The Assumption That Teachers Have A Lot Of Time Off Is Very Dangerous

I get absolutely sick to the back teeth with this one. Non-teachers all say, “Oooh, all those lovely long holidays,” to which a teacher always responds, “Yes, but in teaching, you need them.”

I’ve said a million times on this blog that the workload in teaching is too high, with an excess of paperwork, and a teacher needing to put in around 60 hours a week just in order to tread water. In holidays, this simply drops to being 40, aside from the summer holidays, which eventually allows teachers their annual leave, at the same level as all other jobs.

It’s not just the fact that everyone has an opinion on teaching, and most people’s opinion is the above. There are a lot of misconceptions about the way teachers work, and I think most people presume that they just stand in front of the class, and that’s the job done. That’s just half of it, or probably is only a third. If most people understood that only a third of a teacher’s working life is actually spent teaching, there would be outrage.

Can you imagine working so hard like that, and nobody recognising that? Never mind just not recognising it, can you imagine someone saying the exact opposite? That you are doing hardly any work at all? And not just on one occasion, but for the whole of your working life? And not being able to drop any of that work because it’s not getting you anywhere, having to plod on doing it just to stay afloat?

It’s a lot bigger of a deal when I put it like that, I think. Suddenly, it’s not just a simple misunderstanding, to be corrected at dinner parties to raised eyebrows and pats on the back. When I put it like that, it’s a way to undermine those struggling with too heavy a load every day.


Anonymous said...

My very first (and so far only) position in FE teaching was last Autumn Term. I was brought in late to the term but had to teach a unit which was supposed to be a whole term's length into, in effect, 7 weeks.

I did it but it meant working a 75 hour week all through the term. Particularly as there wasn't any SoW or Lesson Plans provided. I (a new tutor) had to create it all from scratch!

The Edudicator said...

I taught an A level on less than the recommended amount of teaching hours. I ended up putting on extra classes just to save my own skin from them all failing. Things like that could easily be avoided with proper planning from management.

I think that even with everything in place though a 60 hour week is usual.

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