Finnish teachers are less satisfied with their working environment than before. They no longer enjoy work as much as they used to.
The changing demands, administrative work and having to adjust teaching to the needs of children and young people in need of special support are the main stress factors for them. This is the information shown in the OECD TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey), which included 48 countries.
The results give an idea of the working conditions of teachers and school leaders and how they experience the teaching environment of their own school. Approximately 2,850 secondary school teachers and 150 school leaders participated in the study in Finland. The data were collected in spring 2018 and respondents were selected by random sampling.
According to the results, teacher's job satisfaction has dropped by 3 percentage points over the past five years. They are less likely to recommend their own schools as a good place to work. In addition, the share of teachers who said they would choose the same profession again has slightly decreased.
Keeping up with the pace of changes imposed on schools and teachers, an excessive amount of administrative tasks and taking into account the needs of students in need of special support are all stress factors for teachers.
Young female teachers under 30 years of age experience the most stress in Finland. The greatest pressure for school leaders comes from the increase in administrative duties.
“It is important to look after the wellbeing of both teachers and students. Wellbeing affects the quality of teaching and studying. When teachers are satisfied with their work, we can offer high-quality and equitable education at school,” Minister of Education Li Andersson said.
However, more than 90% of the teachers say that the advantages of their job outweigh the disadvantages.
Sense of community
According to the study, collaborative teamwork in teaching and taking part in professional cooperative learning have become more common among teachers over the past five years. Teachers trust each other and schools encourage everyone to show initiative. Sharing responsibility is an integral part of schools.
However, the results of the survey show that there is still much to be done to improve the sense of community in Finland. For example, teachers in Sweden and Norway engage in different forms of collaborative efforts with other teachers more actively than do teachers in Finland. Teachers in Finland also feel that they receive on average much less feedback on their work compared with other reference countries in the survey.
“The TALIS survey gives information on the strengths and challenges of the Finnish education system. This is important and helps steer work in the right direction to develop our educational system using research-based data,” says Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko.
The respondents were selected by random sampling. The response rate of teachers was 94% in Finland, which is high.