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ERO Report Shows Teachers Rising To COVID Challenges

The latest Education Review Office (ERO) report, released today, on the impact of COVID-19 on principals and teachers, shows a huge impact on teacher wellbeing with a significant decline in their enjoyment of their work.

While they have risen to the challenge of delivering learning in new ways, this has come at a cost, says Melanie Webber, PPTA Te Wehengarua President.

“This report leaves no doubt that rather than simply ‘hanging out on the COVID couch’, teachers have in fact worked hard to provide online learning for their students.

“They have additionally had to give support to not only students, but also their whānau and their community.

“Meanwhile the day to day interaction with students - the lively discussions, the humour, the high fives we share when something they’ve been struggling with

eventually clicks into place - is much harder to achieve in an online scenario, and this too takes away much of the joy of being in the classroom.

“Younger teachers have been particularly affected, with teachers under 35 being three times as likely to say they were not happy at work

compared to those over 46. Meanwhile only a third of teachers found their workload manageable, down ten percent from September 2020.

“This is having an impact on recruitment, with secondary principals finding it more difficult to fill vacancies.

“In order to be a career that attracts talented specialists, secondary teaching needs to be well paid and properly resourced.

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“I agree entirely, for example, with the report’s finding that there is a need for more pastoral care in secondary schools in these times of a deadly global pandemic.

“But schools need more staff to do that effectively.”

Melanie Webber says it is not surprising at all that the report found the impact of COVID-19 had been greater in schools in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. “The prolonged lockdown in Auckland made for a terribly stressful few months, particularly for teachers of senior students. I commend these teachers for doing everything they could to help their senior students get through.”

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