Diagnosing a crisis of agency

Struggling to manage workload, ground down by the demands of data collection, or even considering leaving the profession? These complaints and many more are symptomatic of the destruction of teacher agency, finds Tim O’Brien

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During the last academic year I led a research-informed Teacher Wellbeing programme that took place mainly in government “opportunity areas” across the UK. On a wellbeing programme that is specifically designed for teachers, it would be disrespectful not to talk about the reality of the lived experience of teachers. When doing so, teacher workload and how it impacts negatively on teacher wellbeing was always mentioned. In fact, I regularly heard about a “workload crisis”.

Other themes often appeared when teachers talked about the negative impact on their wellbeing – such as being in a ...

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