SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING IN SCHOOLS FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF NOVICE TEACHERS
1 Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LATVIA)
2 Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LATVIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The recent Covid-19 pandemic and on-going education reforms in Latvia have caused new challenges as well as exacerbated old long-term problems of the general education system. One of them is attraction and retention of novice teachers in the education system. The aim of this research was to explore opinions of novice teachers about their subjective well-being in schools. The main research question was how novice teachers felt in their workplace and what support they needed to increase their well-being in schools. The paper focuses on subjective well-being assessment in schools from the perspective of novice teachers by analyzing part of the research results which were obtained during an online survey (N=814) conducted by the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees in 2022. The questionnaire comprised the statements on subjective well-being and professional support measures which were assessed by using a 5-point Likert scale (strongly agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, strongly disagree, no opinion/difficult to answer). The results provided evidence of a critical situation in terms of professional burnout that had a very negative effect on novice teachers’ well-being in the workplace. The study revealed that two out of ten novice teachers had experienced exhaustion, unwillingness to work, feelings of protest and anger. Every tenth respondent believed that they had suffered from a professional burnout syndrome already in the first years of work. At the beginning of their careers, novice teachers most often faced such challenges as the lack of information and experience, as well as inconsistency of expectations regarding learning outcomes with the reality, the negative attitude of students and parents towards them as novice teachers. A significant part of the respondents did not feel satisfaction from their job activities in their first years of work, because they had been preoccupied with work and overworked/overloaded. More than 40% of respondents felt extremely stressed at work and were able to fulfil their duties only with a great effort. Almost 40% agreed that they might leave the teaching profession in the next five years, which also explained the negative feelings regarding well-being in their work place. The authors conclude that a significant part of novice teachers feel overworked, cannot cope with their teaching responsibilities and consider leaving the teaching profession in the future, which is supported by the fact that a large number of novice teachers have not continued working in the teaching profession in the long term after having obtained their Bachelor’s degree.
Keywords: novice teachers, school, subjective well-being at workplace.