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Survey reveals excessive workload stressing teachers

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The consequence of overworking teachers is their teaching suffers with nearly 92% of teachers expressing concern that they do not have enough time outside of classes for lesson planning, marking, report writing and administrative tasks.

A survey of more than 18,000 teachers in NSW found that the average full time teacher works 55 hours per week during term time, with 43 hours per week at school on average and a further 11 hours per week at home.

In Victoria, classroom teachers in both primary and secondary schools reported working an average of 53 hours per week, and leading teachers reported working an average of 55 hours per week.

All teachers spent an average of between 11.5 and 13 hours per week engaged in work outside of their required work time.

Among the 19 countries and economies listed by the OECD as ‘high performing’, Australia has the highest share of students entering teacher training with low marks in core subjects (at 11.1% of trainee teachers).

Nearly three-quarters of teachers felt that they spent too much time on administrative tasks. In addition, nearly half of 478 principals surveyed said that they worked for 56 hours or more per week.

These findings are from a formal submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training Inquiry into the Status of the Teaching Profession. 

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that excessive teacher workload experienced during school hours, at home and during holidays was a significant factor in the high numbers of teachers leaving the profession.

“The workload burden on teachers in Australia is immense,” Haythorpe said.

“90% of teachers indicated that their workload at some stage has had a negative effect on their teaching.”

“Most alarmingly, more than a third of teachers in all schools have indicated that their workload often or nearly always adversely affected their health.

“The community acceptance of teachers working up two additional days per week for sustained periods of time, and indeed often on a permanent basis, and being swamped with additional tasks only tangentially related to their practice, is one of the factors most frequently cited by teachers as the reason for leaving the profession.”

She said that increased funding and systemic support from education departments could free up teachers’ time to increase their focus on teaching and learning.

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