Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? No longer working in education, 40% of UK teachers surveyed by a teachers’ union replied. And something tells us it is basically the same here in Malta, if we take into consideration the teacher shortage we have been suffering in past years!

It may sound like a cliched interview question, but the National Education Union says that the answer is evidence of a “culture of fear” in schools. Its survey of 8,600 members found most of those leaving blamed “huge workloads and excessive accountability”.

One teacher, who responded to the union’s State of Education survey published at its annual conference in Liverpool, said: “Working 70 hours a week for many years has meant my health and family life have suffered. I am getting out before the job kills me.”

teacher burnoutAnother unnamed respondent said: “My job is no longer about children. It’s about a 60-hour week with pressure to push children’s data through.”

More than half of respondents said their work-life balance had got worse in the past year, with one teacher saying: “With a young family, and despite working part-time, I have come to realise that a job in education is not conducive to family life.” Another said: “My personal life doesn’t exist any more.”

And the outlook was negative for a substantial minority of new teachers, with some 26% of those who had been in the job between two and five years, saying that they plan to quit the classroom altogether in five years’ time.

It seems that not only in Malta, the government seems to be doing a far better job of driving teachers out of the profession than they are solving the issue of excessive workload.