Job Demands and Resources, Teacher Wellbeing, and Turnover Intentions: An examination during COVID-19

Year: 2021

Author: Collie, Rebecca

Type of paper: Symposium

Background. Increasing attention over the past few years has been directed to the importance of supporting positive teacher outcomes at work. Positive teacher outcomes are not only a worthy end in themselves, they are also linked with important student and school outcomes. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that teachers have faced significant stressors in their work and home lives. Identifying factors that play a role in supporting positive teacher outcomes during COVID-19 is, then, important for understanding how teachers can be supported during subsequent waves of COVID-19 or, indeed, other disruptions to education that may occur in future. Aims. The overarching aim of the current study was to examine the role of several job resources and demands in relation to teachers’ outcomes. Two job resources were examined (relatedness with students, relatedness with colleagues), along with two job demands (time pressure, disruptive student behaviour). More precisely, the job resources and demands were examined as predictors of subjective work vitality (i.e., the sense of having energy for and feeling excitement about work) and turnover intentions (i.e., intent to leave one’s job). The study also examined whether the job resources help to buffer the detrimental association of job demands and turnover intentions, and whether the job demands boost the association of job resources with subjective work vitality.Design. Survey data were collected using an online survey from 325 Australian teachers when many schools were reopening after the initial COVID-19 lockdown in May, 2020.Key Findings. Structural equation modelling showed that time pressure (negatively) and relatedness with teachers (positively) were associated with subjective vitality. Disruptive behaviour and time pressure (both positively), along with relatedness with students and subjective vitality (both negatively) were associated with turnover intentions. In addition to these main associations, there was one significant interaction providing evidence of the buffering role of relatedness with students on turnover intentions.Implications. The findings provide knowledge that can help to guide practice going forward. For example, the findings underscore the central role of relatedness with students and colleagues for teachers’ positive workplace outcomes, and provide further evidence that relationships are a worthwhile focus in efforts to increase wellbeing and reduce attrition among teachers. These efforts appear to be particularly important during disruptions like COVID-19. Taken together, the results yield understanding about supporting teachers at work.