Linda Woon retired as principal of Otonga Rd Primary School in 2020 after working in education for 50 years - 30 of those as a principal across two Rotorua schools. Woon was among 1709 teachers and principals who left the profession in the Bay of Plenty Waiariki area in the past five years, and not returned as of mid-July. According to Ministry of Education payroll records for state and state-integrated schools the number of leavers each year rose steadily from 276 in 2016 to 417 last year. So far this year, to July 23, 133 had left and not taken up another position.
My wife went through training college in her 40s to become a secondary school teacher. She has often said the training did not prepare her at all for the overwhelming burden of all the extra stuff that teachers are expected to do over and above curriculum preparation and delivery. In the decade she's been working (at the same school) she now feels more like a social worker, uniform and attendance policeman, guidance councillor and social justice warrior than the teacher of a subject she is hugely passionate about.
- Hendrik L
People forget lots of teachers are over 60. A large number retiring in the next 10 years some going to 70.
- Robert M
I am an experienced middle manager/ teacher with 31 years in the classroom. A secondary, specialist physics teacher. The job is complex, boards and parents have high expectations. The hours are long and the pay is not great for the time that gets put in. The expectation from most schools to run all sorts of extra curricular activities burns teachers out as well. Too many PE, health and humanities are entering the profession. Nowadays most principals come from these subjects. Where are the physicists, chemists, non statistical mathematicians? It is a vocation more than a job.
- Kevin B
As society fragments with ever more liberalising of social boundaries it's hardly surprising the negative outcomes are highlighted in schools. Does anyone question why these problems have only got increasingly worse over the last 30 years? No, because the painfully obvious answers are not what our 'progressives' want to hear.
- Grant N
Close to 50 per cent leave the profession within five years, and it's almost always due to workload. The solution is to lessen that workload: scrap the ludicrous admin requirements of teachers, build up centralised systems of teaching resources to help with course planning, and reduce overall socioeconomic inequality that has horrific flow on effects through low decile schools.
- Steve E
I am a bit lost why teachers do not anticipate work stress. Every student is different and has to deal differently. Student mentoring is a major part of teaching and those who seek a career in teaching should know they have to deal with stress as well, like any other job. I am sure teachers do get training how to deal with different situations but it is more to do with your own life skills and communication skills and how you relate with another person.
It's very much a problem with parenting with family issues than the student themselves. Which boils downs to bad personalities. They can be met everywhere in society, isn't that the reality in every job? A nurse facing harsh treatment from an arrogant patient is in worst situation than a teacher facing a troubled student. A cop being shot by a gang member? A bus driver manoeuvring traffic being hit in the face by a passenger? Stress is everywhere, not limited to teachers only.
- Thilal P
It is a challenging job. My wife works as a primary school librarian and has seen that burden increasing on her teacher friends. A good teacher is just SO valuable. Unfortunately there seems to be less reinforcement at home of respect for adults and that also makes managing the classroom harder. That's an issue with parenting, not the kids themselves.
- Steve C