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Key in door

Burnout, the behaviour paradox, and locking the door

24 October 2023

YOU are the most important part of Teacher Tapp, and we want to continue saying “thank you” for making such a valuable contribution!

From the 14th October until the 14th December 2023, for every 30 questions you answer on Teacher Tapp you’ll receive a Golden Ticket for the Teacher Tapp Prize Draw.

What’s the prize? Each month you could win:

  • £1,000 cash!
  • One of three Fortnum & Mason hampers

The prize draws will happen on 14th November and 14th December. Don’t worry if you don’t win in November, your tickets are valid for the December draw too!

Golden Ticket promo


Around three-quarters of you are on half-term this week. Phew.

The October half-term is a funny one this year… 1 in 10 of you had half-term last week (making the second half of the term longer) and 3 in 10 get it next week (so the first half was longer). If you had to pick a longer half, 95% of you would prefer term to be longer at the start, and a quick sprint ’till Christmas. So those still waiting for half-term can take some joy from that at least!

We won’t talk about the 15% who get a two week half term 🤫


Joking aside, half-term provides well-earned respite, particularly for 3 in 10 teachers who report a consistent feeling of burnout.

Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress, for example, working a stressful job. Common signs of burnout include feeling tired or drained most of the time, feeling helpless, trapped and/or defeated.

We’ve been tracking burnout since 2018, and for most teachers the trend is clear: it’s getting worse. Headteachers are the only group which haven’t seen burnout increasing recently, but that’s because it’s been pretty high since 2020.

These results correlate with another question we regularly track: have you called in sick because you were so behind on work? Whilst actions this drastic are still only taken by a small proportion of teachers, it is an increasing proportion – up 8 percentage points since 2021.

The behaviour paradox

Another regular question we ask on Teacher Tapp is whether behaviour disrupts your lessons. In the 2019/20 academic year, around 40% of you were consistently saying that your lessons were being disrupted. The pandemic appeared to ‘reset’ this disruption, with as few as 26% of you saying poor behaviour disrupted lessons when schools fully restarted in September 2020. However, since then behaviour-related disruption has risen slowly but steadily, yet it still remains below peak 2019 levels.

Behaviour over time

The paradox is, we know it doesn’t feel like that. The majority of teachers (71%) report that behaviour of pupils has deteriorated since they started teaching. That’s up 36 percentage points since 2018!

Is that skewed by teachers who have joined the profession since 2018? No. Even those who joined the profession within the past five years report seeing a deterioration in behaviour! Although, not quite as much as those who’ve been teaching longer.

One explanation for the paradox is that whilst behaviour in lessons isn’t (as) bad, behaviour at break, lunch or between lessons makes it feel like there’s an overall deterioration. This is harder to measure – half of teachers do 2 duties or fewer per week – but we are seeing an increase in the proportion of teachers who say there isn’t enough supervision at these times.

And on a slightly more light-hearted note, we also know (both from data and from teaching folk law) that bad weather just makes everything worse!

Locking the door

The question that caused the most controversy this week wasn’t about behaviour… It wasn’t even about burnout… it was about doors!

Do you lock your classroom when you’re not teaching in it?

🤷‍♀️Huh?!? Said 94% of primary teachers!

🤦‍♀️Obvs!! Said 80% of science teachers!

Special mention also to the 3% of teachers who don’t lock their door even though they’re meant to, and the 1% who don’t have a door!

Ups and Downs

On the rise

📈Electric car charging points for school staff: 6% UP from 3% in 2021
📈Green car schemes for teachers: 3% UP from 1% in 2021

Heading down

📉Teachers spending more than 3 hours planning at the weekend: 13% DOWN from 16% in March

And finally…

The most read article of the last week has been: Cutting workload – Making room for impact (a review)

And here are the rest for your reference: