Teachers entering the profession from other fields often less satisfied

There is a shortage of teachers not only in Germany, but in many countries around the world. For this reason, people without formal teaching degrees are often brought in from other fields to teach in schools. Yet according to a new study, they are often less satisfied in their new jobs than their colleagues who trained to become teachers. "This can become a problem because job satisfaction can be related not only to personal well-being, but also negatively to the quality of teaching," says the study’s lead author, Tim Fütterer of the Hector Research Institute of Education at the University of Tübingen. The results have been published in Teaching and Teacher Education.

Teachers’ dissatisfaction with their work can be associated with lower teaching quality and can ultimately have a negative impact on the students- learning. "In addition, satisfied teachers stay in the job longer," Fütterer said, adding that this is an important goal given the ever-worsening staffing shortages in schools. With many teachers feel inadequately prepared by alternative certification programs, education policymakers could examine the quality and effectiveness of career entry and working conditions to avoid transition shocks and low job satisfaction. "That’s why it’s important to provide intensive support to those entering teaching from other fields during the transition phase, for example, through mentoring and networking initiatives," Fütterer says.

The study used data from the 2015 and 2018 PISA surveys, in which teachers participated for the first time at the international level. Around 125,000 teachers from 13 countries and with an average of 16 years of professional experience reported on their job satisfaction. About two-thirds of them had undergone traditional training that qualified them for the teaching profession, while one-third were career-changers who completed an alternative certification program providing varying degrees of preparation for working with children and young people.

The researchers only evaluated data from countries that had participated in both PISA studies. In addition to Germany, these included the United States, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Chile, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, Korea and Taiwan, as well as the Chinese special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.


Fütterer, T., Waveren, L. van, Hübner, N., Fischer, C., & Sälzer, C. (2022). I can’t get no (job) satisfaction? Differences in teachers’ job satisfaction from a career Pathways Perspective. Teaching and Teacher Education. Retrieved November 17, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.c­om/science­/article/p­ii/S074205­1X22003171


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