Job Satisfaction Survey And TEFL

I recently spotted an article about job satisfaction, and which jobs the most recent General Social Survey – in which researchers randomly select and interviews more than 27,000 people representing a cross section of the US – found to be associated with job satisfaction. First, I’ll give you my take on what elements of EFL I find satisfying, then I’ll share my “official opinion” as a Sociology undergrad on the survey results.

What elements of EFL are satisfying? I think, like with all jobs, it depends on exactly what you’re doing…and probably on your own personality and perspective. For me, it’s satisfying to interact with people on a personal level and share ideas. EFL also of course includes the possibility of living abroad and experiencing different cultures, which, probably needless to say, I enjoy. I also value the way that EFL teachers are in a position to be creative and find innovative ways to convey, teach, or practice different elements of language. How often I get to do this varies, but in general I like that the potential is there.

The top ten jobs (meaning the ten where the most people said they were “very satisfied” with the job) according to the General Social Survey are:

Physical therapists
Special education teachers
Education administrators
Painters and sculptors
Security and financial services salespersons
Operating engineers
Office supervisors

Interestingly, looking at the “happiness results” – presumably determined by answers to general questions on happiness, rather than by directly asking people about their level of job satisfaction – the jobs held by the happiest people were:

Transportation ticket and reservation agents
Housekeepers and butlers
Hardware/building supplies salespersons
Mechanics and repairers
Special education teachers
Actors and directors
Science technicians

I find it intriguing (but not surprising) that this is a quite different list; I personally think it’s tied to the idea that, contrary to the beliefs or words of many people, it’s not a job – even a “good” one which gives high job satisfaction – that makes people happy in general. If it were, the second category would be identical to the first. What does make people happy? I think it’s a number of things and possibly the way we look at them, and I look at this conclusion as a positive one: you don’t need a certain job to be happy.

What parts of teaching EFL bring you job satisfaction?