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Statistical Analysis Report:

Job Satisfaction Among America's Teachers: Effects of Workplace Conditions, Background Characteristics, and Teacher Compensation

August 1997

(NCES 97-471) Ordering information


  • Administrative support and leadership, student behavior and school atmosphere, and teacher autonomy are working conditions associated with teacher satisfaction; the more favorable the working conditions were, the higher the satisfaction scores were.
  • Private school teachers tend to be more satisfied than public school teachers and elementary school teachers tend to be more satisfied than secondary school teachers, but this relationship is not nearly as strong as the finding that teachers in any school setting who receive a great deal of parental support are more satisfied than teachers who do not.
  • In public schools, younger and less experienced teachers have higher levels of satisfaction than older and more experienced teachers. In private schools, the relationship is bipolar--the very youngest and very oldest teachers had the highest levels of satisfaction as did the least and most experienced teachers.
  • Although certain background variables, such as teacher's age and years of experience, are related to teacher satisfaction, they are not nearly as significant in explaining the different levels of satisfaction as are the workplace condition factors, such as administrative support, parental involvement, and teacher control over classroom procedures.
  • Teachers with greater autonomy show higher levels of satisfaction than teachers who feel they have less autonomy. Administrative support, student behavior, and feelings of control were consistently shown to be associated with teacher job satisfaction.
  • Teacher satisfaction showed a weak relationship with salary and benefits.
  • Workplace conditions had a positive relationship with a teacher's job satisfaction regardless of whether a teacher is in a public or private school, or an elementary or secondary school, and regardless of the teacher's background characteristics or the school demographics.
  • The most satisfied secondary school teachers felt they had more parental support and were less likely to have been threatened by students than the least satisfied secondary school teachers.

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education