Job satisfaction: what it means to childcare teachers

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Virginia Tech


The study explored job satisfaction among 12 childcare teachers and 6 directors uSing semi-structured interviews. The interviews generated a range of facets that comprise job Satisfaction. Relationships with the children was a primary source of satisfaction for most of these childcare professionals. Participants expressed that interacting with the children and observing their learning and development were important contributors to their feelings about their job. Relationships with parents also emerged as an important dimension of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the work. Teachers mentioned communication, team work and support from one another as important aspects of peer and supervisory relationships. The pay that teacher's received was not directly related to job satisfaction, as most reported choosing the field despite low pay. Some teachers said, however, they would change their profession, if they could not pay all their bills. Those who plan on remaining in the field often had a second source of income. As depicted above, pay played a greater role in life satisfaction than in job satisfaction. In regard to center characteristics, some teachers voiced frustration over the limited availability of supplies as well as stress regarding having too many children in the room. Personal needs such as receiving adequate breaks and flexibility in getting time off from work also were discussed as important contributors to their job satisfaction, particularly because teachers were primary caregivers at home. This research demonstrates the multifaceted nature of job satisfaction and the value of using interviews and qualitative analysis to identify salient aspects.