In June of this year, the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) conducted the 2016 School Workload Survey of more than 13,000 teachers, principals and learning staff. The purpose was clear: understanding teacher workload. Education professionals from across the primary and secondary sectors were asked a small series of questions regarding work hours, how they are spent and what responsibilities they have. The results were just released this month and the implications are concerning.
Download the full report here or keep reading to get a summary of the findings, implications and recommendations.
The overarching theme across the survey results is one that all teachers will sympathise with, and most will expect: teachers are overworked. This is supported by three key findings:
- Teachers are working several hours of overtime each week: According to the survey, 80% of teachers work unpaid overtime every week, which results in an average of 53 hours of work per week. This is an excessive workload that can negatively impact the personal lives of teachers as their workload starts to creep beyond their scheduled hours.
- Teachers are not able to keep up with their workload: Even with the extra hours, 80% of teachers also say that their workload is not manageable. This means that even with working overtime, teachers aren’t getting the time to properly plan their lessons.
- Teachers lack proper resources: Teachers indicated that they were not equipped with enough resources to do their job properly. This issue was exacerbated in schools with a smaller budget where only 58% of teachers indicated that they had the appropriate teaching and learning resources. Unfortunately, it’s students who suffer the consequences of this deficiency.
Without enough time to plan their classes, teachers simply aren’t able to provide the highest quality education. As part of the survey, approximately 90% of teachers admitted that their excessive workload negatively impacts the quality of their teaching in the classroom. The issue extends beyond regular hours as well – teachers are so busy outside of school hours that they have very little time to give meaningful feedback to students. This creates a potential downward spiral where quality of learning is declining, yet students have no way to get help.
Clearly, a key part of the solution is for teachers to have more time within school hours for planning and assessing student learning.
The AEU’s report doesn’t fully cover how to resolve these issues, which are obviously quite complex. While it does explore ideas from teachers on what the solutions might be, it doesn’t go into much detail. Some suggestions include an increase in budget, more admin support and more teacher aides, however, the real solution is time. Teachers need a more convenient way to manage all the responsibilities that they have.
How Jacaranda can help
Issues such as teacher workload are one of the many reasons that Jacaranda developed learnON, our new immersive eBook for 2017. We realise that teachers need a learning solution that helps them to save time planning lessons and marking assessments. That’s why learnON includes one-click access to everything teachers need (from theory to questions, answers, embedded media and more), questions that are automatically marked and worked solutions/exemplary responses for every question. Try it out for yourself and see if you think it will help teachers manage their time more effectively
What are your thoughts on the survey results? Do you have any suggestions for how teachers can free up their schedule? We’d love to hear your ideas so let us know in the comments below.