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Length of school days and actual contact hours

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Muttley_in_the_Midlands, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    I hope someone can shed some light on this. How long is the typical school day? It seems that every school is different in the time between morning and home bells.
    Also, what is a full timetable? Or, how many contact hours is a full timetable?
    By my vague calculations, if you add breaks and planning time together, it looks like you have about 2 hours not in front of a class per day between arriving at school prior to the first period and the home bell. Is that about right?
    And also, are you expected to hang around after end of school? Is it frowned upon to head off straight away? I do have my own little cherubs that I need to look after too. Extra-curricular stuff is fine when planned in advance but I would struggle to do it 5 days per week.
    Thanks
     
  2. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    I hope someone can shed some light on this. How long is the typical school day? It seems that every school is different in the time between morning and home bells.
    Also, what is a full timetable? Or, how many contact hours is a full timetable?
    By my vague calculations, if you add breaks and planning time together, it looks like you have about 2 hours not in front of a class per day between arriving at school prior to the first period and the home bell. Is that about right?
    And also, are you expected to hang around after end of school? Is it frowned upon to head off straight away? I do have my own little cherubs that I need to look after too. Extra-curricular stuff is fine when planned in advance but I would struggle to do it 5 days per week.
    Thanks
     
  3. Hi,
    The full teaching day is usually about five hours of lessons. In my school it's six but it's an independent school. You will have about seven hours of non-contact a week, possibly more, but it will not be divided evenly over the week. You may have one day where you are teaching all day. You may have another day where you only have three lessons. The thing is, you can't rely on non-contact time because you may often be asked to cover if a colleague is absent. That will mean taking their lesson.
    Every teaching day is different but in my school, we are in by 7:45. Then there is briefing etc... You may have a form as well. Teaching starts at 8:45. Most state schools finish around half three or so. You usually will have things to do after this. There are often meetings for the department etc... This is particularly the case in your NQT year when you also have to do after-school training. I guess on a typical day you might expect to be home by about half five. Again, like the non-contact time, it varies. One day you might leave straight away, the next you might get home at seven.
    There is a lot of work to do outside teaching hours like lesson planning, particularly if you're being observed. You should go to a secondary school and actually watch what the teachers do and ask them questions. That will give you a better idea. I'd encourage you to think about teaching as a career. Unfortunately, the general public sometimes think that teaching is an easy option. The reality is very different - it's hard work and the hours can be long. I think you have to consider how much time you can realistically put into it. If you'll be very constrained with other activities, it probably isn't for you.
    (I've assumed here that you were talking about secondary.)
     
  4. Muttley_in_the_Midlands

    Muttley_in_the_Midlands New commenter

    Thankyou. Yes I was talking about secondary. There is so much to think about. In the school where I am currently volunteering I can drop my son at school, get in well before Period 1 AND get back in time to pick him up after school - his day is longer because he is in independent schooling. If I have to rely on before and after school clubs every day, it starts to get very expensive, particularly when you're on the low salaries that you start on.
    I should have plenty of time in the evenings for planning etc and to be honest 7 hours of non contact sounds pretty good if you are able to be very organised and manage your time well. The total hours sound pretty much what any professional is working.
    Regarding covering other staff's lessons, I thought that there were Cover Supervisors for that? Would a GTP or NQT be relied upon to cover?
     
  5. Hiya,
    My school varies as an academy, our hours are frequently changing. You may be asked to take extra classes or help run clubs and activities. I frequently don't finish until 6 or 7pm before I leave school and am almost always behind (exluding parents evenings, open evenings etc, celebration evenings, presentation evenings). I am in a very forward thinking department, but each new project, although good for the kids, means that you get a little bit further behind on another task. It is worth noting that covering teachers isn't a requirement for NQTs (not supposed to ask you), although you may be asked as a favour if no qualified teachers are available - otherwise it would mean doubling up on a group or the school calling in a cover teacher, you may be asked to cover last minute because you are free and no one else can be found as they are busy - this does happen from time to time.
    Finally, you will have planning time, but expect it to disappear in seconds with other projects, interuptions from staff or pupils or something else that has been passed on for you to deal with... this may be anything from a new course you will be running, or writing up formal paperwork, observations of other teachers or something else.
    My school hours are 8.30 - 4.00pm monday to thursday and friday we finish at 2.00pm, although most teachers stay to get coursework marked or support year 11 pupils. If the school has a cover supervisor, they will use them where possible.
     
  6. Most schools have timetabled lessons for 25 hours per week, with registration / form class on top. You are entitled to 10% non contact time which in most Secondaries means you will get 3 non-contact hours per week. Morning break is for the students not the staff, you can be directed to do break duties etc.
    Lunch can be anywhere from 20 mins (as it is in my school) to an hour, but as other posters have said, is frequently interrupted by students / colleagues. Departmental and pastoral meetings after school usually take up at least an hour a week and most Secondaries will be looking for staff who are willing to lead extra-curricular activities.
    GTP or PGCE students won't be asked to do cover but NQTs have been used in all the schools I've experienced working in.
    I think a lot of people underestimate how long teachers spend in school and working at home. I don't think there are many professions that allow parents to manage without paying for childcare and teaching is not an exception - although the holidays do help cut the cost of year round childcare.

     
  7. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    My contract states I have to be at school by 8.30am (registration is at 8.40am) and that I must not leave until 3.15pm at the earliest (Last lesson finishes at 3pm and we are meant to allow students to safely leave before we do).
    We have 20 mins for first break and 40 minutes for lunch.
    At my current school there is very much a culture of staff working through their breaks and lunch period, I rarely see other teachers in the staffroom. At my previous school these times were social, free hot drinks were provided for staff at break time and a cake trolley and at lunch all the staff would be in there too chatting and relaxing while they ate.
     

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