Two in five teachers suffering from stress related illnesses

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More than two out of five (43.9%) teachers have suffered from stress related illnesses, a new poll of teachers carried out by Teachers TV has found.

A quarter of these stated they have lived with anxiety (27.1%), with others suffering from depression and insomnia; at the extreme end some teachers have endured stress-related ME and angina.

Despite this, nearly two thirds of teachers (65.4%) felt that job satisfaction was the main factor that kept them in the profession. Seven in ten (71.7%) also felt that the long holidays compensated for the level stress they experienced.

More than four out of five teachers (82.3%) believe teaching is more stressful than work in other fields and over half of teachers (55.7%) have considered leaving the profession because of the stress of teaching, up by 5% since 2006. Although, one in seven (14%) said that they remained in the profession because there was no realistic alternative option in the current economic climate. 

Stress is also negatively affecting their ability to do their job, with more than a quarter of teachers (26.1%) having taken at least a day off work as a result of stress in the last 12 months. This has doubled since Teachers TV’s last poll on stress, carried out in 2006. At the time just over one in eight (13%) teachers had taken a day off work as a result of stress.

Over 9 in 10 (96%) of respondents said they worked unpaid overtime every week, with over half (54.6%) saying they do more than six hours unpaid overtime each week. Indeed, over a quarter (26%) work 16 or more hours of overtime every week.   

Over a quarter of teachers (26.3%) felt that lesson plans and classroom materials would reduce the stress of the job, while over a third felt that more support from teaching assistants or support staff would be of value.

Commenting on the results, Andrew Bethell, Chief Executive of Teachers TV, said: “It is encouraging to see that the large majority of staff stay in the profession because of the job satisfaction despite the challenges of the role and worryingly increase of stress cited by teachers since we asked the questions two years ago. Teachers clearly feel that resource like lesson plans can actively ease their workload, something available from Teachers TV.”

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