According to a significant recent study, only 44% of US teachers say they’re satisfied with their job. That’s an 18 percent drop in 3 years.  This raises a question that is very interesting to me as a school principal — what IS job satisfaction for a teacher?

Well, I think I know something about that.  The first thing is respect. Teachers want to work in a caring environment. That seems overly simple but it’s true. They want to be in an environment where everyone in the school cares about the students and the community cares about their teachers.

Teachers also want to be able to express their creativity. While every school has Ministry of Education guidelines to follow and their own internal goals, teaching is truly an art form in the hands of an accomplished teacher.

I have long believed that the most important thing a school head can do is to honor the voice of their teachers, individually and collectively. A school leader’s door should be an open one. Work between the administration and teachers should be truly collaborative.

One of the most effective changes I have instituted at the YMCA Academy is what I call “Google” time — an hour or so every week during which teachers can get together to collaborate.  They are free to create whatever they wish, and I have no other expectation than that they meet to work together.  It has indeed been from this “Google” time that many of the most fertile and original ideas for our school have originated.  Just scroll down on this page to see the results of enabling the leadership and creativity of some amazing teachers!

Schools have responsibilities in developing the next generation of leaders. Part of that is creating a fertile dynamic within your faculty.

Don Adams – Head of School

May 3rd, 2012 – Satisfaction