Inspiring teachers ‘becoming disillusioned with work’

A study to uncover world-class teaching has revealed that even the most inspiring teachers are worried about their working conditions and increasing workload.

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Worcester set out to understand what makes an inspiring teacher and inspiring teaching.

The study identified 36 inspiring teachers through inspection reports, the Independent reports. The teachers revealed that they are upset about central government interference – although former education secretary Michael Gove insisted that teachers need more freedom from central control for his reforms to succeed.

The researchers found that nearly every teacher they questioned was becoming disillusioned with work and worried that current reforms are reducing their autonomy, increasing their workload and distracting them from classroom work.  They had very negative views about recent changes to the national curriculum, assessment and examinations: “They saw these changes as highly political and felt they had produced great confusion and work overload, and lacked clarity,” the researchers said. “The changes were seen to have shifted the focus from engaging students and innovating in teaching to managing change and achieving targets, with too much focus on tests and examination results.”

The teachers also felt that the time they had previously put in to developing resources and planning had been wasted, and that they had been forced to replace expensive texts and materials because of curriculum and exam changes.

Do you think this small study of inspiring teachers reflects the views of the profession as a whole? And what do you think makes an inspiring teacher?

8 thoughts on “Inspiring teachers ‘becoming disillusioned with work’

  1. I have returned to this year with very little enthusiasm for all the reasons stated in your article and more. Not only am I spending so much time with paperwork as management are concerned about the consequences of accountability. I am also working with twice as many children in a classroom which is too small for them and which the electrics aren’t up to the job. This is in line for a refurbishment but who knows when. It’s on a piece if paper in the plan therefore that’s ok. This is caused by the funding formulae decided by central government which takes little account of the pressure it puts small primary schools under. We have 3 classes for the whole school which means those teachers share all the curriculum subjects. Those in larger schools may not even have a subject to manage. I have two and share one with no time given to do this. I am also only 50% as I am in a job share. My partner in this also has 2 subjects and shares one – that’s five between us and a smaller budget than previous years and we had lower numbers the year before and are therefore not yet paid for the extra children we teach.
    For writing this article and putting my name to it I could loose my job but I am seriously fed up of the bullying tactics of the school environment which means that no one can speak up.
    Children derserve better and so do I run my own business the other 50% and feel inspired every day even though it is hard work. It is this that is keeping me in school. If I was full time I would be resigning this term.
    I know I am one if many and they are too scared to speak out for fear of having negative feedback in performance management. They are also afraid to go to their union as this makes them a target too. We will loose our best teachers as they will be snapped up outside and be left with those who are suffering from depression with no perceived way out – is this what we want for the next generation? Is this what children really need? Give needed to get out of his past and look at the reality – speak to grass routes
    Workers. Even our cleaner only get 15 minutes per classroom to clean – could you do that effectively?

  2. The solution to my mind is simply get the politicians out of the classroom ! These creeps don’t tell doctors how to diagnose and how to operate on patients How is that they feel that they have the right to tell us how to teach ?

    This interference has gone on for the three decades that I taught and by and large , all their ‘reforms’ have done is to the impede us in the classroom.
    I say….’Give us the training , give us the money and then p.ss off !’

  3. In three Ofsteds I have been Outstanding, now as a third looms next week, despite being the start of term I can honestly say I can’t be bothered any more. I love teaching, inspiring young minds and my students really love my lessons. What stops my creativity is the constant assessment, data tracking and other mind numbingly boring tasks that take me away from developing my lessons.

  4. I absolutely agree with the previous 2 comments, would like to say more but need to crack on with assessments, base lining, marking and planning.

  5. The other respondents are totally right!
    I am also doing school stuff like Jan above – it is Saturday evening – I have already put in 3 hours of planning, an hour and a half of other school paperwork (all this on my lap top) plus another hour on paperwork NOT needing word processing. I have also actually been into my school for an hour this morning to get another task done.
    In between this I have had to do all the normal family time things that the rest of the working world does at weekends such as shopping, running errands, cooking for family etc.
    I have not yet finished all the school stuff I need to do for Monday.
    Hands up – who’d wanna be a teacher?

  6. I still love my job after more than 25 years. About five years ago I started to discourage each of my students who wanted to become a teacher by showing how much paperwork I need to complete just for one week. What is this rubbish with long term planning, medium term planning term, short term planning. Short term plannings are made in forms which are not adjusted to a specific subject. They are created by some kind of administrator who thinks that he has discovered the greatest form. Very often this plannings are wrong for different reasons: with some students some topics are going slower than others, or there is no teacher to teach them and the next one is joining to school later in the term, etc. And they ask to point the internet sources the teacher will use in advance. It happens to me very often to point some resources but later to find some others more recent or more relevant to the abilities of my students. Therefore my planning become false. And so on, and so on.

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