We really can learn a lot from teachers – and, maybe it’s time we started listening. A recently released MetLife survey reveals that teacher satisfaction across the country is at its lowest point in two decades.
Why? The survey notes that administration is putting more pressure on teachers lately, and that criticism of teachers is at an all-time high, with them often taking the brunt of the blame for everything that’s wrong with public education today.
One way that school leadership can begin to better understand the needs and concerns of their teachers and staff is through teacher surveys.
What Are Teacher Surveys? Why Are They Important?
It is important to survey teachers to capture educators’ thoughts on a whole host of topics. When the right questions are asked, researchers and school officials can gain valuable insight into their school or school system.
Two of the most popular teacher questionnaires are the teacher satisfaction survey and the teacher engagement survey. The teacher satisfaction survey aims to determine the overall happiness levels of teachers and the contributing factors, while the teacher engagement survey seeks to understand what factors impact the productivity of teachers the most. These survey often uncover a lot of information that teachers may not always be as forthcoming with otherwise, such as their feelings on:
- Overall happiness levels
- Best practices for teachers
- Student challenges
- Administration challenges
- School curriculums and policies
- Support or resources they need to better perform their job
- And much more…
Not only can teacher opinion surveys be very revealing, but they can also lead to decisions that improve attrition rates of teachers, their satisfaction, and their productivity. Surveys also serve to let teachers know that they have a voice and that their opinions matter.
5 Benefits of Teacher Surveys
A teacher’s performance and methods are crucial to many students’ success. Through teacher surveys, the strategies and practices they employ to engage their students can be studied by others to determine what defines good education and learning. Here are just a handful of the benefits teacher surveys provide.
1. Gauging the Overall Education Climate
The way teachers and staff feel about their school can have a big impact on whether they choose to remain at that school or stick with the profession as a whole. Through teacher questionnaires, administrators can determine whether they have a far-reaching problem or not. If they do, they can work to build initiatives that improve the school operations, creating an environment that is more conducive to both teaching and learning.
2. Understanding Resources and Support Needs
Sometimes, the ability of teachers to teach is limited by the resources they have, such as outdated books or technology. In addition, some teachers – new ones, in particular – feel they aren’t 100% prepared for all aspects of teaching.
Through school surveys, administrators can determine what resources need to be considered (and how they can rework the budget to make it happen) and what programs they can implement to better prepare teachers for the challenges they face. This could be something as simple as collaboration sessions between new and seasoned teachers, in which ideas are swapped and both can learn from one another.
3. Determining Professional Learning and Growth Opportunities
Teachers are educators, but many of them also like to learn, growing their knowledge to improve their skills and to better meet the needs of their students; after all, that’s where many teachers get the most satisfaction from their job – by successfully coaching students.
Teacher surveys can help determine what professional learning and growth opportunities teachers and staff are looking for. When these opportunities are provided, schools can improve teachers’ abilities and, in turn, student performance.
4. Strengthening Relationships with Leadership
Teachers and staff want to have a word in policies that affect them and their ability to teach. When they feel there is a lack of respect for or collaboration with leadership, as with employees in any field, they’re likely to begin looking elsewhere for employment.
Teacher surveys can give administrators insight into what matters most to their educators, and then take steps to improve things, or at the very least, involve teachers in decision-making that directly affects them.
5. Boost Teacher Satisfaction and Student Learning
These two really go hand-in-hand. The most effective teachers are satisfied with their job and the school, and teacher surveys can bring to light anything that could be putting a damper on this, from lack of leadership support to low pay. View a teacher satisfaction survey example here.
Of course, when teachers are happier, more often than not, better student learning occurs. According to numerous studies, “The two strongest in-school influences on student learning are teaching and school leadership, the latter to a lesser extent.” Teacher surveys, then, give schools opportunities to make informed decisions on how to improve their satisfaction, which leads to greater student achievements.
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30 Teacher Survey Questions
Sometimes, school leadership fails to capture the information that’s truly important by asking teachers the wrong questions (or asking them in the wrong way). This can lead to an increase in survey dropout rates or survey bias, which skews results. So, here are some common questions that you may want to consider asking based on the goals of your survey.
- How long have you been teaching?
- How long have you been teaching at [school name]?
- How effective is the leadership in your school?
- How manageable are your teaching requirements?
- How easy is it to get the resources you need to perform your job?
- What can we do to better prepare new teachers for the job?
- Would you say most of the schooling staff have a unified vision?
- Does the school staff treat each other with respect?
- Does the school staff care about and respect the students?
- How accommodating is your school for children with disabilities?
- Does the school staff collaborate on resolutions to provide effective learning?
- Are the school facilities well cared for and up to state standards?
- Do you feel the school puts equal emphasis on academics and sports?
- Do you feel the school staff has good knowledge in their areas of teaching?
- How could we improve your professional development?
- Do you ever feel “teacher burn-out”?
- What factors lead to or contribute to feelings of “teacher burn-out”?
- Do you lead any extracurricular student clubs or activities?
- Do you have the freedom to try innovative methods for better learning?
- How do you encourage creativity in the classroom?
- Were you consulted before finalizing the curriculum for the students?
- How often have you received an appraisal for your work at the school?
- How involved are most parents in their child’s education?
- Do you feel that, in general, you have the support of your students’ parents?
- Do you have any specific suggestions for providing a better learning experience?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing teachers today?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing students today?
- Would you consider teaching your students through distance learning initiatives?
- Would you recommend your school to a friend or colleague for their child’s education?
- On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with your current job?
Teacher surveys are a great way to get the thoughts and opinions of educators. When changes are enacted based on their feedback, this can even lead to improved attrition rates of teachers, increased teacher satisfaction and productivity, and a better learning environment for students. Ready to get some actionable feedback? Get started now using our beautifully designed and responsive teacher survey templates.
Interested in learning more about your K-12 school? As part of a “school climate survey” initiative, we’ve also created K-12 parent survey templates to get parental viewpoints, as well as a parental support survey template so teachers can better understand how involved parents are in their child’s’ education.
Has your school been surveying teachers? What questions would you add to our list of teacher questions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The teacher satisfaction survey aims to determine the overall happiness levels of teachers and contributing factors.
The teacher engagement survey seeks to understand what factors impact the productivity of teachers the most.
Teacher surveys can lead to decisions that improve teacher attrition rates, satisfaction, and productivity, which creates a better student learning environment.