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Support Comes from Within

Updated: May 22, 2023

“Burnout, stress, anxiety, depression, and alcohol and/or drug use were their top five sources of concern for staff.”

This is just one of the many findings in the published “Australian Principal Occupation, Health and Safety Wellbeing Survey 2022”

Leading co-investigator, Professor Herb Marsh said it was a sobering look into the mental health of our nation’s school leaders.

"They are weighed down by the compounding crunch of unsustainable workloads, chronic teacher shortages and concern about mental health issues among staff and students," Professor Marsh said.

And some of the offensive behaviour statistics are quite worrying for West Australian leaders. The number of Principals experiencing offensive behaviours is alarming as they are broken down into categories:

Threats of Violence - 55.5%

Physical Violence - 55.5%

Conflicts and Quarrels - 59.8%

Gossip and Slander - 47.6%

Last August a National Teacher Workforce Action Plan was launched after the State Education Ministers collaborated under the stewardship of the Federal Education Minister to address the National Teacher shortage. This meeting was convened after the publication of the “Perceptions of Teachers and Teaching in Australia” 2019 and an “Inquiry into Teacher Shortage in NSW” both by Monash University.

Unfortunately, the conditions are not improving and like climate change, if something is not done immediately, then the situation will go beyond repair.

At the beginning of the 2023 teaching year, during a conversation with a Victorian principal, he said he was short 20 teachers. All administration were in classrooms and the annual relief budget would be exhausted by the end of term 1 if candidates were not found. I wonder when the administration of a 2000 plus school was going to happen.

Until real changes are made to education and behaviour expectations, then staff will need to internally support each other and celebrate the wins and show compassion and empathy to everyone working under the same conditions.

It is still the number one vocation for any society. The fact that you can read this post is because of an educator.

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