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Is a 60-70 hour working week a common theme?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by dawnm5061, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. I am in my fourth year of teaching and I work in Year 2 in a four form entry school.Over the past two years the amount of hours that I have to spend working at home has become unmanageable and I now have no evenings or weekends available to do aything but school work. I need to know whether this is a common theme among us teachers or whether I need to ask questions of my school regarding the expectations put upon us.
    I would really appreciate some views on this.
  2. Hi dawn
    In my experience, excess workload depends on a number of factors - a) how conscientious you are, b) how organised you are or c) how much you are 'choosing' to do.
    Before I explain I am not suggesting that any of these will necessarily apply to you!
    To explain: in terms of a) Some teachers manage their workload because they are just not worried about getting everything done or make more shortcuts than others, b) some are not organised or able to prioritise tasks well so everything takes longer and c) some just do far too much that is unnecessary!
    If you are certain neither of these apply to you (be honest with yourself! - I was a c) for years!!) I would suggest talking to other teachers and asking them how much they do - if there is a consensus that the workload is unmanageable then analyse what you are doing, why its taking so long and how much of it is genuinely necessary (ie are you duplicating planning, assessments etc?)
    If you can see where the problem lies take it to your line manager as an issue, but be prepared they may not be sympathetic. Try to go with some solutions instead of just stating the problem (for example, dont just say 'We've got too much work', say 'We all feel that there is a lot to do, could we possibly reduce this by doing x,y and z differently?)
    However, after 10+ years in teaching I found that I still didnt have many evenings/weekends to myself, the more organised you get over the years is counteracted by the more responsibility you take on and I found it took a phenomenal amount of forward planning to try and clear a weekend so I could do something else (eg working every night for twice as long to make up what I wouldnt be doing on sunday.)
    You may be able to improve the situation by altering how efficiently you work, but anyone in the profession will I'm sure agree with me when I say it wont go away. Its very rare to find a teacher that doesnt work outside of school hours!
    I hope you get the problem sorted, because the pressure of having no life year after year will eventually get to you and you may well crack. (I speak from experience!) Please dont let that happen, and remember you are a person as well as a teacher!
    Good luck x
  3. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    Try not to reinvent the wheel. And if no-one's screaming for it, it's not urgent. Sometimes it isn't needed at all.
  4. Have you tried things like the Hamilton trust website for planning and resources? It's well worth the money for the time it saves!!

  5. Thanks to all who have replied to my thread. I appreciate all the advice.
    However, what I woud really like to know is "Are you also working a 60-70 hour week?"
  6. Yes, I spent 50 hours a week in the building and then at least another 10+ at home, minimum.
    I think we all could, thats the point the others were probably trying to get across, but that doesn't mean you <u>should</u> have to. If you feel its too much then it undoubtedly is.
  7. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    No but I have done. When I did those hours, my teaching was rubbish and my mental health was going to the wall. I had to give up my job in the end.
    I admire anyone who can sustain those hours but I do feel you put your health at risk if you continue down that path. I'll never do it again.
  8. 80 hours is usual, and 90 is regular. However, have been trying to shake off a chest infection for 4 months. This is due to staff absence and pressure on results, vacancies and poor performance of staff. Not sustainable and will be leaving as soon as a decent job comes up. Until then... mark in class where possible, try to do some lessons where they don't write down to cut down on marking, peer assessment, self assessment. We've developed marking stickers to help the process and show that we're marking - all about appearance but not the reality - but then that's what the leaders want!!!
  9. Yes, I do that easily. I've managed to drag myself away from college at 5pm most days, but only because I've undertaken private tutoring (partly, I add, because it gets me out of college at a reasonable time). But I'm probably guilty of type C, not least because I've been asked to teach mostly new courses this year and I'm struggling to get all my resources together.
  10. breadmaker

    breadmaker New commenter

    I really would echo the advice about not trying to get everything done. In 20 years I have never managed it! However, I can confidently say that whilst I may have short-changed the school managers in their paperwork requests, I have NEVER short-changed the children in my care as I have always refused to burn the candle at both ends. Would you choose a burnt out frazzled anxious teacher for your own child or someone who enjoys their time in the class and does their best to be realistic about what they consider to be a "reasonable" amount of decreed paperwork. No brainer really.
  11. While I'd agree with everything breadmaker writes, it's the managers that make the most fuss when their paperwork isn't done. That's what causes the stress.
  12. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    blogged on that: http://becktonboy.blogspot.com/2011/01/skin-deep.html

  13. To the OP: I would underline the above sentence. If you want a life, full-time teaching is not an option.
  14. jondabell

    jondabell New commenter

    I'm in my eleventh year. Teaching is a totally rubbish job and as soon as I'm able to get out I will. If I was only in my fourth year, as you are, then I'd get out now as you'll still be able to find comparable wages in another profession. I can't get out as there are no jobs for me to walk into where I wouldn't be taking an enormous pay cut. The hours are ridiculous and the expectations are hugely unreasonable. I have friends in better paid jobs who go to work, do their hours, then go home and don't think about the job again at all till their next shift.
    These days I simply don't do anything outside school hours unless its necessary. So I might do an hour preparing for the next day at most. I don't plan ahead further than a few days because things change so much. And if I run out of time to mark work in school, it stays not marked! I refuse to do anything at all at weekends unless it's completely unavoidable and important (e.g. school reports or risk assessments for an impending trip).
    My advice - get out now!!!!!!

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