The idea of being a teacher seems to be that of a rewarding one; with great holidays and an above average salary, what more could you want? However, I’m sure qualified teachers have a different perspective as the reality is very different!  There are endless hours of planning, marking and meetings to attend not to mention your actual job of being a teacher!

‘Being a teacher may seem like an easy option to some’

The average secondary school teacher who has TLR such as a Head of Year works around 55.7 hours Monday to Friday, with around 19 hours spent in the classroom.  This means less than half of their allocated time at work is spent actually teaching.  This highlights the extended workload and extra responsibilities teachers must take on that some might not even consider when thinking of entering the teaching profession.

Should this be the case? No is the answer! Many teachers are leaving the profession at an earlier age and finding other careers where there is less pressure and stress on their private and working lives. There is also lot of pressure on teachers to not only perform and help students but also reach ever-changing targets within their curriculums and via compulsory examinations.

On the day exam performance is more or less out of the teachers control yet teachers are still held responsible for it for this snapshot of performance. This pressure can take its toll on many teachers and can have a negative impact on their outlook on teaching.  It is no surprise that the national churn rate of teachers quitting the profession is increasing; more than 4,000 teachers left the profession in a month last year. Nearly 50,000 teachers left the profession last year alone according to the Department of Education statistics. Union leaders warned that staff were voting with their feet over their pay, required working hours and workload and the only way to change this was to do something drastic soon.

What can be done to help teachers feel less stressed or pressured within their jobs?

There are many options for schools to consider however they predominantly require more investment which many schools do not have access to.  If school budgets were increased in order to provide more support for teachers, they could have more pastoral staff to help the teachers with struggling students so that teachers can spend an equal amount of time with all students in lessons.

The amount of meetings teachers must attend during a school week can eat into their marking/ planning time.  It could be suggested that rather than these meetings taking place before or after the school day they should be during school hours so that teachers do not have to give up their own free time in order to attend them.   Although, whether this clashes with teaching is a timetabling nightmare!

Changes to curriculum can also affect teachers stress levels. Schools are under constant pressure to excel each year and achieve higher grades year after year.  One way this is achieved is by changing the school curriculum or requirements for their subjects, whether this is enforced through the government by changing GCSE or A-Level requirements or the school trying new things, it means more work for teachers each year.

The career of a teacher is a high pressured one and can be extremely stressful which can both come as a surprise to those entering the profession and gradually wear away the resolve of even the most experienced teachers. With the natural turnover of teachers increasing nationally it will be interesting to see what Conservatives will do about this.

Have you got to be a resilient, resourceful and hard working person in order to be a successful teacher? Definitely!



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