Teacher morale at all time low: Cheer up, Miss, some of us love you

Many parents have as much respect for teachers as Michael Gove does teachers being bad-mouthed by parents in public

Share

It can’t be easy being a teacher.

At any time in history. But at this precise point in time, with directives, counter-directives, A-Level re-sits, “phonics screening checks” and new exams flying at them left, right and centre, it must be virtually impossible. Unsurprisingly, it now looks like they are about to crack.

According to a new YouGov poll of 804 teachers for the National Union of Teachers, even in the supposedly on-message academies and free schools only 13 per cent of teachers believe education is “going in the right direction”. Michael Gove should contact this 13 per cent immediately and get them to start evangelising for him. Good luck with that. Mass hypnosis might help.

 It’s impressive that there is any feelgood factor left at all in schools, so disparaged and overworked are our teachers. Looking at the figures, though, even the Pollyannas of pedagogy are wilting. Compared with April 2012, the number of inspirationally optimistic saints – sorry, teachers – reporting “high morale” has halved. If there’s anyone in a classroom who is feeling great about life, then I ‘d love a bit of what they’re on.

  At least the majority – 55 per cent – sensibly say morale is “low” or “very low”, an increase of 13 percentage points since April. Are teachers naturally grumpy, a trait only exacerbated by the demands of their job? Probably. Still, it’s damning. Seven out of 10 teachers say morale has declined since the General Election in May 2010. Presumably, the remaining three out of 10 were too busy locking themselves in the stationery cupboard, weeping, to answer the question.

Even more think the Coalition’s impact on education has been negative. Asked to finish the sentence, “What I’d like Michael Gove to make as his New Year’s resolution...”, many answered “resign”. The next most popular response was almost sweetly mature: “Value, trust and listen to us.” The most grim sentence in the report? “Teacher morale is dangerously low and has declined dramatically in recent months.” Declined dramatically in recent months? How come? No multiple choice option needed. It’s the E-Bacc.

The Department for Education claims it has invested money in cutting bureaucracy to reduce paperwork but the introduction of the English Baccalaureate will completely reverse any gains. And 81 per cent of secondary teachers say it has been rushed through without enough consultation.

Perhaps the saddest thing isn’t in the poll, though. If you have children at school, you quickly realise that many parents have about as much respect for teachers as Gove does (ie none). You repeatedly see teachers being bad-mouthed by parents in front of children, something which, no matter how flawed a teacher, is unforgivable. Teachers need all the support they can get, now more than ever. What should they make as their New Year’s resolution? Hang on in there. And ours? Show them some love. Heaven knows they’re going to need it.

Twitter: @VivGroskop

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Financial Director / FD / Senior Finance Manager

Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company has been manufacturing high quali...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is the fairest onl...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Production Planner is require...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

No more big characters or Tory clowns like Boris Johnson. London desperately needs a boring mayor

Rachel Holdsworth
Cilla Black lived her life in front of the lens, whether on television or her earlier pop career  

Cilla Black death: A sad farewell to the singer who gave us a 'lorra, lorra laughs'

Gerard Gilbert
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen