Why do Teachers continue to leave Teaching in droves?

Quite an interesting recent article on ABC Australia caught my attention.

The headline read Why do teachers leave?

Interestingly, the author reports…

But the specific reasons why teachers leave and precisely how many are leaving are largely unknown.

Hmm…

I suspect if you asked teachers in Australia they would pretty much tell you straight out what were the factors most discouraging to teachers.

  • Poor student behaviours
  • Unsupportive administrators
  • Workload

Those three alone and their compounding effects are enough to turn anyone off a vocation in teaching.

Over the years I have heard many teachers report that the key driver that facilitates these factors is poor school management.

It’s a complex matter and in defence of school administration especially in the larger institutions, they are often hamstrung into doing next to nothing by senior management at head office levels.

One things all school leaders might do however is to increase fairness and accountability amongst their staffing pool.

I have seen so many cases of teachers carrying demonstrably greater workloads than some of their colleagues, probably because not everyone in the school is pulling their weight.

And that is an accountability issue, which in my experience, for many principals, is in the too-hard basket to go near. But leaders who fail to address professional issues with conviction, let their whole school community down.

Teachers do get worn out by issues that are not properly dealt with after the teacher has done everything they can to address them at their level.

For example it can be a demoralising and crushing experience for a teacher to be left isolated on student behavioural issues.

It is entirely demotivating to feel abandoned and left to deal with difficult parents on your own.

Compounded by absolutely ridiculous workload factors, then you have the perfect storm, guaranteed to provide the educational system with continual turnover of teachers.

When teachers recognise that many of these matters are systemic in nature, they can feel altogether helpless.

The stress that teachers experience is damaging but widespread and many teachers simply burnout.

There are of course many things teachers can do to stay motivated and organised, keeping their head above the water, but many feel that it is a constant struggle against the tide.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the education system has become synonymous with politics in many countries, but until our political leaders face facts that teachers are leaving in droves for very real reasons, then we can expect more wasted billions trying to fix the wrong things.

The original article can be found here.

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