy days each year (10.1) than their “not engaged” peers (11.3) and significantly fewer than their “actively disengaged” peers (20.4). A similar pattern emerges when you look at missed work days, with “not engaged” teachers missing 3.5 days per school year versus more than six days for “actively disengaged” teachers. Teacher absences pose a dual challenge for districts: they must find and pay substitute teachers and, depending on the availability of qualified subs, may feel that classroom instruction and student learning suffer when regular teachers are out.
 
Gallup research notes the following outcomes for employers with engaged employees across companies and industries:
  • A sense of well-being
  • Less absenteeism and turnover
  • Fewer workers’ compensation claims
  • Increased productivity
  • Engaged customers
  • Safe workplaces
  • Profit

Boosting engagement

The survey noted that school leadership matters when you talk about teacher engagement. Districts that employ principals with a natural talent for their jobs are more likely to have teachers that are engaged in their jobs. Also, engaged teachers are more likely to have engaged students who excel in school.