When will something be done to tackle high teacher stress levels?

teacher stress levels e-spaces

Technological solutions to help relieve ever-rising teacher stress levels

Reports about teacher stress are nothing new these days, and the lack of progress in tackling teacher well-being is driving many teachers away from a profession they love.

Education Support released its annual well-being index of teachers, which struck a very familiar tone. The stand-out figure was that a staggering 78% of over 3000 staff that took part in the survey said they have experienced mental health symptoms as a result of their job.

There were large increases in reported symptoms such as forgetfulness, tearfulness, and dizziness, 58% of senior leaders said they suffered from insomnia.

The result is inevitable – over half have actively sought to leave their job, and over two-thirds of those respondents have cited the workload as their main reason for doing so.

Sinead McBrearty, CEO of Education Support, sums it up perfectly when she says: “Our children and young people deserve so much more from us. It is time to invest in the workforce and to remove the well-documented drivers of significant stress in the system.”

teacher stress e-spaces

What else was in the report?

Negative workplace culture was a popular reason selected as to what contributed to higher levels of stress, and also why teachers and school leaders are looking to quit the profession. 88% of those who said they were stressed felt there was a negative team culture where they worked, and an even higher number felt they were not trusted by their line manager. Overall, just half of all respondents said their team culture was a positive one.

Other statistics in the report include:

  • When asked if they felt confident in reporting unmanageable stress levels or mental health problems, only 37% said yes, with a further 4% stating they were unsure.

  • 47% of all staff surveyed said they always felt compelled to work when feeling unwell, with 61% of senior leaders reporting this in particular, a 7% increase on last year.

  • 48% of all respondents said they didn’t feel their organization supported those with mental health issues very well, a 5% increase from last year.

What does this all mean?

The results show that poor levels of teacher well-being are something that remains untackled, and it is the lack of progress (albeit in difficult circumstances) that is the most discouraging aspect. In the six years since the teacher well-being index started being published, there has been no meaningful improvement in the results, and this year in particular saw a significant 8% increase in reported stress levels among support staff. This means everyone involved in education, more than ever, is feeling the effects.

There are multiple reasons why stress levels are so high. One of them is that school budgets continue to be squeezed, which means all staff is constantly having to do more with less. For the first time, school resources are among the top five reasons why the staff is seeking a job away from education.

Another reason comes down to culture, and this can at least partly be attributed to the results-focused environment that is created by the government’s obsession with league tables. Pass or fail exams are king when it comes to deciding whether a school is good or not, and this creates pressure for both teachers and students that are becoming increasingly unwelcome at primary school in particular.

Is technology the obvious solution?

Ultimately, the top reason stated as to why school staff wants to quit is the volume of the workload, while half of the respondents cited unnecessary paperwork and data gathering. In this new technologically advanced society, it seems strange that automatic marking, for example, isn’t commonplace in schools to help give teachers time back.

This is where E-spaces come in, though. Its easy-to-use app gives teachers a way to test what students have learned while lessons are going on, eliminating the need for constant marking of homework. But more than that, it is the first in-lesson assessment tool to store data and help measure a pupil’s progress against their predicted grades. This helps identify trends in their performance quickly and without bias. Follow this link to find out more.

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