Journal of Technology Education


JTE Editor: Mark Sanders

Volume 1, Number 2
Spring 1990


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Personal and Professional Needs of Technology Teachers
 
                     Jule Dee Scarborough(1)
 
                          INTRODUCTION
 
               In 1987, the Research Committee of the
          International Technology Education Associ-
          ation (ITEA) initiated a study of the per-
          sonal and professional needs of technology
          teachers.  The Committee felt that the plan-
          ning of educational programs for preservice
          and inservice technology teachers should be
          based on their needs, both personal and pro-
          fessional.  Their rationale was that if
          teachers' needs were not met, teacher per-
          formance and educational effectiveness would
          suffer.  Some needs can be addressed with ed-
          ucational solutions, others with changes in
          management, and still others by looking at
          factors of the teachers' lives that lie out-
          side the professional arena.  This needs as-
          sessment was organized on the basis of
          extrinsic and intrinsic factors in the
          workplace of the technology teacher.
               After reviewing the survey responses
          from the technology teachers, the Committee
          decided to sample secondary school English,
          mathematics, and science teachers as well and
          compare the responses across fields.  The
          Committee hypothesized that the needs of tra-
          ditional academic teachers, technology teach-
          ers, and laboratory and nonlaboratory-setting
          teachers might differ.  Unfortunately, the
          response to this second survey was insuffi-
          cient to warrant such comparisons.
 
                           BACKGROUND
 
               Existing literature identifies several
          major reasons for professional dissatisfac-
          tion on the part of educators.  Liebes (1983)
          and Kreis and Milstein (1985) mention low en-
          rollments, economic difficulties in educa-
          tion, and lack of sufficient professional
          opportunities for teachers as reasons for
          teachers' dissatisfaction in the profession
          and as affecting factors regarding ways in
          which their needs are not being met.  In dis-
          cussing the teachers' needs, these authors
          relate self-perception to needs fulfillment
          through work.
               The Kreis and Milstein (1985) study fo-
          cused on teacher job satisfaction using
          Maslow's hierarchical concepts.  Their re-
          sults indicated that teachers' needs fulfill-
          ment is not totally consistent with the
          hierarchical arrangement described by re-
          searchers such as:  Maslow (1954); Porter
          (1963); Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman
          (1966, 1967); Argyris (1971); Hinrichs
          (1974); and Sergiovanni and Carver (1975).
          The Kreis and Milstein study results indi-
          cated there was a significant relationship
          between job satisfaction and needs fulfill-
          ment.  However, the conclusion that job sat-
          isfaction is related to a hierarchical
          arrangement of needs was not supported.
          Their results suggested teachers seek to sat-
          isfy some of their needs outside of the
          school setting, and that job satisfaction oc-
          curs when teachers perceive that what they
          are getting from the job matches what they
          perceive as being needed from the job.
               Kreis and Milstein also discussed major
          changes in society and teaching as reasons
          why the study outcomes differed from the
          findings of earlier research.  They identify
          teacher activities such as disciplinary
          tasks, nonparticipative bureaucratic struc-
          tures, changes in working conditions, differ-
          ences in the personal characteristics of
          teachers, older work force, and little in-
          fusion of younger teachers as possible rea-
          sons for the perceived needs of teachers not
          being met in their professional lives.
               Teachers spend a great deal of their
          time on nonteaching- related activities.
          Kreis and Milstein suggested that if the per-
          formance of schools is to improve, the needs
          of teachers must be addressed and satisfied
          within the professional arena of their lives.
          They concluded there should be diagnostic ef-
          forts to establish the needs of teachers as
          individuals followed by programs that address
          those needs.
               Liebes' (1983) study suggested that
          teachers with experience undergo mid-life
          crises.  She believes that the determining
          factor is the number of years of teaching ex-
          perience rather than the age of the teacher.
          She also believes that if schools want to
          maintain quality educational programs, they
          must respond to these predictable crises by
          instituting active programs designed to ad-
          dress (on individual bases) stress and other
          career-related crises on the job.  She sug-
          gested short-term career counseling and an
          ongoing participative staff development
          model.  This model prescribes individual con-
          ferences with administrators and teachers, a
          job-environment match analysis, and a school-
          based staff development model in which team
          building, faculty needs assessments,
          participative design of staff development by
          teachers, and program evaluation are ad-
          dressed.  She believes that this kind of
          total program will provide strategies that
          will address large numbers of experienced
          teachers who are dissatisfied.
               In yet another school of thought,
          Cardinelli (1980) indicated that teacher dis-
          satisfaction is no different from any other
          professional dissatisfaction.  The mid-life
          crisis syndrome is a normal, developmental,
          and generally predictable stage in adult life
          that occurs between roughly 30 and 50 years
          of age.  He maintains that "burn-out" is not
          abnormal, and that the best way to combat it
          is to recognize it, plan for it, and imple-
          ment strategies to help deal with it.
          Miller, Taylor, and Walker (1982) support
          this notion with their in-depth study of the
          aging teaching force.
 
                           PROCEDURES
 
               A random sample of 1,000 secondary-level
          technology teachers was selected from the
          ITEA membership list.  A questionnaire was
          designed, approved by the ITEA Board of Di-
          rectors, and mailed to the teachers identi-
          fied.  A single follow-up questionnaire was
          sent to nonrespondents.  Due to lack of fund-
          ing, additional follow-up procedures were not
          possible.
 
                      RESULTS OF THE STUDY
 
               The two mailings to the technology
          teachers resulted in the return of 357 usable
          questionnaires (36%).  The number of usable
          responses to each question, however, varied.
          The findings are detailed in Tables 1 and 2
          and are described below.
 
          DEMOGRAPHICS
               The largest category of respondents
          (32.2%) were senior high school teachers.
          About one-fifth (22.4%) indicated that they
          were junior high teachers.  Another fifth
          (18.8%) indicated that they had a dual as-
          signment at both junior and senior high
          school level.  See Table 1.
               The respondents were asked to specify
          their primary areas of teaching.  The major-
          ity of respondents taught two or more of the
          areas listed -- communications, energy, pro-
          duction, transportation.  Seventeen percent
          indicated "other" and wrote in specific
          areas.  The areas most often mentioned in the
          category were professional (university),
          drafting, electronics, manufacturing, com-
          puter, and construction.
               Nearly three-fourths (72.6%) of the re-
          spondents were from urban/suburban areas.
          Nearly sixty-three percent call their program
          "industrial arts," and 29.2% call their pro-
          grams "technology education."  A majority of
          the respondents (64.4%) indicated that they
          teach in unit shops; the most frequently
          named were woods, drafting, metals, and
          graphic arts.  The remaining respondents
          teach in general shops or clusters.
 
TABLE 1
DEMOGRAPHIC DATA

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Category                                                   n       %

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Teaching Level (n=357)

 

  Senior High                                              115      32.2

  Junior High                                               80      22.4

  Junior/Senior High                                        67      18.8

  Post-Secondary                                             4       1.1

  Teacher Education (University)                            54      15.1

  Industrial technology (University)                        12       3.4

  Other (e.g., administrators, etc.)                        25       7.0

 

Areas of Teaching (n=376)

 

  Communications                                            74      19.7

  Energy                                                    18       4.8

  Production                                                66      17.6

  Transportation                                            16       4.3

  Several of the above                                     137      36.4

  Other (e.g., drafting, mechanical drawing,                65      17.3

  administration, construction, hot metal,

  computer, power tech., photography,

  cabinet making)

 

School Location (n=354)

 

  Urban/Metropolitan                                       118      33.3

  Suburban                                                 139      39.3

  Rural                                                     97      27.4

 

Program Type (n=353)

 

  Industrial Arts                                          221      62.6

  Vocational                                                29       8.2

  Technology Education                                     103      29.2

 

Program Classroom Type (n=345)

 

  Unit Shop                                                222      64.4

  General Shop                                              75      21.7

  Cluster                                                   48      13.9

 

Age (n=356)

 

  35 or under                                               87      24.5

  36 - 45                                                  125      35.1

  46 - 55                                                  107      30.1

  56 to over 65                                             37      10.3

 

Sex (n=356)

 

  Female                                                    13       3.7

  Male                                                     343      96.4

 

Number of Years Teaching (n=354)

 

  0 - 10                                                    84      23.7

  11 - 23                                                  166      46.9

  14 - 35                                                   99      28.0

  Over 35                                                    5       1.4

------------------------------------------------------------------------


 
          The category of teaching experience indicated
          by the largest proportion of respondents was
          "11 - 23 years." Fewer than four percent of
          the respondents were female.
 
          JOB ENVIRONMENT
               In general, the respondents were posi-
          tive about their job environments.  Two-
          thirds or more of the respondents indicated
          that the following job environment factors
          were "good" or "very good":  Safety (80.0%),
          Job Security (74.1%), Working Hours (72.8%),
          Vacation/Leisure time (72.0)%, and Job Sta-
          bility (70.4%).  On the other hand, more than
          one-third of the respondents felt that two
          items were "poor" or "very poor": Incentives
          (38.4%) and Promotion (36.1%).  See Table 2.
 
          PROFESSIONAL IMAGE AND DEVELOPMENT
               A large majority (85.4%) of the respond-
          ents rated their professional self-confidence
          "good" or "very good;" over three-fourths
          (78.4%) rated their self-esteem in these two
          categories.  Though only 13.4% of the re-
          spondents indicated that their professional
          development was "poor" or "very poor," a sub-
          stantial number felt that the funding for
          professional creativity (45.4%) and the fund-
          ing for professional development (46.2%) was
          "poor" or "very poor."
 
          JOB SATISFACTION, PROMOTION, AND SALARY
               Over two-thirds of the respondents
          (69.4%) rated their job as "good" or "very
          good."  However, only about a third rated the
          Industrial Arts/Technology Education profes-
          sion in these two positive categories.
          Nearly two-thirds (63.6%) felt that promo-
          tional opportunities were "poor" or "very
          poor." Roughly one-third (33.4%) of the re-
          spondents felt that their salary was "good"
          or "very good" while another third (34.0%)
          felt their salary was "poor" or "very poor."
          Over one-third (37.8%) had taken some action
          toward finding another job within the past
          two years.
 
TABLE 2
JOB ENVIRONMENT FACTORS

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                Percent by Category

                                                ----------------------

                                          Very                    Very

Descriptor                                Poor  Poor  Okay  Good  Good

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

                   Description of Job Environment

 

Atmosphere (n=349)                        1.7   7.4   22.9  39.8  28.1

 

Working hours (n=349)                     1.1   2.3   23.8  44.1  28.7

 

Personal Safety (n=350)                   0.0   4.9   15.1  35.7  44.3

 

Job security (n=348)                      2.3   6.6   17.0  35.3  38.8

 

Job stability (n=354)                     2.3   7.6   19.7  34.5  35.9

 

Salary (n=355)                            3.9  16.1   33.8  33.8  12.4

 

Promotion (n=343)                        13.4  22.7   30.3  22.7  10.8

 

Incentives (n=344)                       12.8  25.6   36.3  18.3   7.0

 

Benefits (n=350)                          2.3  11.1   27.1  45.2  14.3

 

Vacation/leisure time (n=347)             2.0   4.6   21.3  42.9  29.1

 

Facilities and equipment (n=354)          2.5  10.7   33.9  37.6  15.3

 

School-wide discipline (n=341)            2.1  12.6   23.5  43.1  18.7

 

Students' academic capabilities (n=342)   1.2   9.7   37.4  44.7   7.0

 

Stress level (n=337)                      4.5  15.4   47.8  25.2   7.1

 

Boredom level (n=318)                     6.6  13.2   44.0  26.1  10.1

 

Co-worker cooperation                                  

 and support (n=348)                      1.4   7.8   25.3  40.2  25.3

 

Administrative cooperation

 and support (n=349)                      5.7  10.3   27.8  36.7  19.5

 

Guidance counselor support (n=324)        8.3  20.1   40.7  21.9   9.0

 

Community/parental support (n=325)        1.8  15.4   40.6  32.0  10.2

 

State Department

 of Education support (n=334)            10.5  20.4   29.6  26.6  12.9

 

                            Professional

 

Prestige from the profession(n=354)       1.4  11.6   27.1  40.7  19.2

 

Professional self-esteem (n=351)          0.6   3.4   17.4  48.7  29.9

 

Professional self-confidence (n=350)      0.0   1.4   13.1  49.4  36.0

 

Familiarity with new

 national standards (n=350)               1.7  13.6   29.7  35.7  19.3

 

                       Professional Development

 

Professional development support(n=340)   4.8  18.6   34.3  29.4  12.9

 

Opportunities for professional

 development (n=344)                      2.9  17.4   31.1  32.3  16.3

 

Funding for professional

 development (n=344)                     16.0  30.2   24.8  14.0  15.1

 

Opportunities for professional

 recognition (n=345)                      4.0  21.2   40.3  23.8  10.7

 

Opportunities for professional

 creativity (n=344)                       1.7  11.4   28.5  37.8  20.6

 

Funding for professional

 creativity (n=344)                      16.2  39.2   26.8  14.5   3.3

 

                       Job Satisfaction Factors

 

Tried to find another job

 in past 2 years (n=349)                 Yes   37.8   No    62.2

 

Rating of job at present time (n=346)     1.2   4.3   25.1  46.3  23.1

 

Rating of the I.A./Tech. Ed.

 profession (n=344)                       0.9  18.6   45.9  31.7   2.9

 

                          Promotion and Salary

 

Possibilities for promotion (n=339)      32.7  30.9   18.6  14.2   3.6

 

Possibilities for salary                 11.5  22.5   32.6  24.5   8.9

 increases (n=347)



              Acceptability of Alternatives to Promotion

 

Professional travel (n=324)              31.9   6.2   14.8  37.0  40.1

 

Summer pay for curriculum

 development (n=320)                      2.8   5.3   11.9  39.3  40.7

 

Computers in lab (n=307)                  3.9   6.2   17.9  28.7  43.3

 

Leadership opportunities (n=301)          0.3   4.7   23.9  35.2  35.9

 

          Acceptability of Alternatives to Salary Increases

 

Professional travel (n=276)               7.6  10.5   17.8  27.9  36.2

 

Summer pay for curriculum

 Development (n=270)                      6.3   6.3   17.4  33.3  36.7

 

Computers in lab (n=261)                  7.3   8.0   21.9  29.9  32.9

 

Leadership opportunities (n=264)          5.7  12.1   21.6  33.7  26.9

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
               Respondents who felt that they had
          reached their limit in promotional opportu-
          nities or salary increases were asked to rate
          the acceptability of alternatives.  As an al-
          ternative to promotion, over 70% of these re-
          spondents rated travel to professional
          meetings, summer pay for curriculum develop-
          ment, computers in the laboratory, and lead-
          ership opportunities as "good" or "very good"
          alternatives.  Summer pay for curriculum de-
          velopment was rated as the most acceptable
          alternative of the four.  Eighty percent
          rated it in one or the other of the top two
          categories.
               Of those who felt that they had reached
          the top of their potential for salary, a
          lesser proportion found the alternatives to
          be acceptable.  Nonetheless, the alternatives
          were found to be "good" or "very good" by
          more than 60% of the respondents.  Again,
          summer pay for curriculum development was
          most acceptable with 70% rating this alterna-
          tive to salary increases in one of the top
          two categories.
 
                           CONCLUSIONS
 
               This survey presents information that
          indicates that technology teachers feel much
          more positively about themselves and their
          profession than is perceived through inter-
          action, media, and professional meetings.
          The results of this study provide some evi-
          dence that teachers are positive about their
          field, professional image, working condi-
          tions, and that they are generally satisfied
          with their jobs.  The respondents also seem
          to be open to nontraditional alternatives to
          salary increases and promotion if they have
          reached their perceived limit in these two
          areas.
               Administrators should consider innova-
          tive alternatives for compensation, pro-
          motion, and recognition.  They should also
          consider nontraditional practices to provide
          for the professional development and in-
          creased creativity of teachers.
 
                         RECOMMENDATIONS
 
               Based on the findings several recommen-
          dations are offered for consideration.
          First, administrators should assess the per-
          sonal and professional needs of local teach-
          ers.  There is reason to believe that these
          needs may differ by discipline.  Second,
          teachers and administrators should work
          cooperatively to provide resources to develop
          an ongoing program of professional develop-
          ment for teachers and and the programs they
          serve.  Third, this study should be repli-
          cated using a sample that represents the
          total profession of technology teachers
          rather than only members of a professional
          association.  It is quite likely that members
          of ITEA would differ significantly in their
          responses compared to the profession at
          large.  Last, resources must be allocated to
          assure that adequate follow-up precedures can
          be implemented to assure representativeness.
          None of these recommendations are sufficient
          or complete in and of themselves, but in com-
          bination they may be enough to make a sub-
          stantial difference in more effectively
          actualizing the personal/professional needs
          of technology teachers, which in turn should
          improve and enhance academic programs.
 
          ----------------
          1   Jule Dee Scarborough is Associate Professor, Northern 
              Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois.  The author is 
              indebted to David Bjorkquist, Jay Smink, Ernest Savage, 
              Ed Pytlik, Fred Illott, and Andrew Schultz who also 
              worked on this project.
 
 
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          Permission is given to copy any
          article or graphic provided credit is given and
          the copies are not intended for sale.
 
Journal of Technology Education   Volume 1, Number 2       Spring 1990

DLA Ejournal Home | JTE Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search JTE and other ejournals