Up to half of all Australian teachers are leaving the profession in the first five years, and new research conducted by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health suggests the problem could be in the way the school day is structured, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Of the 453 teachers surveyed across NSW, two-thirds identified time management and having too much work as their biggest challenge, and more than half said they wanted more time for collaboration, mentoring and planning.
“One of the things identified is that teachers feel their time is limited and there are high demands on how they use that time,” the study’s program manager and principal investigator Gavin Hazel said.
Nicole Calnan, a training officer at the NSW Teachers Federation, said: “It’s one of the few positions where we expect teachers to produce the same results from their students in their first year as someone with 15 years of experience.
“We need to make sure that if we do expect that, they have support and more time within the school day for professional learning and collaboration with other teachers.”
Ms Calnan said countries like Finland, which have fewer required hours of direct instruction, provide a successful model of how teachers could be given more time outside the classroom during school hours.
Australian primary teachers must provide 6060 hours of direct instruction every year, compared to their counterparts in Finland who are required to provide 3794 hours of direct instruction, according to the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on classroom instruction. The average number of required direct instruction hours across OECD countries is 4553.
“Their teaching day is structured differently,” Ms Calnan said. “Face-to-face instruction time isn’t as great as other countries, which means teachers have greater time for lesson preparation and students have more time for social interaction.
Why up to half of all Australian teachers are quitting within five years (Sydney Morning Herald)