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Just passing through: why young teachers are leaving the profession

Discussion in 'Education news' started by msuxg, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. msuxg

    msuxg New commenter

    "Few would disagree that we’ve got to recruit talented people into the teaching profession, but once trained and in frontline teaching, is anybody concerned about keeping them there?"

    Take a look at this blogpost - do you have any other reasons to add to the list?
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Young teachers are still close enough to the exit to escape.

    What I mean is older teachers, they have mortgages and children. They might feel trapped in the profession. Younger teachers? They can still get out, retrain if necessary and get work elsewhere.

    Indeed, wasn't the point of Teach First that high class graduates teach for a short time [two-three years] and then go do what they really want to do.
  3. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    I thought the article was very good and summarised the key reasons why schools are a problem very well. As an early 50 year old HoD in Computer Science / ICT who resigned to get my life back and to do care-free supply, I would add:

    a) My school is horrible, grotty. The building is run down. The windows are rotting. The carpets smell bad and are threadbare in places. The pealing paint in most rooms reminds me of nicotine-stained walls in a grim pub in the wrong part of town. Budgets are so tight now that it's getting worse. Books are out-of-date. Computers are slow. Support staff aren't replaced. Light bulbs aren't replaced quickly. Who wants to work in an environment like that day in day out, when you have mates who work in bright, modern, clean, fresh-smelling open plan offices with flowers in reception and free coffee. I hate going to work because the environment, the buildings, the rooms are so oppressing, and it has been like this for the last twenty years of my career - Eton Dave has no idea what I have had to work in all my working career. I feel so sorry for the kids in my school. Many live in pretty grotty areas and households, and 'grot is the norm, grot is where you belong' is reinforced at school.

    b) Many young teachers do struggle and need time to find their feet. They need the support of older colleagues. Older, experienced colleagues can calmly deal with the many badly behaved students in schools in ways that would simply overwhelm someone in their early 20s. But older colleagues are expensive, and knackered, and themselves can't keep up with the workload demands and are leaving or being pushed out. You are left then with a high turnover of staff, an increasing number of poorly trained cover supervisors and teachers that lack the experience needed to prop up and stabilise a pressure cooker environment while the young teachers find themselves.
  4. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Even if everything in the garden was lovely in other respects, the runaway workload would still be the killer. It is unsustainable and idiotic to expect teachers (on pain of capability) to do the amount of marking expected by some schools.

    I know of one teacher who was expected to do 36 hours of marking each week. And that was the optimistic figure, the real figure was probably much higher. And that's before the teacher started actually teaching and doing the other things. It's crazy.

    And what is it all for? It's not for the students, it is to look good in front of OFSTED. There is no other reason regardless of the rhetoric that some people might come up with. Unless someone comes up with a realistic model for the way that teachers work then this situation will continue to get worse.
  5. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    After a short while in the job you see first hand the negative impact that the education system has on teachers. It seems that after a few years in teaching you are susceptible to becoming a target, no matter how good you actually are. It's not very inspiring when older colleagues are going off with stress or being forced out of their jobs.There is little trust in the job and it seems that people need to be constantly on their guard. This can lead colleagues to turn on each other in fear for their own jobs. This, along with the fear promoted by Ofsted and their ilk can produce an atmosphere that is tense and unpleasant to work in. It all happens behind the scenes and it's not a good environment for actually teaching in. In this way it does not seem to be the 'secure' career option that perhaps it once was and people choose to leave earlier rather than later.

    I'd say that a lot of people go in to the job for humane reasons. However, it becomes clear that the profession does not support this. Actually teaching children seems to be some sort of inconvenience to the real job of doing paperwork. You are not allowed to be human, be spontaneous and occasionally make mistakes. Everything has to be planned and justified to the letter. But, mistakes happen as they are a part of life. If you do make one, it seems that there are plenty of bullies who will be ready to take you to task for it. It all adds to the fear factor and 'cloak and dagger' style politics which is driving people away. The humanity is being sapped out of the job because of this.

    In order to do the job of actually teaching, people need to be trusted, healthy, happy and rested. This at odds with the current system that leads people stressed, overworked, tired and angry. Until it changes people will continue to leave as they'll decided that their health and happiness is more important than a job.
  6. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    So the problems are being noticed out of schools- I'm not surprised it's the Royal Society of Chemistry, they are a useful organisation who supply constructive help. Their voice may carry weight with the powers that be.
    msuxg likes this.
  7. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    petenewton likes this.
  8. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

  9. jamiedoorknob

    jamiedoorknob Occasional commenter

    How is this "Eton Dave"s fault if its been like this your entire "working career"?

    12 of those years would have been under Labour.
  10. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    @indusant: I take off my hat to you. You've summed up the problem exactly!
    Compassman and AnonL like this.
  11. AnonL

    AnonL New commenter

    Indusant has hit the nail on the head.
    Schools have become really horrible places to work. Unless you are a total robot who makes no mistakes, look the part and choose to dedicate your life to it, you are susceptible to bullying and stitch ups.
    Basically, as an industry it is untransparant, cut throat and vile. The ultimate in horrible where you never feel trusted and are always on guard.
    I would advise anyone to leave. The school system is the ultimate crab bucket in Britain. A disgusting profession
    petenewton and Compassman like this.
  12. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I'm glad my children don't want to be teachers (though sad to have to write this - both would, in my opinion, make very good teachers). If one of them did I'd try very hard to dissuade them, or persuade them to work in an independent school. I fear for the future of schools.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  13. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Workload is a factor, but when I was an NQT I was also young and single and late nights bothered me less. Since then, however, workload has exploded, but it's also largely inauthentic labour created by out-of-control SLTs trying to cover their backs in the current climate of fear created by academies and OfSTED.

    Staff are often asked to waste their time doing things for which there is no good reason or evidence, or that are just plain ridiculous. I read in another forum of staff being asked to create displays to show the difference between A and A* work - but presumably putting up a poster that said "Do some revision and get an extra question right!" wouldn't do. There's also the obsession with measuring progress, but you don't fatten a pig by weighing it.

    The other factor, which doesn't seem to get much of a mention, is that "young teachers" aren't the same type of people as "older teachers". Just go to the staffroom and listen to the conversations. In my experience they're more Dermot O'Leary than Ken Barlow - it's rare to hear a younger teacher being enthusiastic about their subject (and in my subject specialism they seem to be downright hostile to it).
    Compassman likes this.
  14. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    The obvious reason for young teachers leaving the profession is that no-one was honest enough to warn them not to become a teacher in the first place.
    wanet, Mangleworzle and lanokia like this.
  15. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I detest the academisation of schools and lack of employment rights of teachers as much as the next person. I particularly dislike the marketisation of schools and the introduction of pursuit of profit via academy chains. But some schools, of which some are academies, are pleasant places to work. Their ethos is sound, they are child focused and they work hard to be good schools and employers.

    This leads me to think that part of the problem must be the leadership and management of schools - which is inspected by Ofsted. Surely then, part of the answer must be a change in the focus on the leadership and management aspect of the inspection process so that they look at issues such as staff turnover, work load and so forth?
    wanet, silverfell85, cissy3 and 2 others like this.
  16. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    My impression is that when Ofsted come into a school and look at L&M they are looking at how effectively the L&M deals with the systems that are in place plus evaluation of those systems. They don't appear to look at the impact of those systems.

    So the management system can include capability, but the result, lots of managed-out teachers, is not judged to be part of it. Any teacher that has been managed-out of a school is by the nature of the system, a failure of L&M but this isn't recognised by Ofsted. [least that is how I feel about it].

    Same can be argued for management of subjects, especially in the exam years, with holiday revision, after-school revision etc, booklets, tutorials, guides, catch-up sessions. The effective management of these is 'good' L&M but when bad results come out at the end, the system does not tarnish, instead the staff member is tarnished and of course, capability comes-a-knocking.
    wanet likes this.
  17. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As do I!
  18. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    The lunatic is in my head.
    The lunatic is in my head
    You raise the blade, you make the change
    You re-arrange me 'til I'm sane.
    You lock the door
    And throw away the key
    There's someone in my head but it's not me.

    Pink Floyd.

    Teaching changes you in ways you do not have control over.
    I don't know about the loonies being in charge. It seems to me the old saying "you don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps" is truer than ever.
    indusant, lanokia and RedQuilt like this.
  19. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Modern state of things in state schools contributed largely to the place where my elder child is now - no career, complete lack of confidence and a not great state of health. I reckon she joined the "profession", despite all my advice and concerns, as the real downturn started. I reckon also she is in about the last cohort of relatively educated state school pupils. The lack of general knowledge and subject knowledge amongst so many 21+ (and therefore "young teachers") year olds is shocking (Did anybody watch tea time quiz contestants purporting to be teachers and their dire performances - for one of them especially if it wasn't "selleb" knowledge it hadn't been heard of?)
    cissy3 and lanokia like this.
  20. paeony

    paeony Occasional commenter

    I don't know whether I was 'young' leaving in my mid/late thirties after 10 years.

    I was a later trained teacher. I worked in the corporate world before. I was pretty good at it. I have a broad academic knowledge, pretty good degree from top university and a good healthy dose of pragmatism. I was a good/outstanding rated teacher.

    However, I had the misfortune of being female and therefore as soon as I gave birth my brain stopped functioning.

    Or that's how smt perceived it. I dropped to 0.8 therefore scuppering any chances of a TLR (against school policy for part timers), in an attempt to stay sane whilst looking after child, house and supporting husband.

    In the end it got too much and after child number two I just couldn't be the teacher and the mum I needed to be. Needless to say, the teaching went.

    In a profession with a high female percentage workforce, the wasting of brains and talent this way is a huge issue.
    Yoda-, cissy3 and lanokia like this.

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