Perceptions of future and current teachers on the organization of elementary schools: A dissonance approach to the investigation of job satisfaction
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The study compares the satisfaction ratings of future and current elementary school teachers with respect to the main aspects of school organization and administration. Data were collected from 66 in-service teachers and 79 preservice teachers in Cyprus. The application of factor analysis on the data resulted in the identification of the following main dimensions of school organization: headmaster's role, school organization, school climate, teacher incentives/work conditions, inspector's role and teachers' role. The comparison of the satisfaction ratings of future and current teachers on the above factors produced the following findings: first, the ratings of the two groups differed significantly for the first four factors. Secondly, future teachers reported lower satisfaction ratings than their in-service counterparts in the headmaster's role, school organization and school climate factors and higher ratings on the teacher incentives/work conditions factor. These discrepancies are considered to constitute causes of concern for educational policy-makers. The high expectations of future teachers on the teacher incentives/work conditions factor are viewed as a probable subsequent cause of cognitive dissonance and job dissatisfaction. On the other hand, the low expectations of future teachers with respect to three factors (headmaster's role, school organization, school climate) are likely to reduce their initial enthusiasm for their job. The implications of the findings for teacher training programmes are discussed, and suggestions are made on ways of reducing discrepancies between the expectations of future teachers and the realities of the workplace.