Teaching might be thought of as a vocational career, but it certainly isn’t easy. Educating the next generation is a hard job, and increasing demands make it a high pressured job. And this pressure is taking its toll.
According to report by Education Support, a charity that gives mental health help to education professionals, nearly three-quarters of teachers and 84% of school leaders now describe themselves as ‘stressed.’ Over a third of education professionals have experienced a mental health issue in the past academic year. Almost half (49%) believe their workplace is having a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
But what is it that is driving stress levels? Too much work, long hours, not enough support, and a growing target culture are just a few of the reasons that teachers are finding themselves feeling overwhelmed.
As well as affecting teacher’s health, this is likely to result in decreasing standards. Stretched too thin, teachers are unable to devote the time and energy they need to raise aspirations and skills. In 2018, research conducted by Leeds Beckett University found that the majority of teachers surveyed (77%) felt that poor teacher mental health was having a detrimental effect on pupils’ progress. Energy levels drop, they are unable to be creative, and find it difficult to give their all to their classes. The 2017 National Education Union workload survey found that 81% of teachers had considered leaving teaching in the last year because of workload.
A survey of 1,200 teachers conducted by University College London (UCL) found between 40-50 per cent had either already left or were considering leaving the profession within 10 years of starting their teacher training. Of those that had already left, 75% of respondents cited poor work-life balance, 71% cited ‘crippling’ workloads and 57% blamed a target-driven culture.
A lack of resources is one key factor in rising stress levels. Unable to access the equipment and resources they need, there is unnecessary duplication of tasks and a reliance on using personal time to come up with new and interesting lessons.
Technology can help alleviate some of the burden.
Resources can be easily shared amongst colleagues and disseminated amongst students, encouraging the growth of a learning community, and reducing workload. Increasing collaboration allows for a more supportive workplace, which improves wellbeing. Work isn’t duplicated, reducing individual workload at the same time as ensuring that everyone has access to standardised tools that are proven to work. Teachers get some of their time back, improving work life balance.
It’s not a case of starting from scratch either. New initiatives and added bureaucracy are often stressful themselves. IMPACT Plus is compatible with most programmes, and existing documents can be uploaded easily, enabling them to use existing resources.
IMPACT Plus comes with Cleverstore, full of vetted, ad free, educational apps and games that don’t cost users a penny. The apps don’t need to be installed by the IT department or network manager. Teachers can open the Cleverstore, search according to key stage, subject, language and click for immediate activities that support learning. With Lynx and Snowflake it can take just minutes to research, embed, import and create a lesson plan or class activity, freeing up a teacher’s time – to teach.
Using technology and tools to enhance the learning experience at the same time as reducing workload and minimising pressures on teachers is good for the education system as a whole.
Teachers that feel energised and supported will stick around for longer, providing the best education for their students. A happy teacher makes for a better learning environment – so everyone wins.