How Are Teachers Feeling Around the World? New International Survey Offers Fresh Insights

How Are Teachers Feeling Around the World? New International Survey Offers Fresh Insights
© Taylor Wilcox

The first edition of the International Barometer on Education Personnel’s Health and Well-being, based on a survey of 8,000 teachers in six countries on three continents, offers a unique insight into the experiences of teachers in 2021. By analysing issues related to their working conditions, their feelings about their profession and their well-being, the Barometer aims to support national and international policies to promote the health and well-being of educational communities worldwide.

The survey highlights the worrying trivialization of school violence, as well as a lack of relevant training, of development prospects and of support from the hierarchy. While general health appears to be preserved, illustrating the resilience of the profession, the psychological health of teachers does nonetheless appear to be weakened in some countries, probably as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The data was collected between May and July 2021 by means of an Internet questionnaire sent out by the Education and Solidarity Network and its partners, to teachers from six different countries: French-speaking Belgium, France, Quebec, Mexico, Morocco and Gambia. The MGEN Foundation for Public Health carried out the statistical analysis of the answers received.

The statistics reveal a number of avenues for improvement that could be pursued to promote the well-being of teachers: more training and professional development opportunities, greater support from school leaders, higher salaries, but also better information on health and better occupational health.

How did the COVID-19 crisis affect education workers? How can we improve their occupational health?

As the International Barometer shows, at the end of the 2020/2021 school year, teachers around the world have been stretched to their limits. However, there are many different situations, linked to different local realities, whether socio-economic, cultural or circumstantial (end of school year, health situation, teleworking or not…).

The results suggest that the COVID-19 crisis has not only disrupted work/life balance but has also exacerbated pre-existing problems in the teaching profession. This is highlighted by a sense of imbalance between the efforts made by staff and the recognition received in terms of pay, professional development, promotion and security.

“The pandemic is a powerful reminder that the dedication and commitment of education personnel are assets that must be nurtured. Their health and well-being are fundamental to ensuring quality education,” says Matthias Savignac, President of the Education and Solidarity Network. “By bringing together the views and perspectives of international health, education and research actors, and by regularly repeating the surveys to monitor the evolution of the health of education personnel over the years, the Barometer aims to be a long-term tool to support the well-being of education communities,” he adds.