- Christopher Redding
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With a goal of contextualizing teacher job dissatisfaction during the first full school year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we contrast teachers’ experiences to the decade and a half leading up to the pandemic. We draw on nationally representative data from the Schools and Staffing Survey and National Teacher and Principal Survey from the 2003-04 to 2020-21 school years. Through descriptive and regression analysis, we show that (1) teacher dissatisfaction has gradually been increasing over time, but did not decrease sharply in the 2020-21 school year, (2) levels of dissatisfaction during the pandemic were not equal across subpopulations of teachers or over time, and (3) positive working conditions consistently predicted lower job dissatisfaction, including in the 2020-21 school year.
Stagnating teacher salaries and the widening gap between public school teachers and similar workers have led to growing concerns that teachers will seek out additional employment—possibly impacting their instructional practice in the process. Using data from the Schools and Staffing Survey and the National Teacher and Principal Survey from 1994–2021, we show that teacher multiple jobholding has been remarkably stable over time. When examining the predictors of multiple jobholding, we find a high degree of variation across the timing, focus, and setting of teachers’ additional work. Using regression analysis, we show that teachers who work an additional job have lower turnover rates, with the exception of teachers who work outside of school, who leave teaching at higher rates.
Many studies rely on public sector employees’ reported career intentions instead of measuring actual turnover, but research does not clearly document how these variables relate to one another. We develop and test three ways in which measures of employee intentions and turnover might relate to one another: (a) intention may measure the same underlying construct as turnover; (b) intention may be distinct from but strongly related to turnover; or (c) intentions may be distinct from turnover. Using nationally representative data on 102,970 public school teachers, we conduct a descriptive and regression analysis to probe how teachers’ turnover intentions are and are not associated with attrition. While there is some variation across measures of intent, we find evidence most consistent with the second scenario; intention is distinct from, but strongly related to, turnover. We offer recommendations for how researchers should use public sector employee intentions in research.