A growing number of teachers in Australia are not satisfied with their jobs, and many plan to leave the profession according to a survey on teachers’ perceptions of their work in 2022.
The survey of 5,497 participants, conducted by Monash University, said these findings have come about amidst ongoing concerns about teacher shortages and education strategies that are not working in the nation.
In 2019, 65.6% of participants noted they were satisfied with their jobs, but this number decreased to 45.8% in 2022.
This was on the back of several issues including feelings of being unappreciated and a lack of respect from the community.
Many said there were misconceptions about being a teacher.
“Non-teachers assume they know what it is like to be a teacher because they have been a student in a school,” says a teacher.
“I do not think I know what it is like to be a dentist because I have been and had my teeth cleaned.”
This misconception also grew to include teachers being thought of as “babysitters” rather than professionals.
The growing workload has pushed many teachers to the brink, as the demands of administrative tasks pile on.
One teacher says, “The time taken in keeping records of everything has increased exponentially.
Another adds, “I am burnt out. I cannot do my job well with all the demands placed upon me.”
Due to this, only 27.6% of participants said they will remain within the profession until retirement while 20% want to leave within five years.
Teachers in Australia are invested in their profession
Despite these findings, 80% of participants surveyed said they felt a sense of belonging to the teaching profession.
These were namely because teachers felt strong connections to students and value these relationships.
It was noted that watching students learn and excel in the classroom reaffirmed their main aim of teaching. One participant adds, “You get emotionally invested in ensuring the students develop.”
Another says helping students understand lessons and watching them comprehend them was a boost among teachers: “They then tell you about their day and what they love about coming to school, as well as trusting you with personal matters.”
A factor contributing to their sense of belonging is the shared goals and camaraderie among teachers. One says, “Teachers are usually incredibly warm, passionate, positive people who want the best for their workmates and our shared students.”
Supportive school systems and policies are factors that give teachers a sense of belonging. The flexibilities in curriculums and job security have proven to play a role in how teachers responded.
Teachers employed on a permanent basis felt more secure than teachers on a contract.
“Every year, as soon as term three started, I would be thinking of applying again and started feeling I don’t belong here anymore. My current position is ongoing, and it definitely is a big boost,” says a teacher.