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Doing work at home

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by timmy_vs_jimmy, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Hello folks,
    I would like to raise the issue of the work that teachers do once they get home from school. Somewhere along the line it seems to have become normal practice for teachers to spend a good deal of time on work that's related to their teaching job when they are at home (most notably on lesson planning). I would like to know what views people have about how legitimate this is. At the moment I am struggling to see how this has come to be acceptable. Is there some kind of inherent logic that teachers cannot do their jobs properly without spending hours at home on planning? In which case, why are they not paid for this work? Have teachers generally been extremely lame and caved in to the argument that this essential work that is done at home should be done out of the good of their hearts?
    What about the counter-argument that a teacher should be able to do their job entirely within normal working hours? This would of course mean a reduction of the amount of teaching time and an increase in planning time. The knock-on effect of this would be a need for more teachers in order to cover all the required teaching time. It seems that the new concept of PPA time acknowledges this argument but that the paltry amount of time given for planning highlights just how ridiculously this side of the has been taken.
    It would seem, then, that while it has been partially acknowledged that teachers should be given time within their normal hours of working to plan, the Government is not prepared to fork up the money that would be needed in order to give teachers the proper amount of time for them to be able to do their planning and that PPA time is merely a pathetic token gesture that they can use to say that they have given teachers planning time within normal working hours. Ultimately, a teacher is still expected to spend hours each week at home on sorting out their planning, resources and whatever else that needs doing in order to keep things going. And at the moment I just cannot see why or how teachers can put up with that.
    Why is it automatically assumed that a part of a teacher's job is to spend a significant amount of time per week on job-related work that is unpaid and done outside of normal working hours?
    Consider the following hypothetical scenario: all teachers up and down the land collectively decide to flatly refuse to do any work outside of normal working hours. What would happen? Lesson quality would very quickly dive. Equipment wouldn't get fixed. Homework wouldn't get marked. You get the picture. Management would then ask: what the hell are you all doing? Teachers would simply answer: we only work during normal hours now and there just isn't time to get all these things done in normal working hours. Management (i.e. Government) would be forced out of necessity to come to an agreement with teachers and to introduce a proper and fair amount of planning time into a teacher's working week. Either that or sack all teachers and replace them with another set of mugs who are willing to accept the status quo of working several hours per week for free, which wouldn't really be an option.
    So, I would be interested to hear views on this topic. Is there something I'm missing here? Is it reasonable to expect teachers to do their planning and maintenance work at home, and if so, why?
    Thanks.
    Timmy

     
  2. Hello folks,
    I would like to raise the issue of the work that teachers do once they get home from school. Somewhere along the line it seems to have become normal practice for teachers to spend a good deal of time on work that's related to their teaching job when they are at home (most notably on lesson planning). I would like to know what views people have about how legitimate this is. At the moment I am struggling to see how this has come to be acceptable. Is there some kind of inherent logic that teachers cannot do their jobs properly without spending hours at home on planning? In which case, why are they not paid for this work? Have teachers generally been extremely lame and caved in to the argument that this essential work that is done at home should be done out of the good of their hearts?
    What about the counter-argument that a teacher should be able to do their job entirely within normal working hours? This would of course mean a reduction of the amount of teaching time and an increase in planning time. The knock-on effect of this would be a need for more teachers in order to cover all the required teaching time. It seems that the new concept of PPA time acknowledges this argument but that the paltry amount of time given for planning highlights just how ridiculously this side of the has been taken.
    It would seem, then, that while it has been partially acknowledged that teachers should be given time within their normal hours of working to plan, the Government is not prepared to fork up the money that would be needed in order to give teachers the proper amount of time for them to be able to do their planning and that PPA time is merely a pathetic token gesture that they can use to say that they have given teachers planning time within normal working hours. Ultimately, a teacher is still expected to spend hours each week at home on sorting out their planning, resources and whatever else that needs doing in order to keep things going. And at the moment I just cannot see why or how teachers can put up with that.
    Why is it automatically assumed that a part of a teacher's job is to spend a significant amount of time per week on job-related work that is unpaid and done outside of normal working hours?
    Consider the following hypothetical scenario: all teachers up and down the land collectively decide to flatly refuse to do any work outside of normal working hours. What would happen? Lesson quality would very quickly dive. Equipment wouldn't get fixed. Homework wouldn't get marked. You get the picture. Management would then ask: what the hell are you all doing? Teachers would simply answer: we only work during normal hours now and there just isn't time to get all these things done in normal working hours. Management (i.e. Government) would be forced out of necessity to come to an agreement with teachers and to introduce a proper and fair amount of planning time into a teacher's working week. Either that or sack all teachers and replace them with another set of mugs who are willing to accept the status quo of working several hours per week for free, which wouldn't really be an option.
    So, I would be interested to hear views on this topic. Is there something I'm missing here? Is it reasonable to expect teachers to do their planning and maintenance work at home, and if so, why?
    Thanks.
    Timmy

     
  3. It's covered by
    <font face="Myriad-Roman">
    77.13 In addition to the hours a teacher is required to be available for work

    under sub-paragraph 4 or sub-paragraph 6, as the case may be, a

    teacher must work such reasonable additional hours as may be

    necessary to enable him to discharge effectively his professional

    duties, including, in particular, his duties under paragraphs 75.1.1 and

    75.1.3.



    in the STPCD

    75.1.1 refers to planning and preparing courses and lessons

    75.1.3 refers to assessing and recording progress.



    So we don't have "normal working hours" other than those needed to fulfill our professional duties!</font>
     
  4. Hi there
    I would just like to say that I agree with all that you say in your message, however I haven't time for a lengthy reply as I very busy marking 90 yes 90 pieces of work for the new way of assessing children in writing - APP sheets to be precise. (check out the PNS website for exact details)
    I am a year 5 teacher in Bexley - love the children - HATE working at home - but I really don't know what the answer is???
     
  5. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Presumably you intend also to reduce teachers' holidays to the statutory 24 days per year?
    And increase standard working hours to 8 per day?

     
  6. Sorry did you say increase working hours to 8 per day - I would love to be able to fit a days work into 8 hours. I average about 10 per week day 4 -5 hours at the weekend!
     
  7. The argument is that no-one can legally be expected to work longer than 48 hours in a week - but averaged out over a year. So whilst we may put in silly hours at times in term-time, the 13 weeks in the year when we do little or no work balances it out. To be honest, I don't have a problem with that. I work hard in term-time and enjoy my holidays (and teachers who do ten-hour working days in term time and then spend all the holidays working need to address their working methods, IMO).
     
  8. Or maybe we need to address the headteacher who insists on all this paperwork to be completed. But when one does one is answered with I AM THE HEADTEACHER AND WHAT I SAY IS FINAL!
     
  9. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    No, I meant you'd have to be in school, from 8-5 every day for 47 weeks of the year.

     
  10. I presume you are a new teacher? I have been teaching for 30 years and it has ever been thus! I believe that I work overly long hours during the term but then I do get long holidays. I have always considered part of my role to plan away from school (particularly as I was fitting around family life) - once the children were in bed then I began marking. I left school promptly to collect from school - something many working mothers can't do - and treated the time between 4 and 8 as family time, returning to school matters later.

    I have done very little work this holiday - probably 2 days worth in total out of the 17 we've had off. I wonder if the complainers really understand the real world of work! Leave the office/checkout/shop floor/ ward / surgery etc and your work is done. But you only get a few weeks holiday. I think it works out all square.

    I'll probably be shot down in flames by the unionists and moaners, but I know what I choose to do is a comfortable fit with my belief.
     
  11. Yes, we work really hard during term time. Then we get long holidays. I agree that some of the holiday is needed to recover, but surely not all.
    You pays your money, you takes your choice.
    The trick is to find ways of reducing your work load during term time.

     
  12. staxis

    staxis New commenter

    Quite right.

    I believe that there is a culture of overworking within teaching. A lot of the work that many teachers do, does not realy have a significant impact on learning.

    Work smarter not harder.
     
  13. Absolutely.

    Of course it doesn't help that there are many HTs out there who expect their teaching staff to ignore the workload agreement, and that there are too many teachers willing to do this.
     
  14. Some of us already only take 24 sometimes less than that in holidays per year and I definitely work more than 8 hours a day. Just because this is non-contact time with the pupils doesn't mean we are not working. I spent 4 of the 6 week holidays writing a new SOW for KS3 skills. I spent one week of Christmas marking exams and two weeks of Easter marking controlled assessments. I have 34 in a class so my daily working hours are around 9 a day. I can't even take my own children to a sports club without taking marking with me.
     
  15. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The mistake by teachers and opthers is to think that a contract teacher has 13 weeks holiday per year. What they have is 13 weeks when not required to be on school premises and in which they are not directed in what they should be doing. The 13 weeks and other time outside school on the 195 school days (+ weekends) are potential work time.
    Teachers simply choose when they take their down time in those 13 weeks + other evenings and weekends and when they are prepared to do school work.
    Asking how long is a teacher's work week or year is like asking 'how long is a piece of string'.
     
  16. I've been looking at other jobs (outside teaching) and been quite surprised at how many holidays some of them get.

    25-30 days plus bank holidays seems fairly typical. There are 8 bank holidays a year, so we're talking 6-7.5 weeks holiday as a norm. I typically spend two days of each half term, three or four days of each two week holiday, and two weeks of the summer holiday on school work: a total of 4-5 weeks, so that means I get 1-3 weeks holiday more than most people. I would be very happy to swap every sunday (that's 38 days - over 5 weeks) for that.

    I reckon even if I get a job where I do the 10 hours a day I do now 5 days a week, I'll still have a lot more time to myself.
     
  17. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    My sister works for the Civil Service and they offer flexitime. She makes maximum use of the flexitime and thus has 2 days off per month without touching her annual leave allowance.
    With the 30 or 32 days annual leave, Bank holidays and things like the Queen's birthday, she totals 13 weeks at home/ on holiday with no work to be done outside the office hours.
    She tacks days onto Bank holidays and chooses other holiday weeks out of high season prices.
    She also gets extras like a 3.5 hour paid lunch break on the day that her office has their Xmas lunch.
    She can choose to have a minimum 30 minute lunch break or a 2 hour one to do shopping (city centre workplace.)
    She earns just over &pound;27k per year but the pension is non-contributory so it's equivalent to a teacher earning about &pound;30k and paying into the TPS.
     
  18. Sorry Tafkam, but if we had parity with other public sector employees we'd only need to be in work 8.30 - 5 (with a guaranteed child free one hour lunch time) for 45 weeks a year. I could live with that - especially if I could take the annual leave whenever I liked.

    What I hate most about this job is the nagging stress that I get from the open ended contract. Even when I have finished my to do list there is a little voice telling me that I could be doing this that and the other. No matter how many hours you work and what you achieve, a ****** headteacher could bring you up short with 'have you done X?'
    To leave school at 5.00 and not have to worry about school until I turn up the next day would reduce my work generated stress and anxiety almost entirely.
    But what I would love most of all would be to be able to say 'NO!' to the latest initiative/action research/CPD nonsense that HT's currently dole out because teacher working time is infinitely elastic and cost free.
     
  19. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I agree grouch, it is the stress/pressure side that ultimately gets to you. This week, I have purposely set aside only 1 day this hol to work as I know I need a complete break. This hasnt stopped me though waking up at 6.30 everyday as normal and instead of being able to go back to sleep for a much needed lie in, have laid there churning over various school related issues. I've written my lesson plans so many times in my head this week, that it should only take 5 mins to type up LOL.
    I am sick of it encroaching on family time too. ie out shopping with the kids, oh must just pop into wilkos for cheap resources, out for a walk with my parents, oh must remember a bag so I can collect some autumn things.
    The job itself has changed too. I wouldnt mind the constant reminder of home/ schoolwork if I didnt feel as though I was been constantly scrutinised when I am in work and work was so stressful. I still love the kids but am now beginning to think this physically and emotionally cant be a job for life.
     

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