Headshot Young Girl

Darren Macolino

VIA21

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Challenge

There is a huge challenge for teachers which I have had personal experience with; work/life balance. As a teacher I found it immensely hard trying to keep up with the constant stream of administrative work, marking, lesson planning and communication with parents required in the job. It took a toll on my mental and physical health as well as my relationships. During COVID in 2020 this was especially compounded as there was even more work to move learning online at the drop of a hat. This matters because it burns teachers out and forces them to leave the profession. Studies in Australia suggest that up to 50% of teachers leave the profession within their first 5 years. I believe much of this is due to a lack of work/life balance. I have left the classroom in part because of this and now with the flexibility at my new position in corporate I would struggle to go back to those working conditions. The hardest part is the hours of work outside of the work day and on weekends which so many teachers do on a regular basis. This has a huge impact on teachers' lives and sadly, if they do not do these hidden hours it has a huge impact on the quality of their teaching and in turn the learning outcomes of their students. Teachers are constantly time poor and it seems unlikely that the structural changes needed for lower face to face contact hours will become reality any time soon. While there are other factors such as expectations of educators to do more than just teach, I want to focus on the challenge of administrative burden. The things which are not core to the outcomes of students but must still be done for one reason or another.