Survey Shows Teacher Disengagement Adds 2.3 Million Missed Days


A new survey from Gallup Daily tracking reports that K-12 teachers in the US who were labeled as "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" have been found to have missed 2.3 million more workdays than teachers who are "engaged."

Survey participants were placed in one of three categories, "engaged," "not engaged," or "actively disengaged" according to responses to questions concerning workplace elements. Those who received a rating of "engaged" did so because they were involved with, enthusiastic about and committed to their work. They know what their job requires and are constantly looking for ways to improve. Those labeled as "not engaged" were found to be satisfied with their jobs, but not emotionally connected and not likely to put more into their position than is required. "Actively disengaged" teachers were labeled as such due to being unhappy with their jobs, and letting that emotion carry through to effect their coworkers.

Of those who completed the survey, 30% were found to be engaged in their work. That percentage matches the national average for all workers, report Matt Hastings and Sangeeta Agrawal for Gallup.

The majority of participants, 57%, were found to be "not engaged," reporting an average of 11.5 unhealthy school days per year, which kept them from doing their normal job. This resulted in around 3.5 missed school days each year. All "not engaged" teachers in the US missed about 781,921 more days of work each year than "engaged" teachers did.

Around 13% of teachers were found to be "actively disengaged," which is lower than the national average for all workers of 18%. The average amount of unhealthy school days for this group came in at 20.4, resulting in around 6 missed workdays each year, more than twice the number of missed school days as reported by "engaged" teachers. Compared to engaged teachers, those labeled actively disengaged missed around 1,521,101 more work days.

In all, the findings show an estimation of over 2.3 million missed days of work each school year.

According to the study, absenteeism due to teacher disengagement lessens productivity within the school system. School districts are required to put more money into finding replacements, and substitute teachers replacing the regular teacher on a regular basis in a classroom can cause issues with the learning environment for students.

Unhealthy days were discovered through the question: "During the past 30 days, for about how many days did poor health keep you from doing your usual activities?"

A conversion factor was then used from previous Gallup studies where the following was asked: "Earlier, you indicated that you had xx days in the last month where poor health prevented you from doing your usual activities. How many actual workdays in the last month did you not work due to poor health?"

Telephone interviews were conducted between January 2013 and September 2014 using a subgroup of 6,711 full-time K-12 teachers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


01 16, 2015
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