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The meaning of life and professional activities of a teacher

The study of the applied problems of the meaning of life is one of the most important tasks of personality psychology. In recent years, a number of studies have been carried out in which the connections between the meaning of life and the achievements of a professional person have been studied. The objective of our study is to identify whether educators include their professional activities as a significant component in their system of meaningful life orientations.

The statement of this problem is due to the results of a survey conducted by us with students of different ages and with adults. It turned out that the main factors in the formation of the meaning of human life are the example of parents and communication with peers. As for such an important factor as communication with teachers, it traditionally does not occupy higher than third place. Meanwhile, it is completely clear that one of the directions in the educational work of a teacher lies precisely in helping the child to think about the problem of the meaning of life, to realize its significance, to formulate general concepts about the meaning of life and to formulate the meaning of his own life.

In the work of V.E. Chudnovsky (1995) the meaning of life is considered as a special mental formation, which has its own specifics of occurrence, its stages of formation. It acquires “relative stability and emancipation from the conditions that gave rise to it, can significantly affect a person’s life, his fate” (1995, p. 16). This influence in many respects also depends on the place occupied by professional activity in the structure of life orientation.

To identify the degree of involvement of professional activities in the system of meaningful life orientation of a teacher, we conducted a survey of secondary school teachers and kindergarten teachers. In our study, we used the questionnaire “The Meaning of Life and Acme”, developed by a team of scientists of the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education under the guidance of V.E. Chudnovsky and A.A. Bodaleva.

The results of the questionnaire made it possible to analyze both the general ideas of the teacher about the meaning of life, and the content of the meaning of their life and its relationship with the teaching profession. The study was conducted in 2003 in the Kinel-Cherkassky district of the Samara region by employees of the Center for psychological, pedagogical and medical and social assistance to children and adolescents. The questionnaire was attended by 50 people, including from 19 to 30 years old - 18 people, from 30 to 40 years old - 12 people, from 41 years and above - 20 people. Among the questionnaires were teachers: with secondary education - 4 people (8%), with secondary specialized education - 20 people (40%), with incomplete higher education - 2 people (4%), with higher education - 24 (48%).

Data analysis was carried out by us for three age groups.

The first group (19-30 years old, 18 people). Three subgroups of young educators can be distinguished.

1a) Only 2 out of 18 people (11%) include pedagogical activity as part of life-orientation. They believe that they work as vocation teachers. It was the love of children that influenced the choice of the teaching profession. Education in the university, in their opinion, contributes to the acquisition of skills and advancement to the heights of their future pedagogical activity. In a broad sense, the meaning of life includes "achieving goals", "usefulness and need for people." The meaning of one’s own life consists, in particular, in “doing good”, “creating beauty”.

16) More than half of the respondents in this group - 10 out of 18 people (55%) - do not consider pedagogical activity as an important component of their meaningful life orientation system. The leading place in this system in some is taken by personal growth, self-improvement, career, in others - by children, family well-being. The most vivid formulations of the meaning of life: “learn to enjoy life, enjoy, be happy, realize oneself”, “live as the soul asks”, “the meaning of life in a strong family”. The meaning of life in broad terms: "procreation", "what it is worth living for," "the essence of life." Respondents, as a rule, did not indicate the grounds for choosing their profession. Only one person indicated “communication with teachers” as a significant factor, another noted the influence of American cinema, which “advertises the profession of a psychologist and a respectable image (office, fee).”

1c) Only among young teachers was a subgroup discovered that did not at all think about the problem of the meaning of their life. A significant number of respondents in this subgroup cause concern: 6 out of 18 people (33%). Although half of them were able to formulate a broad understanding of the meaning of life: “the purpose of life”, “what a person lives for, what he aspires to”, however, noting the great importance of the meaning of life, they did not specify its content.

An analysis of the results of a survey of young teachers shows the need to organize special work aimed at revealing the significance of the pedagogical profession and its connection with the meaning of the life of a professional person. It should be carried out both during the periods of choosing a profession and mastering it at a university, and starting from the first stages of an independent activity of a teacher.

The second group (31-40 years old, 12 people). Only two subgroups were found here.

2a) In the group of respondents with an average experience, significantly more teachers include their professional activities in the structure of life orientation: 5 out of 12 people (42%).

Formulating the meaning of their life, teachers consider the main thing to "implement their life plans in professional activities, in their personal lives," and the highest achievement in professional activity is "respect from my students."
The choice of their profession was influenced by work with children, natural inclinations, the family dynasty of teachers, an example of their own mentors.

The answers also highlight such meanings as family, children, well-being. Note that the choice of profession can be influenced not only by positive, but also by negative experience in communicating with a teacher. Thus, the “injustice of teachers” became a semantic factor at the time of admission to a pedagogical university with a teacher of 33 years with incomplete higher education. However, the action of this factor was not enough. The lack of satisfaction with their activities led to disappointment in the profession and in life, to the understanding that a person "is mistaken and the meaning turns into nonsense."

26) Compared with young teachers, more than half of respondents with average work experience - 7 out of 12 people (58%) - do not consider pedagogical activity as a significant component in their system of meaningful life orientations. The leading place in this system is occupied by: family, children, satisfying and good income work, interpersonal relationships. So, the respondents formulate the meaning of their life as follows: “the meaning of my life is a family”, “raise, learn, identify children”, “procreation”, “well-being of children, calm old age of parents”, “harmony in relations at home and at work” . It should be noted that although at the time of choosing a profession a strong influence on 6 people out of 7 was exerted by good, beloved teachers, parents, and professional activity among the teachers of this subgroup did not acquire the level of meaning.

The third group (over 40 years, 20 people). Among the teachers with great experience, three subgroups are identified.

for) The number of respondents is 8 out of 20, that is 40%. In this subgroup, educators highly value the significance of their profession and confidently include pedagogical activity in the system of their meaning-life orientations. They are characterized by such professional qualities as love for children, creativity at work. At the same time, family and children remain sense-forming orientations. Statements of the respondents are quite complete, often emotional. Here are some formulations of the meaning of life and attitudes toward work: the meaning of life is “in my wonderful work, in my magnificent parents, in my friends”, in “teaching the children good”. Here are two more quotes: “I love my job. I consider myself a professional in my field. I enjoy my work. ” “The example of a teacher, a nanny, influenced the choice of a profession.” It can be assumed that those “first teachers” successfully formed the value attitude to the pedagogical profession of their students, which they carried through years of study at the university and many years of activity.

zb) As in other age groups, more than half of the respondents (11 out of 20 people, that is 55%) do not include pedagogical activity in their system of meaningful life orientations. Their priority is to bring up their own children, grandchildren, family, setting new goals and objectives, a decent life, the desire to know themselves. Formulating the meaning of their life, they write: “raise the children to their feet”, “raise children and grandchildren kind, honest, love for God and others”, “my meaning is in knowing myself.” One of the respondents wrote that the choice of a profession was influenced by “love for a mathematics teacher”, and another pointed to an example of parents. Other answers include “having a job in a remote garrison,” but the role of the case is most often noted.

d) One out of 20 respondents (5%) did not disclose the meaning of the concept of the meaning of life in a broad sense and did not formulate the meaning of their life. It is noteworthy that certification turned out to be a fateful event on his life path, and interest in her influenced the choice of a profession. Given that the majority of respondents noted the possibility of changing the meaning of life with age, we suggested that the teacher had some difficulties due to his age characteristics.

The above analysis shows that in each of the selected age groups, more than half of the teachers (55-58%) did not include their professional activities as a significant component in the system of meaningful life orientations. How to explain this? Typical statements (“the higher I have finished poverty”, “I would like to grow, study further, but there are no material opportunities”, “a lot of injustice”) suggest that the situation in the country is affected by the content of life meanings, when teachers have material difficulties and a profession the teacher, the educator becomes prestigious, and money solves all problems. However, at the same time, a survey showed that some of the young teachers (11%) and 40-42% of teachers with experience consider their professional activity as a significant component in the system of life-orientation and remain confident in what R. Rozhdestvensky said. " ..if the earth remains to live, the teachers will become the highest dignity of mankind. ”
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The meaning of life and professional activities of a teacher

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