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Are the staff in your school really stressed?

(188 Posts)
christinarossetti Fri 15-Feb-13 22:49:48

A question for both teachers and parents/carers.

I've had a number of conversations today with parents and teachers from different schools and realised that there's been a reoccurring theme of teachers saying how stressed they are and parents saying how stressed the teachers seem to be.

Ofsted will be in our school next half-term, so obviously people very stressed.

Is this normal in education at the moment, or is it just the people I know?

Feenie Sat 16-Feb-13 16:28:27

Are you a teacher, ipad?

GingerbreadGretel Sat 16-Feb-13 16:29:33

ipadquietly, your colleague may be a poor time manager. But this thread is looking at general trends and your first post implies that it is ONLY those poor at time management or following directed time schedules who are under stress.

The reaction you are getting is because that fails to recognise many other stresses that teachers are under, which other posters have eloquently listed and that in many cases sometimes just too much is asked - more than even a magical conjuror of time could manage.

ipadquietly Sat 16-Feb-13 16:29:41


ipadquietly Sat 16-Feb-13 16:32:35

You misread ginger. I said that poor time management and unwillingness to work outside of directed time can also lead to stress.

GingerbreadGretel Sat 16-Feb-13 16:35:53

I see the "also" now but I admit I missed it the first time through. I think maybe others have too, looking at some of the responses.

I think in the current climate if you are not a good time manager, you would be almost doomed - so many other pressures.

exoticfruits Sat 16-Feb-13 16:37:14

It depends a lot on the Head- poor ones make the job very stressful.

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 16:37:24

I don't know a single teacher who doesn't work outside directed time!


rabbitstew Sat 16-Feb-13 16:37:44

One person's poor time management is another person's perfectionism, it just depends on how much stress you can cope with and how much of a life outside of school you expect. Just because someone says they think they are a poor time manager, that doesn't make it a fact that they are. If a teacher tries to be the teacher parents expect all the time, I suspect she or he will be a perfectionist who might well have to give up with stress in the end, because he or she cannot live up to her own expectations. People less good at their jobs might well be able to go on for longer, even if they do piss the parents off more and differentiate less well for the children than the perfectionist did. So, good time management can really just mean knowing your own limits and not trying to be the best you can be all the time. A shame to say someone was a poor time manager if actually they just tried too hard to be perfect and in the end decided it was too stressful and would rather give up than not be the perfect teacher they wanted to be.

ipadquietly Sat 16-Feb-13 16:37:44

Which is why my colleague went off with stress.........
Which is why her job has now been adapted to suit her needs......

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 16:40:59

I'm not sure how classroom teaching can be "adapted"

rabbitstew Sat 16-Feb-13 16:42:07

Because she was a perfectionist? Or because she wasn't good at her job as a result of poor time management? I don't think the two are entirely the same thing, albeit they have considerable overlaps. The former doesn't cause problems until the person gives up as a result of stress, the latter is noticeable because the person doesn't get their work done...

ipadquietly Sat 16-Feb-13 16:43:13

Mrz. Several years ago I worked with someone who wouldn't work outside of directed time. Her marking, planning, etc piled up (we had to hide unmarked books in an Ofsted inspection), and she couldn't keep up. She then had a few months off with stress, and unions were involved because of the implication that we were demanding more of her than the directed time budget. It was a gruesome time.

Feenie Sat 16-Feb-13 16:44:18

I am totally mystified as to how you could teach in primary and not work outside directed time.

christinarossetti Sat 16-Feb-13 16:46:44

Yeah, I don't get the sense the problem is individual 'time management', more like it's actually impossible to do what is required to do the job properly in term of preparation, marking, assessing etc without working lots outside school hours, and at times eg Ofsted, end of term, SATS the pressure becomes even more intense.

cumbrialass Sat 16-Feb-13 16:50:17

Teacher's contracts say "directed time plus the additional hours required to fulfill our professional duties" so there is in theory no limit to the hours we are required to work!

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 16:53:21

OK thinking about it .. some years ago I worked with a teacher who didn't work outside directed time (didn't do much in directed time to be honest) and he was the most chilled out person I've ever met. He left with the children and spent evenings and weekends enjoying his passion ...the rest of the staff were stressed until he left

slambang Sat 16-Feb-13 16:54:11

I've taught at 3 different primaries and my dcs have been to 2 others.

Stress was a serious problem in all 5 schools for many reasons (poor manangement, good management with unrealistic expectations, Ofsted, behaviour issues, changing programmes, dcs with SN in mainstream classes without enough support, massive class sizes etc etc etc).

I've seen teacher suicide twice sad, multiple marriage break ups, long term sick leave (often) and many very good teachers leaving or desperate to leave the profession because they wanted a life or just couldn't do it any more.

It could be summed up as trying to do everything for everyone all the time and having nothing left for yourself. It needs to change.

exoticfruits Sat 16-Feb-13 16:55:16

You wouldn't survive if you didn't work outside directed time! It is not surprising that many are keen on a job share- I think you will get more and more of them in the future.

tethersend Sat 16-Feb-13 16:55:53

"If anyone says to you that 'staff morale is at an all-time low' you know you are doing something right."

When this is the head of Ofsted's take on the matter, you've got to wonder...

rabbitstew Sat 16-Feb-13 17:06:32

The head of Ofsted clearly doesn't care as much about high staff turnover as parents do, then. If it were only poor teachers leaving, that would be one thing, but when the best staff leave and are replaced by a succession of newly qualified teachers, you would surely know that staff morale being at an all time low has nothing to do with someone doing something right.

MariusEarlobe Sat 16-Feb-13 17:14:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Arisbottle Sat 16-Feb-13 17:14:51

I don't know any primary school teachers who are not stressed.

Seconda school teaching, for me has moments of stress, as does any professional job. But it rarely lasts and is usually explained by my own poor time management.

hermioneweasley Sat 16-Feb-13 17:18:45

My FB feed is full of "hurrah - half term, no work fr another week" type status updates. I guess it has its compensations.

exoticfruits Sat 16-Feb-13 17:20:16

I know 2 schools where new heads caused every teacher to leave within 2years- very sad for the school because they were largely very experienced teachers who voted with their feet. A sign of a good school is one with a low staff turnover.

exoticfruits Sat 16-Feb-13 17:22:34

Don't take that as what they really mean, hermione!

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