‘Suicidal’ teachers so stressed that almost half say they will quit

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

This is the alarming message from education organisations and frazzled educators as many try to enjoy their half-term break.

The latest figures from the Teacher Wellbeing Index, a survey by the Education Support charity, found that more than three-quarters (77 percent) of teachers experience poor mental health, including panic attacks, anxiety and depression, due to their work. And 72 percent report being stressed and overworked.

According to the survey, work-life balance and excessive workloads are persistent issues which have led to teachers having poor mental health. And research by the National Education Union found that the effect of this is that nearly half (44 percent) of all teachers plan to leave schools by 2027.

One of those considering quitting is Alexandrina Fernandes, who works as a supply teacher in Manchester. Miss Fernandes said: “I have heard about people saying that they have friends saying they don’t want to live anymore because of the job.

“I really like my job but it’s so frustrating every single day and I’m thinking about opening a restaurant instead of teaching. I’m on Prozac and Xanax because it’s really hard to cope.

“I turn 50 this month and I don’t know how much longer I’ll do this job for. I would rather be cooking or cleaning and most of my colleagues think the same. It’s not fair for the teachers or the children. We feel so tired. It’s exhausting.”

She said that one of the biggest issues she has is the behaviour of pupils, which she says has got a lot worse since the Covid pandemic. The 50-year-old added: “During Covid they stayed at home for nearly two years and now they don’t follow the rules.

“They don’t respect teachers and they think they can do anything and they call me bad names. Most times the parents don’t care. When I leave schools I just want to cry but I always try my best.”

History teacher Tom Rogers says he has not taught in schools since 2015, after leaving to protect his mental health, and now runs projects including a teaching podcast.

The 37-year-old said: “If you look on social media, there are reasons why everyone is going part-time. It’s about head space and having time to look after yourself.

“A lot of teachers are trying to get side hustles because they want to leave. Surely the job of teaching should be enough and there should be enough opportunities to progress without destroying their mental health.

“People are thinking bloody hell, why am I doing this? especially for the pay that I’m getting. People now realise they can get jobs in other industries for better money. It’s sad because when teaching is going well nothing beats it.”

Echoing the teachers’ concerns, Education Support and the Chartered College of Teaching have written to the Education Secretary asking for a meeting to talk about the persistent state of stress and burnout among teaching professionals.

Education Support’s chief executive, Sinéad Mc Brearty, said: “We are experiencing a crisis in teaching that will have a huge impact on entire school communities, including the quality of children’s lives and education. The government must acknowledge the scale of the problem and act. 

“We are seeing a rise in teachers who are at risk of suicide when they contact us for help, which is deeply worrying. We expect this to get worse as the cost-of-living crisis deepens and we urge the government to act now to address the drivers of distress.” 

Chartered College of Teaching chief executive Dame Alison Peacock said: “Teachers are essential in student recovery post-pandemic, but no one can do their best at work if they are mentally and emotionally depleted. We rightly have ambitious plans for education recovery and student outcomes as a nation. 

“However, these goals cannot be achieved with a burnt-out workforce. The Government has been on pause throughout the summer, but now it needs to act. There is significant disparity in how education has been affected across the country, and the toll it has taken is severe.

“As the government looks to the future and particularly to the difficulties of the winter ahead, they must put in place the support our profession needs to deliver excellent education.”

The Samaritans can be reached round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it is best to call them on the phone. You can reach them by calling 116 123, by emailing [email protected] or by visiting www.samaritans.org.

Source: Read Full Article