Open Access Dissertation
Teachers are unhappy, stressed, and leaving the field at an alarming rate. This paper analyzes how teacher happiness is related to resilience and retention. It also looks for patterns that identify what happy teachers do differently at work. To complete this investigation, current K-12 public school teachers throughout Iowa completed electronic surveys that assessed their happiness, resilience, and work life. These surveys included the Subjective Happiness Scale (Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999), the Brief Resilience Scale (Smith, et al., 2008), and 14 additional survey questions created by the researcher. Correlational, comparative, and descriptive analyses were completed to examine potential relationships and patterns in the data.
Results showed a significant positive correlation between teacher happiness and resilience. Positive connections were also found between happiness and school culture and climate. In addition, teachers who participated in greater numbers of supportive practices at work were found to have significantly higher levels of happiness. These results indicate that happier teachers are better equipped to manage stress at work, which may help prevent them from leaving the field. Results also suggest that when school leaders provide adequate resources, a positive climate and culture to work in, and an opportunity to celebrate progress with their colleagues, teachers are happier. This paper provides evidence that when educator happiness is addressed and supported in the workplace, teachers flourish.
Year of Submission
Doctor of Education
Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies
Robert Boody, Chair, Dissertation Committee
1 PDF file (xi, 30 pages)
©2023 Jill Marie Hayes White
White, Jill Marie Hayes, "The critical role of happiness in education: Resilience, retention, and what happy teachers do differently" (2023). Dissertations and Theses @ UNI. 1328.