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Measuring Teacher Morale

photo of a young female teacher, woman dressed in a blue blazer, standing against a wall, tables / desks in the background

The Teacher Morale Index, a survey created by the EdWeek Research Center, provides an overall view of teachers’ past, current, and future perceptions of their workplace conditions and experiences.

How satisfied educators are with their current jobs and their own future is a critical indicator for school leaders, policymakers, and the overall public to understand the dynamics and the long-term health of the teaching profession.

The Survey

The Teacher Morale Index, part of The State of Teaching project, gauges teachers’ levels of enthusiasm and confidence about their job based on responses to three survey questions:

  1. Compared to one year ago, my morale at work right now is…
  2. Right now, my morale at work is….
  3. One year from now, I expect my morale at work will be…

Respondents choose between worse (-100 points), the same (0 points), or better (+100 points) for each question. Points for each survey question were averaged for each respondent to generate an index score ranging from -100 to +100, with scores below zero representing lower morale and scores above zero indicating higher morale.

Year One Results

The inaugural, overall score on the teacher morale index is -13. However, findings note there are differences in morale depending on the teacher and job specifics. Survey results revealed the following variables that make a difference in teacher morale:

  • Subject taught: Foreign language and career and technical education (CTE) teachers are the most satisfied with their jobs, while social studies, science, and elementary education teachers are the least satisfied.
  • Location of the school: Teachers in rural and smaller town schools have higher morale than teachers in suburban and urban schools.
  • Race of the teacher: Black and Hispanic teachers had the highest morale while white and “two or more race” teachers had more negative scores.
  • Stage of the teacher’s career: Teachers with less than three years of teaching had the highest scores, while teachers with three to nine years had the lowest scores.

The findings don’t explain the variances but offer educators and researchers patterns to consider and explore more deeply.

More information can be found in the EducationWeek article Introducing the Teacher Morale Index.

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Cheryl Hoover
Cheryl Hoover

Cheryl Hoover joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with staffing and HR reviews, training, and other HR projects. During Hoover’s public school career, she served as an executive director of curriculum and principal leadership, executive director of human resources, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.

Hoover earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and obtained her master’s degree from Texas State University. She is a certified PHR.

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