Teaching Profession Report Roundup

Teachers Near Top on Measures Of Quality of Life, Survey Says

By Liana Loewus — April 01, 2013 1 min read

Teachers top all other professionals except physicians in overall well-being, according to the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

The results are based on interviews conducted with 170,000 adults, including 9,467 K-12 teachers, last year. Participants responded to 55 items concerning their physical, emotional, and financial health.

Teachers also rank second, again below physicians, in emotional health, life evaluations, and basic access (including to food, housing, and health care)—three of the six components of well-being as measured by the survey. Within emotional health, teachers were more likely than any other occupational group to say they had “smiled or laughed a lot yesterday,” with 88 percent indicating they had done so.

However, teachers were also second only to physicians in stress levels; 47 percent reported they experience stress daily.

In the areas of healthy behaviors and physical health, teachers scored fairly high, ranking third and fifth, respectively, out of the 14 professions listed.

But in the area of “work environment,” teachers ranked eighth out of 14 professions, below “farming, fishing, or forestry,” “construction or mining,” and nursing. Fifty-eight percent of teachers said their supervisor treats them as a partner, placing them below five other occupations on the measure. And teachers ranked last among the 14 professions in indicating their “supervisor always creates an environment that is trusting and open.”

Gallup released the findings in a series of articles on its website. In a blog post, Gallup’s senior scientist Shane Lopez and content manager Preety Sidhu point out that “it is unclear whether the relatively higher scores of teachers on several measures of well-being are because working in that profession enhances one’s well-being, or if people who have higher well-being in general seek out teaching professions.”

According to the recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, 82 percent of teachers said they are either somewhat or very satisfied with their work, though the percentage of very satisfied teachers has been on the decline in recent years.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 03, 2013 edition of Education Week as Teachers Near Top on Measures Of Quality of Life, Survey Says

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