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Admin tasks undermine teacher morale, survey finds

Thursday 23 March 2023

The vast majority of teachers at Victorian Independent schools are satisfied with their career choice, but excessive administrative tasks and the unreasonable demands of some parents risk undermining their passion for teaching, a new survey has found.

The survey records the responses of 270 teachers in 103 schools who were asked their reasons for teaching, what they found satisfying in their jobs and what they found least satisfying.

Release of the survey findings coincides with action by federal and state governments to deal with a national shortage of teachers, with measures to retain current teachers, increase the supply of new ones, and elevate the status of the teaching profession.

The survey, conducted by Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), found most teachers are driven by a passion for making a difference to their students, with many describing teaching as a calling, not just a job.

It found:

  • 71 per cent of teachers surveyed are satisfied with their decision to become a teacher.
  • Three-quarters of respondents said ‘making a difference in a student’s life’ is the most satisfying aspect of being a teacher.

It also reveals what teachers don’t like and what causes them to be dissatisfied.

“This report is a timely and valuable contribution to the national conversation about teachers and the crucial role they play in society.'”

— Michelle Green, Chief Executive, ISV

Non-teaching tasks and admin potentially driving dissatisfaction

While work in the classroom is what is most satisfying, teachers said they were burdened with non-teaching tasks including administration and accountability requirements which take them away from their core function.

An ISV report detailing the survey findings warns: ‘Excessive demands on teachers’ time for non-teaching tasks and administration have the potential to drive dissatisfaction and extinguish the passion that calls teachers to the role.’

When asked what support would assist them in their role as a teacher, the majority (78 per cent) indicated they would like fewer non-teaching demands on their time.

In survey responses that mirror other research that has looked at all school sectors – including Government and Catholic schools – Independent school teachers reported high levels of dissatisfaction in meeting the unreasonable demands of some parents.

They also feel their profession is not respected by the general public compared to other occupations, a feeling that negatively affects their job satisfaction and retention in the teaching workforce.

Releasing the survey report, ISV chief executive Michelle Green said: ‘This report is a timely and valuable contribution to the national conversation about teachers and the crucial role they play in society.

‘It points to actions that governments, policy makers, school leaders, and, crucially, parents, can take to improve levels of teacher satisfaction, by lifting some of the irksome distractions that are imposed on them and giving them the respect they deserve, and in the process enhance the education of young Australians.’

Media contact

Tom Hyland
Media and Communications Advisor
Independent Schools Victoria
0417 562 924