Taking the Pulse on Teacher Engagement

How can we assess the level of teacher engagement in our building? Depending on your school’s size, teacher engagement levels can be measured in several ways. For small schools, one-on-one interviews may work best. For medium-sized campuses, consider an engagement summit by department or grade level. For larger schools, focus groups and online surveys work well. In any case, it is essential that all teachers be asked the same questions so feedback can be accurately analyzed and considered.

Consider the following 10 statements to take the pulse of teacher engagement in your building. Using a paper and pencil or online survey, ask teachers to rank each item on a scale of 1 to 5 (with one being the most important):

1. My job is mentally stimulating.
2. I understand how my work contributes to my school’s overall performance.
3. In my building, there are ample opportunities for me to grow personally and professionally.
4. Our school affords me the chance to develop into a better teacher.
5. I receive recognition and rewards for my contributions.
6. There is open communication, teacher to teacher.
7. I’m asked how to make things better.
8. The principal provides good leadership and guidance during difficult times.
9. In my building, the urgent does not overshadow the important.
10. I know how I fit into my school’s future plans.

Nothing is more frustrating to teachers than enlisting their thoughts and then doing nothing with the information. Therefore, the results of your interviews or surveys should be shared. As information is assimilated, look for patterns. Zero in on the high and low commitment points. Delve deeper into low points by asking:

• How can we make this better?
• What might make your job more stimulating?
• What innovations will give us a competitive advantage over other schools?
• As your principal, what can I do to support these innovations?
• What is the best way to communicate my efforts?

Engaged teachers can’t wait for the weekend to be over. They consistently demonstrate high levels of performance, have a natural drive toward self-efficacy, and are emotionally committed to their work. On the flip side, disengaged teachers cost schools dearly in terms of diminished productivity and low morale. Without active leadership to foster teacher engagement, it may be hard to keep your school on the path to preparing students in the 21st Century.

 

Levels of Teacher Engagement
 Actively Engaged Teachers Have a clear understanding about their role and influence as a teacher.

See teaching as a collective endeavor rather than private practice.

Have a high level of energy, enthusiasm.

Emphasize student engagement in learning over dissemination of mandated curriculum.

Disengaged Teachers Have little time for meetings, conferences, or staff development.

Demonstrate waning passion and a lack of creativity.

Never volunteer for extra duty or special projects.

Perception of job inequities (e.g. salary, class load, teaching schedule).

Distrust administration.

 Actively Disengaged Teachers Undermine the performance of others.

Are unhappy; share this unhappiness through words and actions.

Make lists of reasons why something won’t work.

Seek out others to join their pity party.

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