Annual MetLife Teacher Survey Reveals Two-Thirds of Teachers Say Voices Unheard

Sixty-nine percent of teachers do not believe their voices are heard in the debate on education, according to the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success. Now in its 26th year, the MetLife Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive®, examines the views of teachers, principals, and students on their respective roles and responsibilities, current practices and priorities for the future. MetLife will release the full results over the next two months. The survey was conducted by telephone and online in October and November 2009.

Finding Teachers
Teachers who believe that their voices are not heard in debate on education 69%
Time per week spent in structured collaboration (average hours) 2.7
The teachers in a school share responsibility for the achievement of all students (% strongly agree) 80%
Greater collaboration among teachers and school leaders (% major impact on student achievement) 67%
At my school, the teachers, principals, and other school professionals trust each other (% strongly agree) 51%
Other teachers contribute to my success in the classroom (% strongly agree) 51%
If I do my job well, my students will benefit regardless of how the rest of the school functions (% strongly agree) 43%

The first of three reports, Part 1: Effective Teaching and Leadership, released today, focuses on what collaboration looks like in schools and to what degree it is currently practiced. Key findings include:

  • Teachers (69%) do not believe that their voices have been adequately heard in the debate on education.
  • Teachers (67%) and principals (78%) believe that increased collaboration among teachers and school leaders would have a major impact on improving student achievement.
  • Nearly all teachers engage in some type of collaborative activity at their school each week, on average, spending 2.7 hours per week in structured collaboration, with 24% of teachers spending more than 3 hours per week.

  • Schools with higher degrees of collaboration are associated with shared leadership and higher levels of trust and job satisfaction.
  • Teachers (80%) and principals (89%) believe that a school culture where students feel responsible and accountable for their own education would have a major impact on improving student achievement.
  • Teachers and students differ widely in their perceptions of student responsibility. Although most students (73%) strongly agree it is their responsibility to pay attention and do the work it takes to succeed in school, only 43% of teachers say that all or most of their students have this sense of responsibility.

“The 21st century work place teaches that an education is never complete,” said MetLife Chairman, President, and CEO C. Robert Henrikson. “Collaboration plays a tremendous role in today’s work environment, whether it’s with colleagues down the hall, across the nation or around the globe. This year’s survey looks at the school as a workplace, among its many functions, and asks if, how and to what extent teachers, principals and students work and learn together to increase their success.”

The second of the three reports, Part 2: Student Achievement, is slated for release the week of March 8, 2010 and will address collaboration more specifically as it relates to student goals and academic achievement, teacher expectations and what educators consider important ways to increase student achievement. The third and final report, Part 3: Teaching as a Career, will be released in late March 2010, and will examine collaboration in the context of addressing professional growth, experience level, and career path.

“The annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher is not just about asking, but also about listening,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We can learn much from those closest to the classroom about working together to increase student success.”


About the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success
MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success (2009) was conducted by Harris Interactive among a national sample of 1,003 public school teachers of grades K through 12, and 500 principals of grades K through 12, by telephone, and 1,018 public school students in grades 3 through 12 online between October 14 and November 13, 2009. The data were weighted to key demographic variables to align with the national population of the respective groups. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. In addition, an online strategy session was conducted on September 15, 2009 among a group of 25 public school teacher leaders, principals, and public education thought leaders to inform the development of the survey.

About MetLife
MetLife is a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. It has demonstrated its belief in education and contributes to its improvement in part through the sponsorship of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher series since 1984 to give voice to those closest to the classroom. MetLife Foundation places strong emphasis on education and draws on the findings of the Survey to inform its grantmaking. For more information about MetLife, please visit the company’s Web site at Additional information about the Foundation is available at

The reports for the entire series are now available online at with links to the ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) website:

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries and serves clients in over 215 countries and territories. For more information, please visit


Catherine Portman Topping
Ted Mitchell