Teachers are reeling from the shock of the pandemic as the continued pressures on them are taking a lasting toll on their wellbeing, according to the latest Tes Staff Wellbeing Report. The report highlighted that 55% of Australian school staff said they do not currently get a good work-life balance or a manageable workload.
The report shows how school staff are battling unmanageable workloads exacerbated by inadequate resources and a lack of flexibility, as well as experiencing limited opportunities for career development. According to the responses received, 42% of school staff say that flexible working isn’t something they are currently able to do but would like to, while 26% say their school offers this but it could be improved.
Only 28% of staff believe they are given a voice in how decisions are made in their school and worryingly, 37% of respondents said they wouldn’t recommend their schools as a place to work to their friends.
The report highlighted that 74% of staff in Australia say they feel confident performing their roles, while 88% say they believe they are skilful workers. And their enthusiasm for the job remains, too: 77% say they ‘throw themselves into their work’.
“The report is significant and provides some clear insights that can guide schools and leadership groups in developing policies, procedures and support structures that have the capacity to deal with whatever new challenges are put before them in the future,” says Tim Waley, Tes Australia Education Expert. “This was in large part the core of the issue for teachers and leaders – the sudden nature of adjustments that all in the profession had to make.” adds Waley.
The implications of the report are pretty clear for school leaders, Waley tells Education Matters,“It is very clear that this is a time for considered, logical, collaborative and inclusive planning that includes continuous feedback from staff about how they are feeling and coping with the ever -increasing demands faced in achieving the best outcomes with their students,”
“It cannot be assumed that a ‘steady as she goes’ approach will cut the cloth. Leadership groups need to be on a continuous pathway to developing flexible approaches that will suitably prepare staff for whatever eventuality arises or that demands changes or adjustments in the school’s approach to delivery.” Waley says.
“There remains significant data in this report that also affirms positive staff feelings across a number of areas that can affect their wellbeing, so there is still much to feel optimistic about in terms of teacher and leadership resilience,” he said.
“As a final observation this whole COVID experience has not really acknowledged or given credit to the significant contribution parents have made towards assisting children and teachers through the enforced home learning demands.”
Tes is working with schools across Australia to demonstrate where their tools have had a positive impact on wellbeing. Software that helps with flexible timetabling, staff surveys and classroom behaviour management can really make a difference. Increased and more structured CDP can also motivate and support staff, helping them to grow and develop in a school rather than burn out and leave.
“It is really helpful for schools to learn from other colleagues where they’ve had wellbeing successes and the tools they have been using to get there. Tes is here to support schools wherever and whenever they can” says Waley.
Tim Waley, Executive Consultant Tes Australia & NZ :
Tim has more than 30 years of experience as a principal in Australia, the Middle East and Asia. He has served as president of Independent Schools Tasmania, as an ISCA board member, an AHISA member and in a variety of capacities on state education bodies. Tim is an Executive Consultant at Tes Australia which is part of Tes Global, the international provider of education software and recruitment solutions.