High workloads, too much paper work and low pay are driving teachers to seek work in other professions within a few years of beginning their teaching career.

A NZEI Te Riu Roa survey of 288 new teachers in the primary and early learning sectors found that 17 per cent expect to leave the profession within five years of graduating.

“I do enjoy teaching, however the paper work is huge and not the best pay while you are just starting out,” said one survey respondent, “I have friends my age with zero qualifications earning more on stress free jobs where they do not need to take any worries home at night.”

Another responded, “I love the kids but the amount of paper work and long hours are ridiculous and the salary doesn’t allow much money for myself.”

Indeed, the amount of paper work teachers face appears to be a growing problem in education.

Thirty per cent of those looking to exit teaching said the thing most likely to keep them in the profession was less paperwork and administration.

PPTA president Jack Boyle says the situation is just as bad for secondary teachers. He believes the amount of paperwork that teachers are now expected to undertake is getting out of hand.

“I believe it’s grown exponentially over the past decade,” he says.

“The compliance and documentation has, I believe, lost sight of its original intention, which was to help teachers improve their teaching.

“A lot of it seems to be paperwork as proof of having done other paperwork. It comes down to a lack of general trust in teachers’ judgement as professionals.”

Labour’s Education Manifesto promises to address paperwork specifically.

“Labour will establish a joint task-force with the teaching profession to reduce the amount of compliance-focused paperwork teachers are required to complete so that they can return their focus to what really matters – teaching and learning,” it states.


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