Teacher’s en­joy­ment still high

Teach­ers busier and more stressed

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

Porirua teach­ers say while stress lev­els are higher than ever, work­ing for a sup­port­ive school has a big­ger im­pact than govern­ment de­ci­sions or pres­sure from par­ents.

New en­trant teacher Kirsty Holden has worked at Can­nons Creek School for 22 years.

Ev­ery year she has a new class of about 14 5-year-olds.

She said she loved what she did, but had no­ticed the work load in­crease.

‘‘There is more work these days than there has ever been,’’ she said.

‘‘The big­gest changes have been in the last three or four years.’’

Re­search re­leased last week showed that teach­ers and prin­ci­pals still love their jobs, but there was a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in stress and drop in morale.

Teacher morale has dropped from 86 per cent to 74 per cent since 2010 and prin­ci­pal morale has dropped 15 per cent.

Holden said there were more op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren than ever be­fore.

How­ever, with those op­por­tu­ni­ties came more work.

‘‘We want to give our chil­dren ev­ery­thing.

‘‘It gets busier and busier ev­ery year. No mat­ter how pre­pared you are there is al­ways more work.

‘‘ With tech­nol­ogy and ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened it should be eas­ier, but it’s not.’’

Holden said ex­tra pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and more meet­ings meant there was less time for les­son plan­ning and spend­ing time teach­ing read­ing and writ­ing.

She said there was added ex­pec­ta­tion to teach nu­tri­tion, ex­er­cise, man­ners and life skills, whereas a few years ago the fo­cus was just on read­ing and writ­ing.

‘‘There is more and more on of­fer, so there is more and more you do.’’

‘‘We have only got five hours a day [of class time].’’

Work­ing for a sup­port­ive school made all the dif­fer­ence, she said.

‘‘ I still love com­ing to work ev­ery day. When you al­ready have the per­fect job you don’t want to go any­where else.

‘‘It’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent ev­ery day. Chil­dren are won­der­ful to work with. My class hasn’t grown [too big], be­cause we have the sup­port of the school.’’

Whitby Ad­ven­ture School prin­ci­pal John Woot­ton agreed the en­vi­ron­ment of a school mat­tered most.

‘‘ Staff morale [ at Ad­ven­ture School] is high, but it doesn’t have as much to do with ex­ter­nal fac­tors as it does as within the school,’’ he said.

Woot­ton has worked in teach­ing since 1977 and be­came a prin­ci­pal 12 years ago.

He said he had no­ticed higher ex­pec­ta­tions from the Govern­ment and par­ents.

‘‘I’m not say­ing that is a bad thing. Par­ents need to have high ex­pec­ta­tions. It’s just stock and trade of the job.’’

He said he tried to re­duce stress among his staff by not putting too much ex­tra work on them.

And it worked both ways, Woot­ton said that hav­ing a good staff re­duced his stress lev­els.

De­spite the stress, the re­search showed 92 per cent of prin­ci­pals and 94 per cent of teach­ers still en­joyed their jobs.

New Zealand Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute pres­i­dent Ju­dith Nowotarski said the re­search showed that de­spite ex­tra pres­sures, teach­ers still had pas­sion for teach­ing.

Nowotarski said the added stress and frus­tra­tion was a re­sult of Govern­ment de­ci­sions that in­cluded Na­tional Stan­dards, char­ter schools and a busi­ness ap­proach to ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘ They’re try­ing to blame teach­ers for chil­dren not reach­ing their po­ten­tial when poverty is the real cause.

‘‘Mean­while, schools are try­ing to do more with less,’’ she said.

Photo: RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

New at school: New en­trant teacher Kirsty Holden helps Yaraldi Ce­balles Ro­driguez, 5, with her writ­ing.

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