Health-impaired teachers

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Numerous teachers force health to retire early

The psychological stress for teachers is enormous and has the consequence that a significantly higher proportion of teachers leave the working life prematurely due to health reasons than is the case for average employees in Germany.

The German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK) has now had the trend of teachers leaving school early examined in a comprehensive study by the Leuphana University of Lüneburg. According to the results of the current study, less than half of the teachers are convinced that they will be able to stay in the job until they reach retirement age. Almost a fifth of those surveyed already assume that they will have to retire prematurely for health reasons. Even if the profession of teacher is often perceived as relatively relaxed with a lot of free time in public, the current figures speak a clearly different language. The emotional stresses in particular are a major problem for numerous teachers.

16 percent of teachers retire early As part of the current DAK study, the Leuphana University of Lüneburg asked 1,300 teachers between the ages of 24 and 65 from 29 schools in seven federal states about their assessment of their expected retirement. 16 percent of the teachers stated that they would probably not be able to last until retirement age due to health reasons, the DAK reported on Tuesday morning in Hamburg. In addition, 44 percent of respondents said they were not sure whether they could work until they reached retirement age. Only 41 percent of the teachers were convinced that their strength and health will continue to play until retirement age and that they will finish their duties on a regular basis.

Emotional stress as the cause of early retirement The teachers cited stress caused by the "time pressure, lack of rest breaks and large differences in performance among the students" as the main reasons for the trend towards early retirement, emphasized Cornelius Erbe, head of the DAK Product Management business unit, when the study was presented. The emotional stresses keep the teachers busy after work and 45 percent of those surveyed think about work at home and the difficulties with students, parents and occasionally colleagues. According to the latest study results, a third of the teachers are emotionally stressed, the DAK reported. Actually an unbearable situation, as teachers who are under pressure often have considerable difficulties in devoting themselves fully to the educational training of their students. Here, too, politicians - especially the ministers of culture of the federal states - seem to be called upon to take the pressure off teachers by further reforming the school system and hiring sufficient teachers. (fp)

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Photo credit: Gerd Altmann /

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