Stressed Teacher

(P1) Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, says she has been told of one teacher crying every night at home and another being ordered not to burst into tears in the staffroom.

(P2) Dr Bousted mentioned a young man who told her how worried he was about his partner, a primary school teacher.

(P3) “Increasingly, when he came home from work, he found her crying on the kitchen floor,” Dr Bousted said.

(P4) She told how she had heard from another teacher who had been given a performance objective that she must not cry in the staffroom.

(P5) “She did not know what to be more MORTIFIED about – that she had cried in the staffroom, or that her line manager could propose such an OBJECTIVE without any thought about what might cause her to cry in the first place,” Dr Bousted said.

(P6) She added: “Tales like these are told to me just too often. It seems that teacher stress is increasingly being regarded as PAR FOR THE COURSE and part of the job.

(P7) “A newly qualified teacher, asking for help to deal with an impossible workload which took up every evening until 11pm and all of the weekend, was told by her line manager ‘that’s the way it is in teaching’.

(P8) “Teachers, as professionals, expect to work hard but should not be expected to devote every minute of their lives to their work. Teachers need time to relax, to pursue hobbies, to talk to their families and friends. They need time to be human.”

(P9) Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said there was no doubt the whole teaching profession, from the newly qualified teacher to the senior leader, was under CONSIDERABLE pressure.

(P10) “It’s essential that we all pay attention to the WELL-BEING of staff. Clearly, if a member of staff is in tears in the staff room, it would be INCUMBENT ON the school, someone in the school, to look at what the problem was and discuss it with them, so they can give them the appropriate support they need.”

(P11) Dr Bousted also pointed out that the education system cannot afford to be so “PROFLIGATE with its teachers”.

(P12) “At the moment England is in a PERFECT STORM of rising pupil numbers, falling teacher RECRUITMENT, and poor teacher RETENTION. If our education system is to meet this immense challenge, it needs to value its teachers as its most precious RESOURCE and treat them ACCORDINGLY,” she added.

WORDS: 415



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Does your job require you to work nights and weekends?
  3. Have you ever felt so stressed at your job that you became emotional?
  4. Is teaching a well-paid profession in your country, or are the WAGES below average?
  5. 50% of new teachers leave the profession within five years. Why do you think that is?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Par for the course
  • Well-being
  • Incumbent on
  • Perfect storm

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