Teachers have always had to endure the stereotypical quotes that teaching is “easy” and that they are ‘always on holiday’. Yet a recent study carried out by Sir Cary Cooper, a Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at the University of Manchester proves otherwise.
The respected academic carried out a study of well-being amongst 80 occupations, and found teaching to be constantly among the top three most stressful jobs. Sir Cary who is the former Government Advisor on well-being, stated that “of all the occupations I’ve studied, teachers are in the top three most stressed occupations”.
This should come as no surprise to the government with unions and teachers constantly stating the issues with workload and workplace stress. Teachers often work long, antisocial hours due to the heavy workload placed on them, therefore it is unsurprising that teachers suffer from high levels of stress. Sir Cary’s study found that teacher stress levels are on par with other deservedly respected professions such as health care and uniformed services (police, ambulance and fire service).
Recently trainee teachers have been offered psychological support due to growing concerns that classroom pressure could lead to mental health issues as well as early exits from teaching. Anxiety, stress and depression were the leading causes of sickness absence across many of the occupations over the past year and the same issues were found to be ‘endemic’ across the teaching profession. Sir Cary believes that the constant changes in education policy is one of the causes adding to teachers stress levels and he thinks that the government should look to take a more ‘hands free’ approach to education.
Constant 60 or 70 hour weeks, crushing workloads and relentless judgement from Ofsted has meant less and less graduates are willing to join the profession. Surely with a teaching recruitment crisis looming this is food for thought for the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan?
Is psychological support enough to help our future and current teachers? Does more need to be done? What do you think the solution is?
Have your say here…