Schoolzone | Teachers' workload and well-being during school closures

Teachers' workload and well-being during school closures

Date: 28.05.2020

Last week, in conjunction with Durham University, we conducted a second survey of teachers in England, asking about their current workload and wellbeing, as well as how they are communicating with learners. We had well over 3,000 responses within 24 hours. Our first Covid study showed that teachers do not feel safe with the prospect of returning to school next week.

The press seems to have it that teachers are Zooming lessons and using a range of other internet tools to maximise engagement. The reality is that teachers are mostly using email. A third of teachers scored the frequency of use of email for this purpose at 10/10. Only one in ten said the same of Zoom (etc).

This isn’t surprising given that well over half of teachers had no previous experience of online teaching at all. Only a quarter felt any degree of confidence in delivering online lessons using edtech and 43% said they found trying to do so stressful. Of course many schools are not using Zoom and the like because of safeguarding issues.

All the effort to provide resources for online teaching seems to have been only partially successful too: only a third of teachers say they feel well supported with adequate resources for online teaching.

Teachers are spending most of their time planning and marking or in administrative tasks, such as emailing students – each of these takes up about 13-14 hours per week, on average, while they are spending up to 10 hours teaching. The typical working week for teachers at the moment is up to 70 hours long for primary teachers and 65 hours for secondary and tertiary teachers.

Despite the current working conditions, teachers still seem relatively happy, based on the Scales of General Well-Being (SGWB). 58% of teachers feel that what they do is important and worthwhile. Almost half say they feel happy and cheerful – remarkable in the circumstances. On all the other measures within the scale though, the picture is less positive.

Anyway, we don’t want to steel Durham University’s thunder so will leave a full consideration of the data to them and will share their report in due course.


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