Teachers head for the exits

84 per cent of teachers considering leaving the profession.
Oct 28, 2021
This pretty much guarantees a teacher shortage.

So, after two years of remote teaching, what are teachers thinking about? Mostly, leaving the profession.

The causes for their dissatisfaction are familiar; work load, pay, lack of support and recognition. Fortunately though, the majority find the job rewarding, so that’s something that can be worked with.

Research conducted in July 2021 discovered 84 per cent of teachers surveyed have thought about leaving the profession in the past year.

A sample 571 teachers voiced their opinions on testing, curriculum, stress, wellbeing, support, engagement, satisfaction, technology, and the ramifications of COVID-19 in the classroom.

Of teachers surveyed 75 per cent, feel stressed by their work, 82 per cent struggle with work-life balance and one in three (36 per cent) are not satisfied in their job.

The Teachers Report Card found one in four educators (26 per cent) are working at least six days a week, with almost half (49 per cent) dissatisfied with their pay.

Three in five teachers (60 per cent) believe the current method of testing learning outcomes is ineffective, with 52 per cent reporting there is too much standardised testing (e.g. NAPLAN), while a quarter (25 per cent) believe students receive too much homework.

While 87 per cent of educators find their profession rewarding and 86 per cent report they are confident in their teaching ability, 60 per cent of teachers feel disregarded by parents, and 71 per cent feel opportunities for promotion rarely occur.

The research found 25 per cent of educators regularly teach subjects which are not aligned with their qualifications, while two in five (39 per cent) teachers spend more than a quarter of their day dedicated to managing students’ behavioural issues.

In relation to resourcing, 46 per cent of teachers feel investment in their school’s infrastructure is inadequate, while one in four (23 per cent) believe their students often miss out on educational opportunities due to their parents’ financial situation.

The Teachers Report Card also measured the impact of COVID-19 in the classroom and found 71 per cent of teachers were able to teach effectively despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Seven out of ten (70 per cent) teachers reported they spent more time providing emotional support to students. Of particular concern, 18 per cent of educators were unable to maintain a positive outlook as a  result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Despite the transition to online teaching and learning throughout the pandemic, 17 per cent of teachers reported their school was yet to implement policies and practices to ensure students have sufficient access to digital devices. A further 13 per cent revealed their school is yet to develop any digital learning materials, while 12 per cent reported their school is yet to develop a cyber safety policy.

Allen Blewitt Futurity Director and Chairman of the NEiTA Foundation who conduct the survey, said the Report highlights the stress and pressure teachers have been battling for the past 18 months.

“The worst thing we can do is ignore the opinions of our teachers who are crucial to shaping the future of Australia,” Blewitt said.

Australian College of Educators Managing Director Helen Jentz said teachers must be provided with the support and resources they need to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for their students.

“It’s clear many teachers face and overcome a range of challenges on a daily basis,” Ms Jentz said.

“While it’s heartening that the majority find the profession rewarding, the current climate is having a negative impact, and it’s incredibly concerning that a significant proportion of our teachers have considered leaving the profession.

“These results are a wake-up call from a profession in distress. It’s time to show teachers how much we value their work by providing the resources they need and ensuring their opinions and views are heard so they are best positioned to succeed in educating future generations.”

The NEiTA-ACE Teachers Report Card 2021 is a joint initiative between Futurity Investment Group and the Australian College of Educators.

Photo by Elina Krima from Pexels