23 SES 12 D, Teacher Professionalism
Parallel Paper Session
Previous research indicated that Belgian teachers find joy and satisfaction in teaching (Elchardus et al, 2009). Still, on average they stop working earlier than persons employed in other sectors and retire on a relatively young age (Elchardus & Cohen, 2003). Half of the Belgian men and women aged 45 to 65 does not work. Among the teachers there are even less who work up to the retirement age of 65. And even teachers who work until the age of 60 are rather scarce (Elchardus et al, 2009). Most of them use early retirement opportunities and that way considerable expertise will disappear from the age of 56 to 58.
Combined with the rather low popularity of the teaching profession among young people, this may lead to a structural shortage of teachers in the coming decades (Elchardus et al, 2009). The percentage of teachers aged over 45 has steadily increased in recent years and is now considerably higher than in other working sectors. The baby boom generation, born after the Second World War, could easily meet the growing demand for teachers in the late sixties and throughout the seventies. That generation stands now on the eve of retirement and wishes to leave the labor market at a very young age.
Although there are several assumptions about the motives of why teachers retire earlier, there are few hard facts. It is for instance not certain that raising the retirement age may solve the shortage problem. Instead it can lead to a transfer to the systems of disability and long-term illness. Certainly, because there are indications that senior teachers have a poorer health than other professionals (Elchardus et al, 2009). They report more physical problems as well as higher stress scores. Besides, their job satisfaction appears to decline with age. Therefore, there is a need for a sound and innovative policy that meets the necessity to keep people (teachers) longer in the labor market, but also meets the specific desires and expectations of older teachers. In order for such innovative policies and to keep teachers more motivated in employment, we need a better view on the underlying reasons why teachers leave their jobs early, but also on the conditions and motivations that keep teachers longer working. The paper will focus on these aspects and hopes to contribute to a policy for senior teachers and a policy that contributes to keep teachers in a mentally and physically healthy way to share their expertise in schools.
In this paper we examine both the factors influencing the desired retirement age as the factors that influence the effective exit decision. The analysis will focus primarily on testing the influence of factors cited by international research (Henkens & Tazelaar, 1994 ; Henkens, 1999; Steyaert & Janssens, 1998; Szinovacz & Deviney, 2000; Kyriacou, 2001; Aelterman et al., 2002 ; Vogels & Bronneman-Helmers 2006; Ballet, 2007; Schils, 2008;). These are social demographic parameters, financial considerations, health status such as the influence of work on health, stress, burn-out. Also the influene of working conditions such as the satisfaction with teaching and non-teaching related workload, leisure aspirations and early retirement possibilities will be analysed.
Aelterman, A., Engels, N., Van Petegem, K., Verhoeven, J. C., Buvens, I., & Rots, I. (2002). Waar staat de leraar in de samenleving? Een onderzoek naar opvattingen over de professionaliteit en de maatschappelijke waardering van leerkrachten. Gent: Academia Press. Ballet, K. (2007). Worstelen met werkdruk. De ervaring van intensificatie bij leerkrachten in het basisonderwijs. (Studia Paedagogica 43). Leuven: Universitaire Pers Leuven. Elchardus, M., & Cohen, J. (2003). Gedrag en verwachtingen in verband met het einde van de loopbaan (5 deelrapporten). Brussel: Onderzoeksgroep TOR/Vakgroep Sociologie. Elchardus, M., Huyge, E., Kavadias, D., Siongers, J., & Vangoidsenhoven, G. (2009). Leraars. Profiel van een beroepsgroep. Tielt: LannooCampus. Henkens, K. (1999). Retirement Intentions and Spousal Support: A Multi-Actor Approach. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 54B(2), S63-S73. Henkens, K., & Tazelaar, F. (1994). Early Retirement of Civil Servants in the Netherlands. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24(21), 1927-1943. Huberman, A. M., & Vandenberghe, R. (Eds.). (1999). Understanding and preventing teacher burnout. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kyriacou, C. (2001). Teachers stress: directions for future research. Educational Review, 53(1), 27-35. Schils, T. (2008). Early Retirement in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom: A Longitudinal Analysis of Individual Factors and Institutional Regimes. European Sociological Review, 24(3), 315-329. Steyaert, S., Janssens, F., & Hellings, S. (1998). Werkdruk en arbeidsorganisatie in het onderwijs. Informatiedossier. Stichting Technologie Vlaanderen. Szinovacz, M. E., & Deviney, S. (2000). Marital Characteristics and Retirement Decisions. Research on Aging, 22(5), 470-498.
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