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Washington teachers are more committed to teaching than their peers in the nation’s 15 biggest states, a recent Gallup poll suggests.

About 35 percent of the state’s teachers are actively engaged in their work, by the poll’s estimation, meaning teachers here are excited about and committed to teaching. Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts teachers ranked the lowest in Gallup’s study, finishing with just 22 to 26 percent of teachers at that level.  

Gallup’s results are based on interviews with more than 16,000 teachers between 2011 to 2014, asking each a series of questions about how the workplace affects performance.

The study defined actively engaged teachers as those who know the scope of their jobs and constantly look for new and better ways to meet their goals. Researchers said teachers who are not engaged may be satisfied with their jobs, but aren’t emotionally connected to their workplace and are unlikely to devote extra effort to the classroom. Actively disengaged teachers — the study’s lowest rating — are unhappy and that unhappiness affects their coworkers.

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Only 10 percent of Washington’s teachers fall into that last category — the fewest of any state studied.

The study also found that the majority of U.S. teachers, about 56 percent, are not engaged in their work. Another 12 percent reported being actively disengaged. That’s similar to trends in the U.S. workforce overall, where Gallup estimates about seven in 10 workers aren’t engaged in their work.

How can schools make their teachers more excited about teaching? Start with a talented principal, Gallup says.

Principals with natural talent for their jobs increase the likelihood that teachers will be involved in their work, and that can lead students to be more excited about learning, Gallup said.

Related: Why do you teach? Share your story on stage at Education Lab’s upcoming event.