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how late do you stay at the end of the day

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by apachear, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. apachear

    apachear New commenter

    just wondering, how late do you regularly stay at the end of the school day? as a parent of young children, I feel it is important to actually spend some time with your own children and then continue to work at night when they are in bed, rather than staying in the school in case other members of the department would like to see you there.
    I have been told that this is not the right way to look at things
    opinions?
     
  2. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    I agree, spending time with your own children is very important! I do think it is important to have a period of time at the end of the day when your faculty know they can come to you - but I don't believe this has to be excessive and interfere with your work-life balance!

    Personally, I'm always one of the last in school because I like to be there for the Faculty of they need me and then do my own planning. As pay back for this I do no work at home. However, I don't have children.

    My friend who does have a child and is a HoD always stays until the time whole staff meetings ends (4.30ish) and then goes home. Her faculty know that this 1hr30 slot is the time when they can find her to seek help and guidance.

    If her faculty don't need her during this time she completes her own work - however, she does still do some marking/planning at home.

    Perhaps you could have a 30min - 1hr drop in slot for your faculty?

    I do know of a few schools who set directed time working hours for their staff which run from 8am-5pm. Which just seems so inflexible!
     
  3. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    I agree, spending time with your own children is very important! I do think it is important to have a period of time at the end of the day when your faculty know they can come to you - but I don't believe this has to be excessive and interfere with your work-life balance!

    Personally, I'm always one of the last in school because I like to be there for the Faculty of they need me and then do my own planning. As pay back for this I do no work at home. However, I don't have children.

    My friend who does have a child and is a HoD always stays until the time whole staff meetings ends (4.30ish) and then goes home. Her faculty know that this 1hr30 slot is the time when they can find her to seek help and guidance.

    If her faculty don't need her during this time she completes her own work - however, she does still do some marking/planning at home.

    Perhaps you could have a 30min - 1hr drop in slot for your faculty?

    I do know of a few schools who set directed time working hours for their staff which run from 8am-5pm. Which just seems so inflexible!
     
  4. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I have small children as well so I head home as soon as I can - usually between 3.30 and 4. However I'm in school well before 7am and my department know I have an open door policy so they can see me whenever they like - they just ping me an email or shout in passing if they need me to stay for a bit after school, and I'm happy to do so. They also pop in and see me during the day if they have issues and I've always made it clear that I will happily reorganise my day at whatever time suits them. I don't like staying after 4.00 simply because my baby goes to bed at 6 and I would see him for less than an hour a day if I left after then. I do, of course, stay for meetings, Open Evenings etc.
     
    GeordieKC and snail_friendly like this.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think it is exactly the right way to look at things.
    Maybe at your next department meeting, have your availability on the agenda as a discussion and explain why you work the way you do. Ensure staff do have enough time to find you for anything and everything, but be clear when those times are. Flexibility is appreciated, but your dept should respect your right to a family life and if they are happy, everyone else will be too.
     
  6. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    Nothing wrong with arranging your work, so that you can spend time with your own children. Personally I think schools should do far more to support staff who have children to be good parents!

    However cooperation and collaboration with colleagues is also important and if staff are finding it difficult to work efficiently because some staff are never available after school then there is an issue and the most likely management strategy to address it would be to impose an expectation that all staff will be at school until ....
     
    wanet likes this.
  7. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    They have no right to question how much time you spend in school. You have young children, you need the balance of work and home and some people need to understand that. As you say, you work from home, it's not a necessity to be on school premises every evening. Occasionally, you'll have meetings, open evenings and other school events and that's what comes with the job.
    My principal is, along as your work is getting completed, you've got effective planning in place and you are achieving, then they got nothing to question.
    If on the other hand, there is no evident of any of this, leaving on the bell and not achieving results then alarm bells would ring.
     
  8. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    Considering the conversation the OP had, I think it is very possible the first alarm bell has rung! In which case the OP should be proactive on the issue, because i think the next management step is quite likely to be a statement you should be in school until 5pm.

    The unfortunate scenario is that this may be nothing to do with the OP, but a side effect of management tackling similar issues with other, less conscientious, teachers in the school, deciding to use a one rule for everyone approach.

    I much prefer for teachers to be trusted to organise their life and get the work done, but where a few have abused that, my experience has been that fixed working hours were imposed on all. Which I hasten to add from a teachers perspective, did absolutely nothing to improve the situation, the slackers found ways around the rules and the good staff resented the ineffective and needless restrictions but the Head could say I have tackled the problem!
     
    thistledoo and snail_friendly like this.
  9. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    Imposed fixed working hours are never the soloution!
     
  10. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    I have a foot in both camps! I believe you should put your family first because they will not be young forever and spending time with them is important but also as HOD you need to be 'available' for colleagues to find you at the end of the school day, for lots of reasons. The answer has to be a balance that only you can decide. I would explain to staff why you go early. Perhaps stay until 4 and then leave or have a couple of nights where you are around and disappear earlier on other nights? (I suppose that depends on training schedules and detentions?) I found it better for me to leave every night at 4 that I wasn't required for training etc. Some staff will respond to your early starts and see you then. You know your staff.

    I worked in a school where SM were aware of those that left on the bell/ just after, they made assumptions about work ethic based on this.So, make your LM know you are taking work home and toil away into the night if that is what you decide to do. (I'm not saying you should, it is just a point I observed in my school. It is wrong, I know but it happens.)
     
  11. Mr_G_ICT

    Mr_G_ICT New commenter

    I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I aim to stay until 4pm every day. that gives me an hour after work and i can get home for 4:30 to see the kids for a few hours until bedtime.

    That way i'm around for my dept, but also working at home. I see the kids until 7pm-ish then work until 8:30-9pm every night, having an hour to chill out before the next day.

    I'm a new HoD in a new school, so the stress this term was getting to me at one point, but it's just part of life(i thrive on stress and i know if i work hard in the week i can chill at weekends). make sure you rely on your department too, delegate as part of performance management, identify staff who want to be HoD and support them through delegation of tasks (it's what my HoD did to me and i feel stronger in this role because of it).
     
    install likes this.
  12. install

    install Star commenter

    I don't if I can help it.

    It is vital to have a Work/Life Balance and my life will always means more to me than my work.I also want to approach tasks when I am fresh - not knackered after the end of a hard working day.
     
  13. rosiecg

    rosiecg Occasional commenter

    I get into school by 7.30am, and stay in school til 6pm one night a week, and the rest of the time leave by 4.30/5ish. Everyone knows my working hours, but also know I can be contacted by email at any time.
     
  14. atwoodfan

    atwoodfan New commenter

    I think you have completely the right approach. As long as you are doing your teaching and HOD responsibilities, the time you leave work should not be relevant. And your time with your children is precious!
    When I was a HOD with young children (and not working full-time), I was normally in school by 8, and that was always a good window for someone to come to see me. Similarly, I was around for a bit at the end of the day, but could also be found (and / or would actively find people) if someone had a concern / chat / moan during the day (break / lunch etc.)
    As someone in your school clearly disagrees, what you want to think about is how to handle it. The above ideas about having a published drop in time for staff might be good. Or you could make a point of touching base with team members individually or as a group at some point? A (not compulsory) department lunch where you eat together can work? Maybe even finding out what your team would like.
    Or is it senior management who want to be able to find you?
     

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