Factors affecting teacher morale in Putnam County schools

Sonja C Wilson-Seay, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to (a) assess the perceptions of morale of teachers in the Putnam County school district in the Middle Tennessee Region; (b) compare the level of teacher morale of the Putnam County school teachers to a normative (n = 3023) sample; and, (c) establish baseline data for future teacher morale comparative analysis studies within the Putnam County school district. In addition, this study sought to determine whether demographic factors, such as level of students taught (i.e., elementary, middle, or high school); years of teaching experience (i.e., 0-3 years, 4-10 years, 11-15 years, 16-20 years, or 21 or more years); gender (male or female); and, highest educational degree attained (undergraduate and graduate) played any significant role in the level of morale among the teacher groups. The study utilized a quantitative, survey research design. Three hundred fifty-six (356) teachers, 88.5% females (n = 315) and 11.5% males ( n = 41), from all tiers within the Putnam County school district were administered the 100-item Purdue Teacher Opinionaire (PTO) online. The PTO was designed by Bentley and Rempel (1980) for teachers to anonymously express their opinions concerning their work and various school problems within their respective school environments. Teachers were requested to indicate the degree to which they agreed or disagreed on items representing 10 factors using a four point Likert scale (from 4= strongly agree to 1= strongly disagree). Together, these 10 factors make up Teacher Morale. These factors include: (1) Teacher Rapport with the Principal, (2) Satisfaction with Teaching, (3) Rapport among Teachers, (4) Teacher Salary, (5) Teacher Load, (6) Curriculum Issues, (7) Teacher Status, (8) Community Support of Education, (9) School Facilities and Services , and (10) Community Pressures. Among the study's major findings include: (a) elementary school teachers reported significantly higher levels of Teacher Load and Community Pressures and significantly lower levels of Teacher Rapport with Principal and School Facilities and Services than did the middle and high school teachers; (b) beginning teachers (teachers with fewer than three years of experience) reported significantly lower levels in Teacher Salary and Teacher Status than the more experienced teachers; (c) Teachers with graduate degrees reported significantly greater levels of Satisfaction with Teaching than the teachers with undergraduate degrees; and, (d) although no significant differences were noted in overall teacher morale between males and females, males did report higher levels of Teacher Rapport with Principal, Teacher Salary, Teacher Status, and Community Support of Education. Implications for administrators are addressed, and recommendations are made. Some recommendations include conducting individual teacher morale, or climate, surveys within each school setting, scheduling interviews with teachers, and replacing and/or combining the PTO with other climate or organizational health inventories.

Subject Area

School administration|Educational psychology|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Sonja C Wilson-Seay, "Factors affecting teacher morale in Putnam County schools" (2015). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3723754.