Teacher’s enjoyment still high
Teachers busier and more stressed
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.
New at school: New entrant teacher Kirsty Holden helps Yaraldi Ceballes Rodriguez, 5, with her writing.