Personal and Professional Well-Being Among Early Childhood Teachers: Are They Related?

Personal and Professional Well-Being Among Early Childhood Teachers: Are They Related?

Sanja Tatalović Vorkapić (Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Rijeka, Croatia) and Renata Čepić (Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Rijeka, Croatia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1185-5.ch013
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Abstract

Early childhood teachers' work satisfaction is an essential prerequisite for their work attainments and quality work outcomes. At the same time, besides their professional well-being, their personal well-being is of utmost importance, which raises the question about the nature of their relatedness. Therefore, this study was aimed to explore the personal and professional well-being among Croatian early childhood teachers. A total of 179 early childhood teachers from the Kindergarten “Rijeka” have participated in this research. Results showed that early education teachers were moderately satisfied with their work. Similarly, results about their personal well-being demonstrated moderate to high levels of optimism, positive emotions, flow, and life satisfaction. Correlation analyses revealed significant positive relationship between high levels of all personal well-being dimensions and high level of work satisfaction. Additionally, it was determined that older and highly experienced early childhood teachers are significantly less satisfied with work and less optimistic.
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Introduction

Focusing on the well-being of all participants within the complete educational system is not only a necessity but also the main aim of educational curriculums all over the world. Croatian national curriculum of an early and preschool care and education (2014) emphasized that the well-being of children of an early and preschool age is the main purpose for the educational work in kindergartens. Analyzing the significant determinates of children’s well-being, it was determined that the well-being of their teachers showed to be the most significant one, which is clearly emphasized in the statement of McCallum and Price (2010): “Well teachers, well students“. The preservation of the teachers’ well-being is crucial when trying to achieve a high quality of the educational process. Therefore, early childhood teachers’ work satisfaction is an essential prerequisite to their work attainments and quality work outcomes. At the same time, besides their professional well-being, their personal well-being is of utmost importance, which raises the question about the nature of their relatedness, since total well-being of teachers is a multidimensional concept (McCallum, Price, Graham & Morrison, 2017). One of the well-known definition of the educator’s well-being is that well-being is “the positive emotional state resulting from the harmony between all the environmental factors on the one hand and the personal needs and expectations of the educators on the other” (Aelterman, Engels, Van Petegem & Verhaeghe, 2007).

Therefore, this study aimed to explore the personal and professional well-being among Croatian early childhood teachers. Personal well-being in this study presents the set of several significant positive characteristics of early childhood educators. So, personal well-being is operationalized and defined by an early childhood teachers’ optimism, positive emotions, flow and life satisfaction. On the other side, their professional well-being is measured by their work satisfaction. Since, there is a lack of similar researches in our country, especially in the field of an early and preschool care and education, it is very contributing to run this study in Croatia. Acquired data should result in practical implications for educator’s work improvement from the aspect of positive psychology at the workplace. Therefore, this study points out the importance of research in the field of an early and pre-school education and contributes to improving the educators’ profession. Expanding the scientific knowledge to early education teachers about their professional and personal well-being, and exploring and taking into account the empirical evidence as the basis for quality work, work achievements and quality of work outcomes in the field of an early and pre-school education could be improved.

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