Teaching is a profession in crisis; one that only teachers seem to be able to acknowledge

ALaw
7 min readFeb 16, 2016

It’s often said that the quickest way to wind up a teacher is to suggest they’re always on holiday, have an overall cushty gig at work and that they’re always complaining about conditions that other professions just accept. Though the reality of teaching today is in such stark contrast to the aforementioned that it’s unreal. The Stakhanovite work ethic toward a gargantuan workload and pressures upon teachers is undoubtedly incomparable to most professions; to an extent that it would break most. In fact, it was recently reported that a banker-turned-teacher returned to the banking industry having deemed teaching too exhausting in comparison.

Teaching requires a depth of mental, emotional and even physical mettle that simply isn’t required in many other professions. The policies of successive governments and the agencies that officially and unofficially do their bidding for them, worsen conditions and heighten pressure to excessive levels. Nonetheless, the government and the media seek to demonise the profession along with other public servants.

Teaching today has become characterised by heightened bureaucracy, ideologically driven policy, an intensified testing and assessment culture and an underlying misery of teachers. Consequently, the profession is at breaking point. In objectively highlighting the problems facing teaching, it is haemorrhaging staff and the number of staff leaving the profession has risen by 11% over three years. And while there are still those who seek to become teachers, those numbers are struggling to meet demand; a challenge that is compounded by the exodus of teachers from the profession.

Morale amongst teachers has hit incredibly low depths and a rapidly rising number of teachers are subject to depression and stress which has almost become an accepted albatross in the profession. And as is the case with some mental health conditions, it’s commonly seen to manifest itself in physical illness with some teachers effectively being retired by the job while still in their prime.

Needless to say, teaching is currently a profession in crisis. Though unfortunately, teachers seem to the only ones in acknowledgement of this.

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