Turkish teachers angry and unhappy: Surveys
Gamze Kolcu – ANKARA
Two newly published studies have painted an unhappy picture of educators working in Turkey, with seven out of 10 teachers in the country saying they cannot control their anger.
According to a survey by Türk Eğitim-Sen, an education sector trade union, 77 percent of 25,732 teachers surveyed said they used credit cards to buy most of their daily needs and 92 percent surveyed possessed credit cards.
Nearly 71 percent said they had experienced incidents in the past few years where they could not control their anger.
“Economic problems” topped the list for the main reasons behind poor anger management with 37.7 percent, followed by “reasons linked to work” with 32.9 percent.
The study was revealed on the eve of Nov. 24, National Teacher’s Day in Turkey.
Nearly 61 percent of teachers said they had considered quitting their jobs and almost 41 percent of this group said the reason behind this was the “erosion of dignity” in the profession. Some 6 percent of teachers said they had considered quitting due to exhaustion.
A vast majority of teachers, 74.6 percent, said they thought “the Education Ministry does not value them at all.”
Another majority, 63.2 percent, said they thought that subjects linked to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, have been gradually removed from the curriculum.
Almost all teachers surveyed, 99 percent of them, complained of “unsustainability in the education system.” Some 94 percent of them said they were against a new performance system that had been implemented as a pilot scheme in 12 provinces, raising concerns over parent-teacher ties and potential risk of favoritism.
‘Job losing dignity’
A separate survey by Eğitim-İş, another education sector union, showed that three-quarters of teachers found their income insufficient.
Some 74 percent of the 906 teachers interviewed face-to-face in 26 provinces said they think the dignity of the profession was eroding in the eye of society due to low salaries.
Some 59 percent thought their job performance was negatively affected by their financial concerns, with 69 percent saying they think they could not dress to work in a way that would set a good example for students because their salaries are too low. A similar number of teachers thought they could not afford to buy newspapers or magazines.
The Eğitim-İş survey found striking results regarding teachers’ family lives, with 30 percent of them saying they could not afford proper food for their children and another 14 percent saying they could not afford the cost of their own children’s education.
Some 35 percent of teachers surveyed said they had “no hope for the future” and nearly four-fifths said they had “barely any motivation for their jobs.”
Three-quarters said they would quit if they found a better paying job, while 62 percent said they would be willing to work in another profession if they could find such an opportunity.
Most teachers also said they believe they faced “political pressure” from school administrators.