Dear Friends,

Teaching is one of the most important – and challenging – jobs around. Teachers carry enormous responsibilities, and sometimes there are not enough hours in the classroom or in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done. During the past five years, teachers in Tennessee have navigated significant shifts in how they work in order to meet the pressing need to better prepare students for a more challenging world.

Teaching is also one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Nothing says success like the excitement in the face of a student who has had a learning breakthrough, and nothing is more gratifying than realizing that your work produces an impact that can last a lifetime.

TeacherSurveyGiven the challenges that teachers face, we might expect job dissatisfaction and many teachers leaving the profession. Yet the results of the Tennessee Department of Education’s 2015 Educator Survey reveal that Tennessee teachers once again are exceeding expectations.

About four out of five teachers who responded to the survey say teachers at their school are satisfied and like being there, and more than three-fourths of Tennessee teachers say they feel appreciated. The trend was upward for both of those measures, while the percentage who say the stress of teaching isn’t worth it declined significantly.

Other employers and professions have reason to envy the 90 percent retention rate for Tennessee teachers. The retention rate for highly effective teachers is even higher. SCORE graduate fellow Erika Leicht has more details on the findings of the survey in a SCORE Sheet blog.

How can it be that as the job of teaching has become more demanding Tennessee teachers have become more satisfied? There is no a single answer to that question. School leaders, district leaders, and the Tennessee Department of Education are working to keep outstanding teachers by giving them greater support, more opportunities for collaboration, and increased options for leadership that do not require leaving the classroom.

But most of us know from our own work experience that the most rewarding part of any job is the satisfaction of accomplishing something important. Tennessee teachers work hard every day to help Tennessee students learn more, and they see the results in measurements like the Nation’s Report Card and TCAP. They know that the growth of our students, which they get to witness every day, made Tennessee the fastest-improving state for student achievement. No wonder they feel more satisfied.

Very truly yours,

Jamie Signature 4-2014