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The Big Secret to Loving Your Job as a Teacher

Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 02:40 pm

Being a teacher in New Jersey is challenging.  You work hard, you never have an “off” day, you’re responsible for young hearts and minds, and you’re often woefully underappreciated.  Sometimes, the frustrations get so great, you wish you’d done something else with your life and gotten a “normal” job.

In fact, a recent poll* conducted by Teachers’ Insurance Plan of NJ revealed that nearly one-third of New Jersey teachers polled would choose a different career path if they “were given a ‘do over,’ that is, an opportunity to go back in time and change your life.”

The Big Picture

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Q: If you were given a “do over”, that is, an opportunity to back in time and change your life, would you…

Why are so many teachers feeling so frustrated?  We asked participants at a recent Educators Roundtable and this is what they told us:

There’s too much to do.
At work, teachers are expected to do more than build knowledge.  Outside of the job description, they are expected to play parent, role model and mentor.  Additionally, they mediate issues with parents; even representing student needs before school administrators.

There are challenges beyond the classroom.
Motivating and getting through to students remains an everyday classroom challenge. What makes this even harder is that teachers feel they get little support from administrators and parents.  In particular, teachers note that they often feel parents see them as babysitters, rather than educators. Further, they struggle to communicate classroom challenges to parents.

There is good news
While there’s no doubt that it’s a tough time for teachers in New Jersey, 69% of teachers would still choose the same career path given the chance.  That’s a healthy majority! Here are the two things on which contented teachers focus to stay motivated despite the daily struggles:

  1. Investment in the future. Contented teachers perceive teaching as an “investment in the future” that when done right, shows a direct and immediate impact – one that can be seen in the development of students. Further, they were drawn to education because of the value they saw in being able to improve students’ lives.
  2. Meaning. More than a pleasurable feeling; contented teachers’ self-worth seemed to be tied to their experiences as educators.

The Secret To Being Happy As  a Teacher
These insights show that the secret to job satisfaction for teachers is the ability to remain focused on the big picture rewards of teaching rather than immediate job challenges.

In short, cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” for all the good that you do.  That keeps you from dwelling on the problems associated with the job, and focuses you on finding solutions.

*Methodology
This survey consisted of 511 professional educators residing in New Jersey, age 21 or older that make or share in the decision to purchase auto insurance. The survey included questions about awareness of auto insurance brands operating in New Jersey, media consumption and “lifestyle” questions regarding additional employment beyond their primary professions and reconsideration of their chosen career paths. The study had a 95 percent confidence interval and +/- 4 percent margin of error. The survey was conducted by Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey using Cvent, Inc.’s web survey platform. Cvent is a leading cloud-based enterprise event management platform. Cvent offers software solutions to event planners for online event registration, venue selection, event management, mobile apps for events, e-mail marketing and web surveys. The sample was provided by Precision Opinion YouSay! online panel. Precision Opinion YouSay! is dedicated to bringing a new thought process to the way traditional market research is conducted. Currently, they own online and mobile panels consisting of nearly half a million verified users across the United States that participate in studies regularly.

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