Improve Preschool Teacher Job Satisfaction with Mindfulness
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Teachers who engage in mindfulness-based practices have been shown to have lower cortisol levels and to be more responsive and compassionate towards their students, less emotionally reactive, and more intentional in their teaching practices.” – Meghan Robles
Stress is epidemic in the workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. In a school setting, this burnout and exhaustion not only affects teachers and administrators personally, but also the students and schools, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. If stress doesn’t produce burnout, it at least can produce lowered psychological well-being and job satisfaction and impair teaching performance.
Hence, there is a need to identify methods of reducing stress and improve teachers’ psychological health. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout in a number of work environments. But the relationship of mindfulness on preschool teacher’s job satisfaction has not been explored.
In today’s Research News article “Can Trait Mindfulness Improve Job Satisfaction? The Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction of Preschool Teachers: The Sequential Mediating Effect of Basic Psychological Needs and Positive Emotions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1796285_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20211223_arts_A ) Song and colleagues recruited kindergarten teachers and had them complete an online survey measuring mindfulness, positive emotions, job satisfaction, and basic psychological needs, including capacity needs, relationship needs, and autonomy needs.
They found that the higher the teacher’s level of mindfulness the higher the levels of basic psychological needs, positive emotions, and job satisfaction and the higher the level of positive emotions the higher the levels of basic psychological needs and job satisfaction. Modelling analysis revealed that mindfulness was associated with higher levels of job satisfaction directly and also indirectly by being associated with higher levels of basic psychological needs and positive emotions that were in turn associated with higher levels of job satisfaction.
These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But previous controlled studies have demonstrated that mindfulness training increases positive emotions, job satisfaction, and basic psychological needs. So, the present findings are probably due to causative effects of mindfulness. This suggests that mindfulness is an important determinant of the psychological well-being of kindergarten teachers leading to satisfaction with their work. This should decrease the likelihood of burnout and improve teaching performance. This further suggests that mindfulness training would be of great benefit for preschool teachers.
So, improve preschool teacher job satisfaction with mindfulness.
“Mindfulness can also help us to be more effective at reducing conflict and developing more positive ways of relating in the classroom, which can help us feel more job satisfaction.” – Patricia Jennings
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch
Song Z, Pan B and Wang Y (2021) Can Trait Mindfulness Improve Job Satisfaction? The Relationship Between Trait Mindfulness and Job Satisfaction of Preschool Teachers: The Sequential Mediating Effect of Basic Psychological Needs and Positive Emotions. Front. Psychol. 12:788035. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.788035
Objective: This study aims to explore the relationship between basic psychological needs and positive emotions of preschool teachers between trait mindfulness and job satisfaction.
Methods: Three hundred and ninety-eight preschool teachers were tested with mindfulness attention awareness scale, basic psychological needs scale, positive emotion scale, and job satisfaction scale.
Results: Preschool teachers trait mindfulness can predict job satisfaction (β = 0.265, p < 0. 001). Preschool teachers trait mindfulness has an indirect impact on job satisfaction through basic psychological needs (β = 0.059, p = 0.002), and preschool teachers trait mindfulness has an indirect impact on job satisfaction through positive emotions (β = 0.123, p < 0. 001). In addition, basic psychological needs and positive emotions play a sequential intermediary role between preschool teachers trait mindfulness and job satisfaction (β = 0.017, p < 0. 001).
Conclusion: Basic psychological needs and positive emotions play a sequential mediating role between preschool teachers trait mindfulness and job satisfaction, and this sequential mediating effect accounts for a high proportion of the total effect.