"Emotional exhaustion": New research shows one in four new teachers suffer from low morale shortly after starting their careers. Photo: Cathryn Tremain
Many young teachers who begin their training with high motivation and noble ideals are exhausted or almost burnt out within a few years on the job, new research has shown.
The latest findings from a continuing study by researchers at Monash University revealed more than one in four new teachers suffered from "emotional exhaustion" shortly after starting their careers.
Associate Professors Paul Richardson and Helen Watt drew the findings from an analysis of surveys recently completed by 612 primary and secondary teachers.
This group was initially surveyed in 2002, as they enrolled in teacher education in NSW and Victoria.
"They were there for reasons such as wanting to enhance social equity, making a contribution to society, or having a personal interest in teaching and working with youth," Professor Watt said.
Yet the latest results of the FIT-Choice (Factors Influencing Teaching) project indicate low morale is all too common. ''I would never have thought 27 per cent would be on a path to burnout or worn out already," Professor Richardson said.
Professor Watt said those affected were ''a very dangerous group'', explaining: "They report much greater negativity in their interaction with students, such as using sarcasm, aggression, responding negatively to mistakes."
Reasons for burnout included a lack of administrative support and much tougher emotional conditions than they expected to face.