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New Publication on Teachers' Work Conditions and Well-Being during Lockdown

Published: 29-11-2021

Katharina Hilger and Susanne Scheibe, together with Melanie Keller and Anne Frenzel, published a study on changes in teacher's work conditions and well-being during lockdown. By comparing data from teachers before and during pandemic-induced school closures in Germany in 2020, they found that remote teaching is a double-edged sword for teachers. Although teachers' job demands (for example, emotional job demands of interacting with pupils) decreased, their job resources (for example, the social support they received from colleagues) decreased as well. Decreases in job demands went along with reduced fatigue and psychosomatic complaints, whereas decreases in job resources went along with lowered job satisfaction. Teachers with caretaking responsibilities and more experienced teachers were more vulnerable to the crisis as they experienced a smaller or no decrease in job demands in concert with diminished job resources.

The article can be found here.

 

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic extensively changed the work life of many employees. Teachers seemed particularly challenged, confronted with sudden remote teaching due to school closures. Drawing on the job demands–resources (JD-R) model, we investigated (a) changes in seven work characteristics (job demands: emotional demands, interpersonal conflict, workload; job resources: autonomy, social support, feedback, task variety) and three job-related well-being indicators (fatigue, psychosomatic complaints, job satisfaction), (b) how changes in work characteristics correlated with well-being, and (c) the impact of two individual difference factors (caretaking responsibilities, career stage). Data were collected in two waves (just prior to and a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic) across Germany from 207 teachers with an average work experience of 6 years (range: 1–36 years). Using latent change score (LCS) modeling, we found significant, small-to-medium-sized decreases over time for both job demands and resources as well as fatigue, with variability in the magnitude of changes. Decreases in job demands correlated with decreases in fatigue and psychosomatic complaints, whereas decreases in job resources correlated with decreases in job satisfaction. Teachers with caretaking responsibilities and more experienced teachers were more vulnerable to the crisis as they experienced a smaller or no decrease in job demands in concert with diminished job resources. These findings reveal the double-edged consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for teachers’ work life.