Survey finds increased work demands impacting teachers’ job satisfaction and wellbeing

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Research published today shows that new initiatives and additional demands on second-level schools has led to an unsustainable work burden and increased levels of stress for teachers.

An ASTI/ RED C survey published today has found that 97% of teachers believe their work intensity has increased in recent years. 89% of teachers say that they cannot complete their non-teaching duties during the school day; 74% say they have an unacceptable workload.

In Ireland, second-level teachers spend 21 hours and 20 minutes teaching each week. The ASTI/ RED C survey has found that in addition to this, teachers typically spend 20 hours and 7 minutes engaged in non-teaching duties including lesson planning/ preparation, homework/ assignment marking and providing feedback, attending school meetings, and completing pastoral care duties. In addition, most teachers undertake supervision and substitution duties such as school yard supervision. Teachers are also required to attend a range of term events such as parent-teacher meetings and school open nights.

While the survey shows that helping young people is the main source of job satisfaction for teachers, it also finds that overall job satisfaction has dropped sharply since the beginning of the decade. In 2009, 77% of teachers described themselves as either very satisfied or satisfied with their work compared to just 51% in 2018.

Commenting on the survey, ASTI President Ger Curtin said: “The work of teachers has changed significantly in the last 10 years. As society has changed, the role of the teacher has expanded. The number of new initiatives in schools and the pace at which they are implemented has increased. It has always been acknowledged that teaching is a stressful occupation, however what we are now seeing in schools – as evidenced by the RED C survey – is unsustainable demands, high levels of stress and low morale. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency if we are to maintain our high quality education service.”

Key sources of increased work demands for teachers are the Croke Park hours, the Framework for Junior Cycle and increased paper work/ administrative tasks, the survey found.