It's Time to Talk about Teachers' Workload


Aug 10, 2021

“Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

That’s what they always say.

And until COVID hit, that meant most parents weren’t really in a position to understand what it’s like to teach.

They seemed, by and large, to imagine teaching was just like any other job - only with much better holiday.

But in the last year, those parents have walked many a mile in our collective shoes, experiencing first hand what the weight of a teacher’s workload really feels like.

And that means we can finally start talking honestly about what’s expected of teachers - and how we could change it for the better.

Teaching has a work-life problem

As parents will no doubt have discovered in 2020, teaching involves far more than just correcting spelling.

Research suggests that secondary school teachers spend as much time on things like marking and admin as they do actually teaching.

Worse still, teaching generally gnaws its way into holiday time too, with 60% of teachers spending their half-terms planning lessons.

So, between the early mornings, late nights and partially lost holidays, teachers end up with one of the most punishing schedules of any profession.

All of which goes to explain why mental health and burnout have become such perennial problems for the teaching community.

Are we really surprised?

Of course, none of this is actually news. We’ve known for years that teachers face incredible pressure, leading an unusually high number of them to quit.

There’s even been efforts made by the government to manage and mitigate that pressure.

And in some cases they’ve even succeeded. By cutting a teacher’s workload by 5 hours per week over the last 3-4 years. Although that probably doesn’t feel like the case at all for many of you.

The reason I want to highlight this point though, is I believe COVID has created a renewed awareness of just how taxing teachers’ workload is.

Not just within the professional community, but the wider society.

And I’m hoping we can channel some of that awareness into real change - to redress the work-life problems teachers face, and make their workload much more manageable.

So why has it taken this long?

Studies in 2019 showed that teachers’ hours have remained relatively stable over the last 25 years, averaging just shy of 50 hours per week.

And to some that might not seem noteworthy.

But think about it, that means things haven’t improved for teachers since 1994.

With all of the technological advances we’ve made, is it really possible that so little has been done to make teachers’ lives easier - or their workload lighter?

From simplifying admin and streamlining recruitment to making marking more efficient - there are so many ways we could be making the working week shorter and easier for education professionals.

The only reason these improvements haven’t been made is a resistance to technology and a lack of imagination.

But since the pandemic has managed to open our minds to how vital a tool technology can be, we seem to be on the way to fixing this, too.

So, all we need now is the imagination to push for real change. And after the challenges of the last year, I truly believe we owe it to every education professional out there.


At Front of Class, we’re on a mission to make life easier for teachers and schools, by making recruitment simpler and more direct - request a demo today.



At Front of Class, our recruitment technology is all about making life easier for educators and schools, so that they can focus on what they do best – Request a demo today


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