More than 4000 Queensland teachers regularly consider walking out of the classroom. Picture: iStock
More than 4000 Queensland teachers regularly consider walking out of the classroom. Picture: iStock

Why Queensland teachers are thinking about quitting

MORE than 4000 state school teachers regularly think about walking out of the classroom, in a startling revelation that's been attributed to mountainous workloads.

A survey of members of the state's powerful Queensland Teachers' Union has found thousands of public school teachers have repeatedly considered quitting their jobs, with long work hours cited as their biggest concern.

QTU president Kevin Bates said on average teachers were working an extra 20 hours a week.

Queensland Teachers’ Union president Kevin Bates
Queensland Teachers’ Union president Kevin Bates

The survey of 12,000 people found more than 80 per cent of members agreed a reduction in government initiatives and "bureaucracy" would ease pressure in the classroom.

A further 80 per cent of primary school teachers thought teacher-aide support would help, while 75 per cent wanted more teachers and 79 per cent favoured smaller classes.

Mr Bates said when teachers were working long hours, it impacted their physical and mental wellbeing.

He also said inordinate levels of data entry, like that required for NAPLAN testing, being demanded of teachers was "completely useless."

"The notion that in my time as a teacher we've had five completely new English curriculums is a cause for additional workload because each time that happens, teachers have to develop entirely new programs to match whatever the thing that's being done to them at that particular point in time," he said.

More than 4000 Queensland teachers regularly consider walking out of the classroom.
More than 4000 Queensland teachers regularly consider walking out of the classroom.

Education Minister Grace Grace said it was worth noting the separation rate for state school teachers in 2017-18 was 1.9 per cent - which was low compared to other workplaces.

"The Palaszczuk Government acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our teachers who, day-in day-out, are helping shape Queensland children into the global citizens of tomorrow," she said.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace

"In recent weeks I have introduced legislation into parliament to transform and modernise the teaching profession under the Letting Teachers Teach initiative.

"In addition to these initiatives, the Department of Education also hosts workshops across the state that provide the tools and resources to build resilience, manage stress and support wellbeing in schools."

Shadow education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said schools needed greater autonomy.

"We are too focused on union campaigns, we're seeing assaults on teachers going up, we now have kids striking and walking out of school, we have hot classrooms," he said.

"If we want the LNP's view to keep our teachers in the job, we need to immediately aircondition state school classrooms, give teachers autonomy (and) declutter the curriculum."

There are about 52,000 state school teachers in Queensland.