Teacher Wellbeing: A mixed methods study of the impact of autonomy and school leadership on wellbeing

Year: 2018

Author: McCallum, Faye, Price, Deborah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teacher quality, retention, and satisfaction are all key elements that will sustain the profession, maintain motivation, and prepare teachers to fulfil aspirational outcomes as leaders. Teachers are at their best when their wellbeing is catered for. Measures of whole school wellbeing have shown that happy, optimistic students have increased vitality; and highly engaged staff employed in meaningful activity are happier at school and have increased commitment to the organisation and greater job satisfaction. This presentation reports on research exploring teachers’ wellbeing across a sample of teachers who were at the time of the study in a teaching and/or leadership position within an Association of Independent Schools (AIS) setting in NSW. An online teacher wellbeing survey was conducted and included 47-items adapted from published wellbeing scales and open text items for the purpose of the specific context and research focus. For the 806 participants, teacher wellbeing was defined across four themes of: health; life/work balance; feelings of happiness; and, being free of stress. The findings evidenced that teacher wellbeing was most highly associated with; schools prioritising teacher wellbeing; teacher’s perception of their degree of autonomy over their work, and the school leadership/management. This research shares the thoughts and experiences of teachers working in the AIS NSW workforce to inspire policy-makers in putting wellbeing at the heart of their policies and practice.