Ten Statistics That Should Be Researched: Number 5 Number of cries for help on professional networks

Most professional forums are full of people sharing ideas, bouncing off each other and talking about issues they are passionate about. Teachers are natural sharers in real life, passing on lesson plans, resources and tips. Forums, and other social networking formats, that are dedicated to teaching could be full of this sort of positive, inspirational collaboration.

In reality they are full of desperate people begging for help. It often goes beyond just moaning and whinging that you would expect from anyone – no career path is without it’s negative side, and online spaces like this are an excellent way to put those in perspective from others in the same position. No, common themes on teaching forums are clinical depression and anxiety, extreme workloads, bullying management teams and outrageous student behaviour.

The actual number of posts that could be described as ‘cries for help’ are shocking, in my opinion. Nowhere else can I envisage this high a ratio of desperate posters, except perhaps on new mothers or mental health networks. A simple categorising and counting across a range of online social spaces could show some alarming results.

Are teachers just natural complainers? Are they discounting the good, and focusing on the negative too much? If so, why do they do that, en masse? And if not, what is the real reason? Are teachers being treated so badly that they are reaching out to help to anyone that will listen in this way, desperate for answers?

By extension, the number of websites dedicated to leaving teaching (and books, groups etc.) is much higher than for any other career. In fact, I couldn’t find one other career path that had any websites of this type at all.

What about the ones who don’t post, and don’t reach out at all? The ones that suffer silently, or speak only to their GP or counsellor in confidence? How many more of those are there in teaching? 

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