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Reality of overwhelming workload is driving teachers out of the profession

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    New research reveals that teachers knew there was a heavy workload and believed that they could cope, but the levels and nature of the work often proved unsustainable for them to continue in the profession:

    ‘Teachers drop out of the profession because they find the workload is “worse than expected”, according to a new study.

    Research from academics at UCL’s Institute of Education, found that while most teachers were aware of the challenges of workload before entering the profession, they thought they could cope and only later discovered “the reality was different”.

    Teachers also felt that it was the nature of workload which made it so unsustainable – particularly its link to accountability – rather than the sheer quantity.’

    What are your thoughts about the workload issue? Did you think that the level of work involved would be manageable before you started teaching? How have you coped with the workload? What are your workload tips? Was workload/accountability the reason why you left the profession? What was the final straw for you? Or if you haven't left teaching, what has made you stay in the profession?

  2. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Is teaching a profession still?.
    Piscean1 and agathamorse like this.
  3. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    According to the "Get into Teaching" advert that I saw on the telly last night, Teaching is a wonderful occupation.
    Can't understand why anyone would think otherwise, unless ...
  4. DrResource

    DrResource New commenter

    We are the new Coal Miners!
    A dying breed!
    lardylegs and Happygopolitely like this.
  5. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    I loved the video (yeah, right). However, I just wonder how many new teachers say "this isn't what those adverts promised" when they wake up on the morning they have those bottoms sets back to back, with no frees and a duty at breaktime, and an hour and a half meeting at the end of the day? Oh yeah, forgot to add the extra three hours of marking they have to do in the evening. Do trading standards not apply here? I mean, too many kids don't care if they have someone teaching them. It doesn't matter to them that they run off teachers and have no one but cover teachers in their lessons. Sorry, but that is how it is. We don't make a difference, in my opinion. If we did, they would be the ones revising on their own, not us spoon feeding them.
  6. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    I can recognise the influence teachers have on pupils. Many of my ex-students were inspired to study my subject at university because of me (or so they said). When I was coming to the end of my degree course I thought about teaching and thought back to some of my old teachers and yes, I wanted to be like them. However, that was about three decades ago if not more. Nowadays, qualifications are studied by many students for their exchange value - the career and educational advantages gained by having the qualification rather than any passion or interest in the subject matter. The quality of teachers is judged by the results of their students.
  7. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Good point!
    If you’ve never experienced this, you’ll never appreciate how bad it feels. Still sends a shiver after 30 years.
    lardylegs, phlogiston, Jamvic and 2 others like this.
  8. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    This ad bugs me so much! No-one but no-one is talking in the background. Everyone is behaving. No managers are on the teachers backs getting info at random times about random students. There's no piles of books cluttering the classrooms. And don't you find it a bit creepy that the teacher singles the girl out for a special smile, does she not care about all the others as much? AND what's she doing in the exam hall if she taught this group?
  9. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Lol! This bit!

    But what a dreadful sugary misrepresentation of the job the whole thing is.
  10. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    In the days when teachers did the exam invigilation, a subject teacher would always be in at the start of their exam to check that here were no errors on the paper and that the students had the right papers. At the start of the exam I would skim through the paper, put on a smug smile and nod gently to show that the paper had my approval whether or not I considered it a 'good' paper or not. I half hoped that some of the students may be looking up and gain some confidence from this. Whether it worked or not I don't know but I figured that would be better than having a disappointed expression and shaking my head.
  11. Pclementsbedson

    Pclementsbedson New commenter

    The reality of teaching is invariably an unmanageable workload, disinterested students and parents and managers who have no real grasp of the situation. Couple this with unreal targets and the stress is insurmountable.
  12. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Thinking back, over my career I saw a steady loss of the enjoyment of the job due to the increase of student numbers in front of me, increase of time in front of the class, increase of assessment , marking, and general admin, the increase of micro management, the continual drip drip of anti teacher propaganda in not only the gutter media but also the BBC in response to the scapegoating of teachers by the political lot, and the name, blame and shame, so called quality (?) control of OFSTED.

    But what finally finished me off in secondary was not just to do with the national state of things, but on top of this, a new head of science. The guy swanned into a well established department that had built up a really good set of class notes and resources. We had all worked hard at them hoping to be able to concentrate on the students rather than the logistics of class activities. All our class practicals worked well and the technicians knew how to provide them for us.

    Even before he took up his post we found our technicians were having trouble setting up our classes. This was because he had told them to drop everything else and carry out an audit of all the department's resources. Then when he turned up we were all rather shocked to see all our resource notes appearing in the skip, to be replaced by a commercially bought set of lesson schemes -- no consultation with the rest of the department even. This was 20 years of hard work for God's sake! And to top it, we had to spend considerable time trying to understand the new schemes and make them fit our practical resources or the other way around. And they were shiit anyway!

    Now, my complaint is not just about this particular individual, but about the system that had produced that individual. Post after post here in the forum has complained about management lacking in management skills. Or even people skills. I think there are some forms of training for people to become school heads, but I have never seen any for HoDs. I became the head of a 20 strong engineering group in FE and I never had a sniff even of management skills training. (But at least I had an example not to follow!)

    Lack of management skills and the evolution of the machismo leadership attitude, part of the reason why teaching is so unattractive once you get in.

    Edit addendum -- several of my colleagues left teaching entirely and two years later on, there had been an almost complete turnover of teaching staff in the department.
  13. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    I used to do this as well, and like Shed, thought it very important, but then the exam organisers stopped us doing it. We could go nowhere near the exam. Orders from the exam boards apparently.
    yodaami2, Ex-teacher, Shedman and 2 others like this.
  14. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    Staff were banned from invigilating or even checking papers because of outright cheating and/or bending the rules. Coaching candidates through the paper as they sat in the exam hall regularly took place. If your pay, professional reputation and career depends on high stakes testing, there is bound to be corruption. The trouble is that this was often sanctioned and encouraged by senior leaders, rather than being challenged. Look at how farcical and corrupted coursework and controlled assessment became. You create a system of fear -driven exam factories and people struggle to retain their moral compass.
  15. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    Teaching has become a 24/7 lifestyle imposition. Don't even think about having a life outside of teaching. Marking all night, planning, inputting data into sims and department devised spreadsheets, extra planning for learning walk days, observations, performance management targets and many more.

    The days of being left alone to teach, to decide what extra you may or may not do, marking to your own ideals, planning how you see fit etc are long gone. Now it is endless micromanagement and compulsory revision sessions.

    I wouldn't touch the job with a barge pole these days. I like a life beyond work.
    agathamorse and TCSC47 like this.
  16. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    This. But strangely when the door is closed and I'm just getting on with teaching I love it still! When the door opens and some manager or other takes a look and a walkabout, then I'm overwhelmed with displeasure and sometimes worry for I don't know the agenda and mostly it's not good, just looking for fault!
    Are you retired?
  17. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    i can only dream of retirement. I do long term supply while I'm building up my business.
    agathamorse likes this.

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