These diaries show why teachers’ workloads are driving so many to quit

The three o’clock school bell rarely means the end of the day for teachers. Many report working late into the evening marking, planning lessons and, increasingly, responding to emails from their pupils’ parents. iNews reports

Teachers spend an average of six hours a week answering emails, according to a survey by TeacherTapp. This prompted Education Secretary Damian Hinds earlier this year to urge teachers to resist the “huge volume” of emails from parents outside of school hours.

Teachers’ workloads are driving many out of the profession, and deterring others from training to become teachers. Last year, statistics from the Department for Education showed that the number of teachers working in state-funded schools hit its lowest level since 2013. In the same year, the number of primary school teachers fell for the first time in nearly a decade.

The main reason teachers are leaving seems to be their workloads. The 2017-18 Labour Force Survey found that teaching was one of three professions with the highest reports of stress and depression, while 84 per cent of the 11,000 respondents to a survey by the teachers’ union NASUWT in 2017 said workload was their number one concern.

Three years ago, Zinnat Khoja switched careers from running events for major charities to teaching. “Having had an office job, teaching is essentially like having a full day of back-to-back meetings that you are leading, and once they are done you prepare for the next full day of meetings,” she said. “So each day can be like two back-to-back office days.”

Matt Benson, a physics teacher in Suffolk, says more administrative support in schools would ease the burden on teachers. “Never having to do cover duties would make a huge difference to the working day,” he said.

Read three diaries of an average day These diaries show why teachers’ workloads are driving so many to quit 

Would your diary be similar? Or worse! Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin


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  1. Perhaps any job where you are required to work on things that you do not see as a core part of that job induces stress. Once you have choice removed this always induces stress. So it may not be ‘work load’ but a load of work that is not seen as core to the activity of teaching. For example ‘administration’ crops up quite a lot in the list of things that detract teachers from teaching. We should be asking “What administration and what for?”. No teacher minds marking, keeping records, planning, preparing resources when these are part of teaching, the problems start when marking, keeping records, planning etc are outside of this primary reason, they are for target monitoring, data gathering, school performance monitoring, to demonstrate progress and other ‘responsibilities’. We need to learn to say no.

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