Supervision of the midlife teacher: Job satisfaction and motivation

Linda Helena Alvarez-Cruz, Fordham University


The study examined the job satisfaction/dissatisfaction and motivation of experienced elementary school teachers in their mid-adult life cycle (40-47 years old). It compared this midlife group to teachers in other adult developmental stages, ages 23-32, 33-39, 48-55+ using Herzberg's (1966) 14 indicators of job satisfaction. It is apparent from the works of Edmonds (1977); Herzberg (1966); and Krupp (1981), that the problem of job satisfaction and motivation is important in the study of teacher productivity and effectiveness. The questions studied were: (1) Were there factors that contributed to job satisfaction for teachers in the various adult life cycles? (2) Were there factors that contributed to job dissatisfaction for teachers in the various adult life cycles? (3) Was there a relationship between the factors of job satisfaction of the mid-adult teacher and the factors of job satisfaction of the teachers in other age groups in the study? (4) Can we use the research on life span transitions to better understand and meet the needs of teachers in the various life cycles? (5) Based on a knowledge of teacher needs and their adult developmental stages, are there techniques that can be used by the principal in the organization of the school to improve the job satisfaction and increase the motivation of the staff? Survey theory was employed. A questionnaire survey constructed by the researcher--Job Satisfaction of Teachers Questionnaire--was used to survey 220 elementary school teachers in three city school districts in New York State: New York City, Newburgh, and Yonkers. Study variables included age and 14 factors identified as contributors to job satisfaction/dissatisfaction. An analysis of variance compared the targeted group (40-47 year olds) to the other age groups for level of job satisfaction and midlife concerns. The study found that two factors, advancement and salary, created dissatisfaction for teachers in all age groups; that the 23-32 year old teachers were significantly more satisfied than the targeted group for the factor status; and that the 40-47 and the 48-55+ groups identified with the midlife concerns significantly more than the 23-32 year olds. Recommendations were made for school principals to impact upon these factors in order to effect school improvement.

Subject Area

School administration|Teacher education|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Alvarez-Cruz, Linda Helena, "Supervision of the midlife teacher: Job satisfaction and motivation" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109248.