Study shows that nearly half of British teachers intend to quit teaching within the next two years .Teachers are bombarded by loads of work from morning to evening and the situation is not getting any better. As a matter of fact, it is believed that almost a third of teachers in the UK works for approximately sixty hours every week. Needless to say this is a horrifying amount of time for anyone to work every week and how exactly is one even supposed to be motivated after sixty hours of teaching, grading papers, observing students behavior and ensuring that students are making progress in the curriculum and extra curriculum activities? Clearly the workload imposed on our British teachers is a lot and we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the situations. If this problem is not dealt with soonest possible, we won’t even be talking about teachers and workloads anymore because most teachers will have quit to explore other more bearable options in terms of careers.
Among the teachers who don’t see themselves leaving the profession within the next five years, many would love to work in their school senior leadership team but they fear that this will lead to a poorer balance between their life work and personal life. More so, they also fear that the workload will increase at this senior leadership position. This is the reason why many of our teachers are not seeking promotions and would prefer to stay at the same position for years because they already feel overworked as it is. Teachers also complain that the expectations they are required to meet were quite unimaginable and these expectations increased significantly over the years they worked in the profession. A survey showed that eight out of every ten teachers that had been surveyed had suffered a mental health problem over the past two years of their careers and most of the mental problems have been linked to workload. It is known that teachers no longer have time for reflection. This has caused many teachers to suffer anxiety, exhaustion and depression.
In all honesty, nothing damages the teaching profession more than wasting teachers’ motivation and passion over unnecessary tasks that lead to teachers being overworked. Year after year teachers have complained that they have no life outside school work and they no longer have time to spend and interact with their family and friends. Teachers have so much work that they are being forced to spend nights awake grading papers and doing other work to try and reduce the workload for the next day.
It is practically impossible to give our students a wonderful education and school experience when their teachers come to work demotivated and passionless for the job and needless to say extremely exhausted from working late at night. Researchers have dedicated a significant amount of time to try and figure out why most teachers these days are so disillusioned and frustrated while they entered the profession full of potential and enthusiasm to make a positive change not just to the lives of the students they teach but also to the profession in general. Researchers are also set to find any possible solution to reduce the workload and have teachers motivated again for a better education experience for the students. The teaching profession, just like any other profession requires motivation to keep one going and with the excessive workloads we cannot blame our teachers for wanting to leave the profession and look for better opportunities for them in order to better their lives.
We cannot begin to solve the workload crisis for teachers unless we ask ourselves the question we have been avoiding for a while now; how did we get to this point? How did teaching go from being a being a career one could enjoy to a career nobody wants anymore because apparently, being a teacher nowadays means having to give up on your personal life and dedicate fully to teaching and working your head off in an attempt to overcome the workload. If we trace back our steps maybe we can begin to figure out why the profession is now so depressingly tiring. For us to reach a point where eight out of every ten teachers have suffered a mental health problem that is related to workload, then we are really at a terrible place. If things do not change really fast, there is a chance that our children will have a terrible school experience and our teachers will be more frustrated causing which could make our teachers supply crisis much deeper.
We could wait for the changes to be made in our education system, which let’s be honest could take forever, or we could resolve to working together to ensure that teachers do not have an overload of work. As parents, we could start by ensuring that we monitor our kids’ behavior at home so as to minimize the task of monitoring their behavior for teachers. School managements can also start by reducing the number of hours teachers are required to work in order for them to be able to get enough rest and come back to school fresh and motivated enough to teach the next day. Schools can also have motivational speaking exclusively for teachers to keep them motivated and psyched to do their work. These are not options, they are necessities if we are going to have motivated teachers in our classrooms and also if we want to still have teachers in the profession five years from now.