Schools in the Midlands of Ireland.
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The present study explored satisfaction levels of teachers in three second-level schools in the midlands of Ireland, concentrating on student-teacher relations, pay, contracts of employment, promotional opportunities, staff-relations and finally, examining second-level teachers views on the overall attractiveness of the teaching profession. A total of 124 hard-copy questionnaires were distributed to teachers from three second-level schools in the midlands of Ireland with a response rate of 52%. Most people who took part in this survey were aged between 24-29, female and held either temporary or continuous contracts of indefinite duration (CID). In addition, one second-level school in the midlands of Ireland participated in semi-structured interviews. The interview cohort consisted of six teachers who were divided up into three sub-groups based on experience levels: two teachers with less than five years’ experience, two teachers’ with between five and twenty years’ experience and finally two teachers’ with more than twenty years’ experience. Overall, findings of the present study indicated that teachers were generally satisfied in their teaching profession. According to the results of the analysis, teachers were satisfied with both student-teacher relations and staff-relations in their second-level school. Furthermore, most teachers were satisfied with their contracts of employment, even though only very few teachers held permanent teaching contracts. This could be attributed to the finding that half of teachers held contracts of indefinite duration (CID), which means that teachers have similar privileges as permanent teachers (ASTI, 2017) and they experience a sense of job stability. In addition, one unanticipated finding of the present research indicates that teachers were satisfied with their pay. On the contrary, less than half of teachers agreed that their wages were sufficient to pay their important expenses and bills. In support of this, interviewed teachers cited that a number of teachers in their schools did not having full-time hours and xiv this could result in a below par average weekly wage. In addition, many teachers disagreed that their wage levels reflected the level of effort they provided in their teaching jobs. Teachers views suggested that this could be due to the increase in demand for extra-curricular activities from students and school-management. Most teachers who took part in this study did not hold any promotional posts of responsibility and furthermore they were not satisfied with the level of promotional opportunities available within their school. In addition, findings indicated that ‘career ladder progression’ was the least important benefit associated with second-level teaching. Although teachers were unhappy with the level of promotional opportunities, it seems that it didn’t affect teacher’s overall satisfaction levels as ‘job satisfaction – love of teaching’, followed by ‘holidays’ and finally ‘working with young people ranging in ages from twelve to eighteen’ were the most important benefits associated with the teaching profession. Surprisingly, the present research indicates that just over a third of teachers would recommend teaching as a profession. Some teachers specified in the semi-structured interviews that if the Irish Government improved pay issues and promotional opportunities in the teaching profession only then would they consider recommending teaching as a career.
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