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Primary Education News
News Six teachers on a typical workday
Do they really leave work at 3.30pm? What about those long school holidays? How much time is spent in the classroom? Six teachers reveal the truth about their working hours
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) wants classroom hours capped at 20 a week amid claims many hardly see their own children and work late - here six teachers and Guardian readers share their typical workday and thoughts on the NUT debate. Join the conversation.
I am in work from 7:15 am - 6:00 pm, I take five lessons a day, the rest of my time is spent doing pointless paper work, the odd detention etc. Marking is done at home, I typically start at 7:30 pm after putting my children to bed and finish at 10:30 pm unless I have coursework to mark, then sometimes I'm up until the early hours. I teach five lessons a day so five hours, typically most teachers have 2.5 hours in a week where they are not teaching. However I teach a special subject so I don't have those hours.
During the weekend I work most of Saturday so I can have Sunday off. In the school holidays I typically give myself a week off, this Easter for example I spent a week working my usual hours so I could have a week off. This was spent merely catching up, on yes, mainly pointless stuff when I could be using this time to find resources for my pupils, providing more after school support for those who are need a bit of a boost etc.
I'm a teacher, not an admin assistant.
Sadly this is another example of a headline grabbing motion at a conference that is misrepresenting the genuine views of the majority of teachers. Tell me a profession that doesn't involve working long and at times antisocial hours. I am a deputy head and arrive at school at 7.15am, leaving usually between 5.30 and 6pm. On top of that there are governors meetings, parents evenings, school events and so on, but frankly that comes with the job - I am doing it out of choice, I get unrivalled holiday time, a decent salary and one of the few remaining decent pensions. The reality is that most teachers join a union for the legal protection and professional support that they provide, as well as training opportunities. The unrealisitc pronouncements at conference time frankly do us no good and undermine much of the very strong work that takes place at a local level.
I'm a head of department in a state school in London and my average day is as follows:
Arrive to school 8am
Leave school 6.30 / 7pm (later if there's a parents evening or open evening)
2hrs of planning / e-mails / marking taken home at least 3 nights per week.
3/4 hours planning or marking on a Sunday.
Working week = 62 hrs per week.
Yes, we get the holidays, however the term time gets pretty unsustainable at times. I've got a baby due in June and at present I don't see how I'm going to be able to make time for it during term time or even at some weekends.
It's all very well having the holidays, but you have to go through 6 weeks of effectively 'not having a social / family life' in order to get to them.
We also had ofsted in 2 weeks ago and it's worth saying that during the 2 days they were in I worked 38hrs.
The work-load is a joke sometimes and the majority of people outside of teaching never see this and instead choose to believe we work 8 - 3.30pm with all the holidays in the world. If only that we're true, everyone would want to be a teacher...... right?!!
I am a Head of Department at a Secondary school and frequently work until midnight and at weekends. However, I am now having 2 weeks out of my 13 weeks off a year. If you do the maths you work a little more than most people in graduate jobs, it is just more concentrated. With these proposals the NUT make us all look absolutely ridiculous and makes raising legitimate concerns more difficult.
I get to work every morning at 7:45 and leave (on average) at 5:30. I take home marking almost every evening which takes about one hour of my time at home. (and about 3 hours worth at weekends)
I spend the first hour of the day preparing the lessons I will teach, then I teach until 10:25 when I take a tea-break (I try to make time for this, unless I am on playground duty in which case I get no break)
I then teach again until 12:30 when I spend another half hour doing either prep or marking and try to ensure I get a half hour to eath lunch.
I then teach until 3:15 and on average spend the next 2 hours marking, preparing for the next day, in meetings or planning.
I am in the first year of my job and I love teaching. The days are tiring and this has an effect on the quality of lessons in my opinion but the holidays are great, even though, like most teachers, I spend at least a couple of days in each holiday doing work. I anticipate working every day over the next half-tem writing end of year reports for each child in my class, as I've been told it will take on average two hours to write each of the 30 reports.
Despite all this, I don't really agree with the NUT proposals, but then again I do not have children, My thoughts might be different if I was keen to spend time with my family.
I arrive at school at 7:45am and leave at around 5pm. Every day.
I teach twenty lessons a week: each is an hour long. Each takes me more than an hour to plan.
Each week I attend two professional development seminars each week, plus school productions, open evenings and parents' evenings.
I must mark 120 books once a fortnight, plus coursework (it took me a full day to mark my last set) and speaking and listening assessments.
On top of this i'm writing masters-level essays and research projects, documenting everything i do in an academic journal, meeting with my mentor regularly, managing my form group, administering and managing detentions, calling parents and various other admin tasks. Not only that, but often i act as social worker to underprivileged, upset, aggressive or troubled youngsters.
I regularly work until 9 o'clock at night, work from 9-5 on Sundays and, thus far, have not had any kind of break over Easter - my workload is too large at the moment. It'll be still larger when i have a full timetable next year.
My starting salary will be considerable less than i used to earn working in a call centre - where my responsibility ended with the final phone call of the day. If i wanted an easy job, i'd return to that - more money for significantly less work.
Teachers don't have an easy ride. It's hugely stressful and can easily consume your free time and relationships. They don't do it for the money or the perceived perks. They do it because they want to. Some of them have to. All of them care hugely.
Thanks for all your contributions - to join the debate go here.