Why the French get more satisfaction

January 17, 1997

Higher education lecturers are next in line to be scrutinised by a Loughborough University psychologist who has found that British school teachers are more stressed than their French counterparts.

Cheryl Travers of Loughborough University Business School told a recent meeting of the British Psychological Society that British teachers experienced greater levels of stress, mental ill-health, anxiety and job dissatisfaction than French teachers.

Research involving 800 teachers showed that the British felt under greater pressure due to a lack of government support, increased administration, difficulties balancing home and work, tight budgets and lack of resources.

Dr Travers says she expects university lecturers to show many parallels with their school counterparts. "A lot of the things which lecturers are talking about are the same things that are affecting teachers," she said. "We have seen many changes in higher education with a loss of autonomy and more paperwork. Everyone outside the profession thinks teachers and university lecturers have the whole summer off, but most of us spend it catching up."

Dr Travers said that there is a feeling in both professions that many of the reasons for initially choosing the career have now disappeared, with research being pushed to the margins.

"Hopefully already being in the profession will make access to sources easier," she added.

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