Study to uncover secret to teaching longevity to stem burnout

Long-standing teachers will be surveyed about their experiences to help support those entering the profession to remain in the classroom.

ACU’s Dr Debra Phillips said the study would tap into the often-undervalued resource of teachers with decades of experience to find out how they had stayed in the profession so long.

“It’s about finding the strategies and tips that older, experienced and mature teachers have used to remain alive in their schools and classrooms so we can pass that on to younger teachers before that wisdom is completely lost,” Dr Phillips said.

“We want to get the informed wisdom from teachers, especially those who have taught for 20 years or more, because once they leave, the teaching profession will have lost all of their cultural knowledge.”

Dr Phillips, who plans to conduct the study with ACU Associate Professor Alison Owens, said long-serving teachers had tips, strategies, and advice that could help stem teacher burnout and workforce attrition.

“We want to find out what experienced teachers in government, Catholic and independent schools have done to survive. There’s a reason why they have longevity,” she said.

“We will ask about what they’ve seen, observed, and done. We will ask them to tell us, ‘What did you do to manage and to get through the difficult times?’”

Dr Phillips, whose Australian-first Graduate Certificate in Mental Health for Teachers and Educators started at ACU this year, said the research would lead to an online resource for teachers, particularly graduates.

“We are looking at setting up a live resource that looks at different scenarios with practical strategies and useful tips from the lived experiences of teachers,” she said.

“It will reassure them that whatever their experience, more than likely, someone else has experienced it or many, many people have experienced it in schools across Australia.”

Dr Phillips said the survey would involve dozens of teachers from across Australia, with the research relevant internationally given teachers were leaving the profession due to workforce stresses globally.

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