After seeing the words ‘teacher shortage’ pop up all over twitter, I read an article on BBC News Education about the teacher shortage that schools in England are facing. I was disappointed to read that a pay rise of 3.5% was only on offer for some teachers with others getting 1.5 or 2%. As Geoff Barton, leader of ASCL head teacher’s union explains, “It would mean other teachers were paid less than their colleagues, despite having similarly demanding workloads.” He instead recommended that 3.5% pay rise should be given to all teachers.

This to me seems fair as all teachers work hard. Teaching is a high demand job with a huge workload and lots of pressure and accountability. Teachers deserve fair pay for their work. The teaching community has taken to twitter to respond to this pay rise and from what I have seen, those who would be entitled for the pay rise don’t want to receive more pay than their colleagues. However, this is just a small part of a bigger issue, as teaching isn’t about money. Teachers don’t usually choose to teach to get rich, it’s about their passion for making a difference. You need to love teaching and thrive on the challenge. Yet, those who love teaching are leaving.

Interestingly, the National Foundation for Educational Research found that “teachers work as many hours as police officers each year but in fewer weeks.” This worked out to be 50 hours in term time and “even after taking account of school holidays, full-time teachers still work the equivalent of 45 hours per week.” This really highlights what I think is one of the key reasons that teacher recruitment and retention is high- the workload.

Having such a huge workload makes it difficult to have a good work life balance and means teachers can feel pushed to their limit. More than half the teachers surveyed by the NFER were unhappy with their leisure time. The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has promised to cut teachers’ workload, but my question is how? With a tight budget, growing classes and staff shortages what will be implemented to help our overworked teachers?

Sources:
England’s schools face ‘severe’ teacher shortage. Sean Coughlan 30.08.18
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-45341734
Classroom teachers up to 3.5% pay rise. Sean Coughlan 24.7.18
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44937452
Teacher retention and turnover research- Research update 4: How do teachers compare to nurses and police officers? Jack Worth, Jude Hillary and Joana Andrade 20.3.18
https://www.nfer.ac.uk/teacher-retention-and-turnover-research-research-update-4-how-do-teachers-compare-to-nurses-and-police-officers