Journal of Technology Education

Journal of Technology Education

Current Editor: Chris Merrill, cpmerri@ilstu.edu
Previous Editors: Mark Sanders 1989-1997; James LaPorte: 1997-2010

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Volume 1, Number 2
Spring 1990

            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