Teacher Morale: More complex than we think?

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The literature suggests that teacher morale is at an all time low in Australia (Hicks 2003; Smyth 2001) with teachers feeling undervalued, frustrated, unappreciated and demoralized (Smyth 2001; Senate Employment, Education and Training References Committee, A Class Act 1998). In this paper the author utilizes the data gathered in a recent study into teaching excellence awards (Mackenzie 2004) as the medium to explore and discuss the issue of teacher morale and to provide some tentative suggestions for improving morale as proposed by the study participants. If we accept a reciprocal relationship between teacher morale and student learning (Ramsey 2000; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2000), students in some schools may not be getting the best possible value from teachers affected by low morale. Participants in the Mackenzie (2004) study agreed that morale was generally lower than in previous times, although many suggested that morale was positive in their own schools. This suggests that morale may be more complex than has been previously understood, with three levels of morale operating concurrently for teachers, a concept which is explored in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Educational Researcher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


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