Many teachers are feeling demoralised and overworked, with concerns that they are facing constant criticism and unrealistic expectations, a survey suggests.
More than two in five (42%) teachers say that their morale is currently low, or very low, according to a poll commissioned by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
Almost six in 10 (59%) say their morale has declined in the last two years while about a quarter (27%) said that they currently have high morale.
The survey, which questioned about 850 teachers, reveals the main obstacle facing school staff today is constantly changing policy initiative, cited by nearly two-thirds (63%) of those questioned.
This was followed by large amounts of unnecessary paperwork (62%), constant external criticism of teachers (58%) and unrealistic expectations of what they can achieve within a working week (53%).
The poll, published as the NUT meets for its annual conference in Torquay, also found the main factor which would influence a teacher's decision to leave the profession is excessive workload (chosen by 71%) followed by changes to pay and pensions (56%).
NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "While teaching is certainly one of the best possible professions, this survey illustrates how it is also now one of the hardest.
"Teachers should not be in a position where constant criticism and undermining of their job leaves them so demoralised."
The YouGov poll questioned 852 teachers in England and Wales between 20 and 26 March.