TEACHER JOB SATISFACTION IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS The relation to work environment
Aim: Teachers contribute to students’ success and school development to a great extent. Since there is in Sweden—as in other countries—a teacher shortage, it seems important to find ways to value the profession and keep it attractive. Research into factors that affect job satisfaction can be very useful for school leaders and teachers. The scholarly literature on job satisfaction is however scarce, suggesting that inquiry into factors that relate to job satisfaction is lacking, including in Sweden. The purpose of this study is to explore how job satisfaction relates to two attributes of school environment: teacher-student relations and school management, and stress as a mediating factor. The strength and direction of these relationships are examined using data collected in 2011 among Swedish primary school teachers as part of longitudinal research, the 1998-Evaluation Through Follow-up cohort from Gothenburg University Method: A bivariate correlation analysis was conducted in order to investigate whether, and the extent to which, job satisfaction is related to stress, teacher-student relations and school management. Results: The school environment attributes: positive teacher-student relationships and support from school management were positively associated with teacher job satisfaction, whereas stress and the factor attributes discipline issues (an attribute of student-teacher relationship) and lack of social support (an attribute of school management) were negatively related to it. Sociodemographic variables did not change the zero-order correlations. The study has linked both stress and psychosocial factors in the school environment—notably, attributes of teacher-student relationships and school management—to teachers’ job satisfaction, thereby reducing the knowledge gap in the empirical literature about factors that affect job satisfaction among primary teachers. Having identified school environment factors that school leaders should be alert to, the study may benefit school leaders in helping to retain teachers and increase their job satisfaction.