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Let’s end the stigma around part-time teachers

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jul 2, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Teachers who work flexible hours are no less committed to the job than those who can or want to work full time. However, as one teacher explains, people on varied working patterns still face negative attitudes:

    ‘Alas, there is still a certain stigma attached to going part-time which I find difficult not to get defensive about. In conversations about my hours (which, strangely, are pretty frequent), I am constantly tempted to emphasise my childcare responsibilities and my other work by way of justification of the choice that I have made. And then I check myself. Because if I do I’m just perpetuating the notion that part-time staff need to explain away this imagined deficit.

    I haven’t got time for that.

    The attitude needs to shift from deficit to one of just boring, everyday acceptance. One where commonality and plain common sense dictates that there’s nothing really to see in regards to part-time teaching work. Where the poor attitudes that I’ve often had the misfortune to encounter regarding those who "don’t work a full timetable" are the aberration and there is appreciation for all, whether you’re in five, four, three, two, one or half a day per week.’
    Tom Starkey teaches English at a college in the North of England

    What are your views on this issue? Was it easy for you to work part-time? What was the response from your colleagues and SLT? Is it easy to stick to the part-time hours you requested? Have you encountered negative comments because of your working hours from colleagues, SLT and other teachers?

  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I've not really come across stigmatisation of part-timers. I have come across part-timers who don't know what's going on because they miss meetings. I have had years with interesting timetables that seemed to be the fragments of part-timers' groups that they couldn't teach because they weren't in.
    It is quite possible that managers are reluctant to hand out responsibility posts to people who aren't there.

    Schools and part-timers need to be pro-active to ensure clear communication. I've come across folk who can't do their job because meetings happened when they weren't there. I've also come across part-timers who almost seemed determined to "not know" what went on in the meeting so they don't have the effort of complying.
    This may apply to me next year as I start a very part time role.
    hammie, blazer, Jamvic and 1 other person like this.
  3. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Stigma? What stigma?
    hammie and blazer like this.
  4. captain scarlet

    captain scarlet Established commenter

    I've got glasses for my stigma
  5. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Nope, never came across any stigma at all.
    I kept up with meetings by reading the minutes and asked if necessary.
    My P/T included 2 afternoons off - I stayed on at school for these to complete planning/marking (thus leaving evenings free) . I did wonder whether this would mean I was ‘.....just available for a few minutes to...........’ but no, it never happened.

    I’m wondering what sort of evidence. of stigma the writer has experienced
  6. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I haven't seen any evidence of stigma. I do feel sorry for them because so many use their day off to mark and plan but definitely no stigma.
  7. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    'Exploitation' of part-timers (for example expecting them to come in for meetings on days/afternoons off) yes, but 'stigma'? No, not that I ever noticed...
  8. Jenkibubble

    Jenkibubble Occasional commenter

    Only stigma I'm finding is trying to find a part time post . Supply in the meantime !
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. ilovelife

    ilovelife New commenter

    I guess it depends on your experience. At my current school a lot of part timers will do their teaching hours and nothing else. There are arguments/complaints if they are asked to share a tutor group, none of them will do extra curricular activities and the list goes on. Full timers just get on with all of that essentially “for free”. So there has become a sort of divide between part and full timers because of the part timers attitude to doing anything out of the class room. I fully appreciate this may be unique to the school where I work.
  10. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    We have part timers who do clubs, others who involve themselves in the prep for the annual play and others who,run sports teams on their days in. And full timers who do no extra stuff. No divide here! Indeed some part timers put more obvious hours in than full timers. There is the full gamut from both parties.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    When I was a Union rep there was a member who was a full-time teacher returning from maternity leave and who wanted a colleague to attend a meeting with her and the Head to discuss future options. She wanted to go to a part-time teacher contract, and asked me to attend the meeting with her. The Head moved Heaven and Earth to block me from attending that meeting including issue a direct instruction for me to teach the lesson that was on at the same time, despite my having arranged cover for it. I was blatantly lied to about the cover arrangement, being told it wasn't available when it was.

    Surprise surprise, the colleague was refused a part-time teacher contract and ended up with a part-time Teaching Assistant contract on much lower pay because that was the only way she could meet her chosen childcare needs. Needless to say I was bloody fuming about the way the Head handled it, but the colleague in question didn't want to rock the boat.

    I leave you to draw your own conclusions about that Head's views on part-time teachers.
    agathamorse and BetterNow like this.
  12. slstrong123

    slstrong123 New commenter

    Some part timers offer their own time for free for revision sessions with their students whilst some full timers don't offer anything over and above their contracted hours. Some part timers are extremely flexible and are in school every day and use their trapped own time to get all their planning, marking and reports done. Some full timers just don't get their marking and reports done by the deadlines. Some part timers don't get valued for what they can do, and do do, just because they are not in school all day, every day. Part timers are paid less because they are part time but my experience is they are professional, flexible and go above and beyond just like some of their full time colleagues.
    agathamorse and BetterNow like this.
  13. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    Difficulties can arise if a part-timer has several jobs in different settings. For example, I had a part-time supply contract, but was doing day-to-day supply on the other days. Also, one colleague was doing a pastoral role for three days in one school and two days in another.

    As @FrankWolley has noted, however, part-time teachers are often requested ( or expected) to attend events outside their official sessions. If unable to do so, because of other jobs, one can still be looked down upon/perceived as unwilling or awkward.

    I found that the school was only able to ‘see’ what I was doing when I was present.
    BetterNow and agathamorse like this.
  14. num3bers

    num3bers Occasional commenter

    If Heads do not like part time teachers, why dont they offer part timers additional hours when available instead of employing (yet another) part timer? I am part time. The job I have was advertised as part time. I have never been offered any other option.
    agathamorse and BetterNow like this.
  15. zaccat1

    zaccat1 New commenter

    I am a part time secondary teacher and both myself and other part time colleagues always end up with a higher number of contact hours pro rata than full timers. In addition we all share form classes and cover the behavioural unit. It has been discussed with SLT but to no avail. We do not have a strong union body so this continues to be the norm.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. zippygeorgeandben

    zippygeorgeandben Occasional commenter

    As someone who has had 5 different teachers working next door to me this year, I'm looking forward to having someone in full time from September. I'm not sure if part time staff realise that there is a knock on effect to the decision they have made and perhaps a little more understanding about it from their point of view might help.
  17. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    I'm part time and observe no stigmatisation.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. snitzelvonkrumm

    snitzelvonkrumm Occasional commenter

    I agree, I have not seen any stigmatisation of part-time teachers. I would love to go part-time.
  19. Claire Hamilton

    Claire Hamilton New commenter

    I was told that I couldn't job share a curriculum leaders job if I worked part time but as ups I had to do part of the job without the pay. My new timetable as the part time teacher is all bottom set k3 despite having had the best GCSE results in the dept for the previous 3 yrs but there is no stigma for part time!
    slstrong123 and agathamorse like this.
  20. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Oh dear. Did you request the change from full time to part time which your employer couldn't refuse perchance?
    agathamorse likes this.

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