The Problem Facing Educators - Part 1

The Problem Facing Educators - Part 1

15 May 2017

I recently had the privilege of attending a seminar led by the Catholic evangelist and education guru Jonathan Doyle. Drawing from his wealth of knowledge and experience in the Catholic education sector, Doyle outlined some of the challenges faced by educators in what he calls “The Problem Equation”. Whilst directed at a Catholic audience, Jonathan's insights will easily resonate with all Christian educators.

The Problem Facing Educators:

Complexity and Demands are increasing Time and Energy are finite

Complexity and Demands are increasing

Doyle argues that the result of an increasingly secularised culture is that people are becoming far more acquisitional and aspirational. As a result, parents are far more concerned with their children excelling at school so that they can fulfil their self-made goals of attending the best universities, obtaining the best jobs and acquiring the most material wealth (which our culture equates to happiness), later in life.

This, combined with budget cuts and the negative impact of the family breakdown epidemic in the UK means that the demands and complexities faced by teachers are increasing on a daily basis.

Time and Energy are finite

The sad truth is that despite the increase in both complexity and demands, the amount of time and energy at the disposal of teachers remains the same. Whilst good diet and exercise can help with energy levels slightly, time is still time and unfortunately no one is getting an extra hour in the day to meet these extra demands.

The solution

Admittedly the overall the situation looks pretty bleak. However, Doyle passionately encouraged those of us gathered, Headteachers, Diocesan Advisers and NQTs alike, that despite the immense challenges ahead, it is possible to not only survive but thrive. The key to doing so lies in an understanding that, as Christians, we do not have jobs but vocations. As we transfer our faith and confidence in ourselves, programmes and plans to Our Heavenly Father, we will discover the beauty of Jesus’ promise that “all things are possible for the one who believes” (Mark 9:23). After all, the same Creator God who sustains the universe has called gifts out of you and I  for a purpose. And that purpose is to bring Him glory, us joy and change the world. All that he requires from us is a daily planting of our feet upon what Doyle calls “the path of dependence”, learning to lean on him and not our own strength, programmes and strategies.

You can find out more about Jonathan’s teaching on Catholic Identity and Teacher Formation through the online resource Going Deeper and on his website

Liam Dowds is Managing Director at Emmaus Leadership.  You can read more of Liam's articles at  You can follow Emmaus Leadership on Twitter @talentedleaders.  Connect with Liam on LinkedIn.  If you are looking to recruit a new Headteacher for your school please get in contact on 01737 652 043.




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