Over half (57%) of Finnish teachers have considered changing sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic, says a report published by The Trade Union of Education (OAJ). The most common reasons for considering a change of sector are increased workload and low wages.
The highest numbers of workers contemplating a switch are among those working with youngest children. Sector change has been considered by 63% of early childhood teachers and 59% of primary school teachers. The last time the OAJ asked about the topic was in June 2021. At that time, about a third of the teachers said they had considered a field exchange.
‘It seems that in a few months there has been a really dramatic change. This is downright an emergency. Every decision-maker and employer must now stop and consider how drastic the consequences will be for society as a whole if teachers, principals and nursery leaders will leave the sector in large numbers’, says Olli Luukkainen, President of the OAJ.
Teachers and leaders in the field kept schools, kindergartens and other educational institutions open even in the most exceptional circumstances of the pandemic. But this autumn, teachers, who already carry a huge workload, have noticed how much extra work it takes to close the learning and well-being deficit that the crisis has caused in children and pupils. Teachers do not have sufficient time to encounter each learner as an individual and to support his or her learning and development. ‘Many teachers have run out of strength and feel that they do not have control over the situation’, explains Luukkainen.
OAJ calls for legislation that would define the maximum number of pupils per teacher, and for all newly graduated teachers to have the right to two years of mentoring at work. Regarding wage developments, the broad lines will be negotiated next spring.
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