Factors that influence educator work performance in four primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
Effective schools are a pre-requisite for the transformation of society. However, for schools to function effectively, educators must work to their optimum levels, showing commitment, dedication and enhanced work performance. It is a challenge for school managers and policy implementers to ensure that educator's work performance is enhanced in the workplace. In this study I undertook to investigate factors that influence educator work performance. The rationale for the study took into consideration the constant demands placed on educators. By illuminating the factors that affect educator work performance, it is hoped that educators would receive the necessary support, assistance and guidance from all stakeholders in education so that educators may face and overcome current challenges in education, thus promoting work performance. As a result, educators will be able to execute their roles and responsibilities effectively in a rapidly transforming education environment. This study employed a qualitative research design. Through a process of random sampling, four Primary Schools from the Phoenix-West Ward of the Pinetown District in KwaZulu-Natal were chosen. The informants in this study comprised of eight level one educators. Two educators from each of the sampled schools were chosen through purposive sampling. The data was generated with the use of semi-structured interviews. The data gathered was received, coded and organized into themes, categories and sub-categories. Content analysis was used to analyze the data. The findings revealed that many factors influence educator work performance. Factors such as a good salary and work that is challenging enhance work performance. Praise and recognition, as well as democratic leadership styles by SMT's, also have a positive influence on work performance. Factors associated with poor work performance included, heavy teacher workloads, curriculum uncertainty, stress, favouritism and a lack of teaching resources and equipment. In addition to this, being self-motivated created an inner drive in the informants to perform at optimum levels. School managers should play a fundamental role in offering support, guidance and in motivating educators in the workplace. The study also revealed that there should be a strong bond between the Department of Education as the employer and educators as employees, whereby the Department of Education should implement motivation strategies to enhance educator work performance.