Teachers top satisfaction survey

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Norway’s junior high school teachers can take off for their long summer holiday this week in the knowledge that they rank highest in the world, in terms of feeling they get along well with their students and do a good job.

A new survey conducted by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that 60 percent of Norwegian teachers of young teenagers are happy on the job and have good contact with their students. That’s double the number of Danish teachers questioned in the same OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (Talis), and teachers in all the other countries questioned were less satisfied than the Danes. Survey results were reported by newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday.

The survey questioned 2,500 teachers and principals at 156 junior high (middle) schools in Norway. It showed that the Norwegian teachers also are generally pleased with their ability to educate their students and have faith in the job they’re doing.

At the same, time, however, more than 60 percent responded that poor work was often tolerated by the schools where they were employed, with no adverse consequences. The teachers also tend to view themselves as individual entrepreneurs, according to the survey results, and don’t often involve themselves in each other’s work.

Many also felt they don’t receive enough feedback for the work they do, and believe school leaders are more preoccupied by administrative duties than educational ones.

Survey results also indicated that 30 percent of Norwegian junior high school principals worry they lack fully qualified teachers, equipment and other teaching supplies. More than 70 percent of teachers surveyed said they want more continuing education themselves.

State education officials and union leaders generally reacted positively to the survey results. “It’s a fantastic starting point that the teachers thrive on the job and have good relations with their students,” Helga Hjetland of the teachers’ union Utdanningsforbundet told Aftenposten , but she noted that it makes her uneasy that 30 percent say they receive no feedback from school administrators.

Others cautioned that the teachers may have too much confidence in their own abilities, that they may not have high enough academic ambitions and that more attention should be paid to following up students’ work and making sure they understand course material.