More UK Teachers Leaving the Profession

December 27, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. quit (v.) [kwit] – to leave or stop from doing something
Example: The unhappy employee quit his job after a fight with his boss.

2. insult (v.) [in-suhltin-suhlt] – to speak to or treat disrespectfully
Example: The students insulted the new teacher by talking loudly while she was teaching.

3. demoralized (adj.) [dih-mawr-uh-lahyz d, -mor-] – weakened in confidence, spirit, or having no motivation or inspiration
Example: A good teacher should encourage demoralized students to continue studying.

4. retain (v.) [ri-teyn] – to keep
Example: Students cannot retain new vocabulary words without regular practice.

5. scrutiny (n.) [skroot-n-ee] – the act of carefully watching or studying something or someone
Example: The scrutiny of workers is one important task of the manager.

Read the text below.

The number of UK teachers leaving their profession went up almost 20% over the last year (2010-2011). 

Schools Minister David Laws revealed that in 2010-2011, around 47,700 teachers quit their jobs compared to only 40,070 in 2009-2010. The government is unsure whether the increase will continue in the long-term or if the increase is just temporary. 

Figures taken from years before 2011 showed a gradual decrease in the number of teachers quitting their jobs. The sudden increase may be related to government officials’ negative comments about teachers. Prime Minister David Cameron and Education Secretary Michael Gove had insulted teachers by calling them “whingers,” a British term meaning “people who complain a lot.”

A recent survey by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers showed that over the past 12 months, 80% of schoolteachers have been feeling demoralized and 50% have seriously thought about quitting.

According to Christine Blower of the National Union of Teachers, retaining experienced teachers at schools is becoming more difficult because of pay freezes (no increase in salary) and decreases in pension, combined with greater workload and scrutiny from the government

On the brighter side, the Department of Education reports an increase in the number of new teacher trainees in 2011. The government is also planning on supporting programs that attract top university graduates into the teaching profession.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor

Discussion A

·         Do you think teachers in your country are shown enough respect or appreciation? What makes you say so?
·         What are some difficulties experienced by teachers in your country (e.g., low pay, lack of benefits, etc.)? How can the government help teachers?

Discussion B

·         Tell me about a teacher that you remember the most. Why do you remember that teacher?
·         What are the qualities of a good teacher? What kind of qualities do you dislike in a teacher?


December 27, 2012