Updated: Aug 2, 2018
Have you considered throwing in the towel?
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
What options do you have to help stay in a career your once loved?
You're not alone and as this article from the Sydney Morning Herald, sadly we are losing to many great teachers.
LONG hours, heavy workloads and concerns about dealing with school parents are driving rookie teachers out of schools, with almost half walking out of their classrooms within five years.
It’s not only kids who find the first days of school hard, according to a new study by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health which surveyed more than 450 “early career” teachers in NSW.
The transition from university student to teacher of students sees two-thirds of new teachers struggle with their workload and time management, and 60 per cent feel work-life balance eludes them.
They bring enthusiasm, but are largely unprepared for the demands on their time.
Challenges such as time management and managing parent-teacher relationships were some of the most difficult for them, but building professional relationships was often the skill early career teachers felt most confident in.
And while they found managing students’ behaviour difficult, almost all teachers said seeing students learn, and building relationships with them, were the things they loved about the job.
“We know that the first few years of a teacher’s career can be particularly challenging,” Hunter Institute of Mental Health Director Jaelea Skehan said.
“Some teachers are spending years training at university only to leave the profession after a short period of time. We need to find ways to support early career teachers through these difficult years so that they stay in the field.”
NSW Teachers Federation Membership and Training Officer Nicole Calnan said starting out in the teaching profession involved a wide range of demands on teachers’ time.
“Early career teachers bring enthusiasm to the profession but it’s important to acknowledge that it’s a big transition from university to employment as a teacher,” she said.
The principal investigator of the study, Dr Gavin Hazel, said the research highlighted where early career teachers did not have strong work/life balance and support, they were more likely to be undecided about their ongoing role as a teacher.
“Teachers feel their time is limited and there are high demands on how they use that time,” he said.
More than half those in the study said they’d like more time for planning, mentoring and collaboration.
The study recommends providing that time, but not extending the already-long hours.
The findings echo a 2015 Australian Teachers Union report which found 73 per cent of teachers felt their workloads had increased in the past year.
Many classroom teachers said they were considering leaving the profession, citing the increased workload and feelings of stress.
It’s a situation replicated in the UK, where “staggeringly high” numbers of teachers are threatening to quit the classroom, but are hamstrung by financial circumstances, according to The Independent.
Figures from a UK teaching union survey last month revealing almost four in ten young teachers could quit the classroom within the next five years.
In the survey of more than 3000 teachers under the age of 36, almost half said mental health concerns could force them to resign, with heavy workloads and lack of support cited as key problems.
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