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Working hours - work-life balance vs getting the job done properly

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by zibidee, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. zibidee

    zibidee New commenter

    I currently work a 50hr week, sometimes an hour or 2 more, occaisionally just a 45hr week. I am working in a 65 place Nursery as part of a 2 form entry primary school in a deprived area of central London. I am one of 2 teachers in the Nursery and the other teacher is also the EYFS coordinator. She works around 43hrs a week, often doing 41hrs, and is currently on personal leave for 2 weeks to get married.
    She argues that there is no law saying she must work more than 40hrs so she doesn't, and if things take longer, then so-be-it. I argue that things need doing such as maintaining the class environment that can't be done during school hours, which is why I stay later.
    So my questions are firstly, am I doing too much? Secondly, shouldn't she be doing more than me, given her responsibilities (inc SEN for EYFS)? Thirdly where would you draw the line and go home in that sort of environment?
    The last 2 Nurseries I have worked in, one teacher did 8.15 to 4pm daily, but they had very little in the way of assessment of the children, and very good Nursery Nurses willing to do overtime to improve the environment. The other teacher would work 7.30 to 6 most days and was excellent in every way as far as I could tell. I know which teacher I would strive to be but my energy and stress levels are not too good!
  2. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    Its a difficult question. I would struggle to get the job done in 40 hours, and often work 50+. However, I am single and have no children. I'm also quite ambitious and would like to be promoted again in the future (currently a HOD). I think that the line is very personal, and that because we only have a certain number of hours in a day, something has to give at times. For some of us, that is personal life (young, ambitious teachers without children generally); for others, they will do a "good enough" job, but can't aim to always be outstanding as this may mean that they can't be the sort of parent they want to be. Its just personal choice - you may end up being more recognised for promotion than a clock watcher, but the clock watcher may have a more fulfilling personal life. My choice of working long hours works for me at the moment, but that might change if my priorities change in the future.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    Two old nuggets -
    1) Work to live, not live to work.
    2) No one ever had 'I wish I'd spent more time at work' as their epitaph.
    Hours worked is only one way of measuring someone's value/worth as a teacher. I know some teachers in senior posts may work fewer actual hours than an NQT etc. but they have greater responsibility and accountability.
    Work the extra hours as it suits you, but don't fall into the trap of judging others solely by the clock.

  4. The EU has directed that adult workers cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week on average - this is normally averaged over 17 weeks. As long as the average over 17 weeks is less than 48 hours per week you can work more than 48 hours in one week,. There are exceptions, such as voluntary opt-outs. What does your contract specify? Do you choose to work more hours than you are contracted to do?
  5. exactly as rosiegirl says. the people outside your life should be far more important than the people at work. when you leave your school, they're not going to be devstated or heart broken - they just don't care about you that much. your family on the other hand will miss you - not seeing you because you're working, not spending time with you, you becoming ill with stress and exhaustion.
    your private life should take precedence over your work life.
  6. On the assumption that you are both employed under STPCD then you can be directed for 1265 hours per year over 195 days.
    However, teachers are expected to work whatever additional time needed to fulfil their professional duties, this is explicit in STPCD. Employers cannot specify the where and when of this, however it is clearly designed to prevent teachers hiding behind the 1265 rule.
    If your employer feels that this member of staff is not performing acceptable then it is up to them to act to resolve the situation.

  7. It also states in a lot of teacher's contracts (eg if you work for CES - Catholic Schools - this is in the responsiblities section) (in addition to the STPCD) however that you are entitled to a 'reasonable work/life balance'. A terrible addition imho, as it is not a quantifiable statement and therefore very subject to argument - I would argue doing anything more than the European line is not a 'reasonable work/life balance', however how do you judge it? I know my head would not agree and anything less than about 60 hours just isn't acceptable in her opinion.
    Just remember - its just a job, you are certainly not saving anyone's life and as others have said - no one looks back on their death bed and wishes they had spent more time at work. Do whatever makes you happy, and do not judge others, you don't really know what goes on when you are not with them.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    I'd just like to add that for anyone with perfectionist tendencies teaching is a very dangerous job. By its very nature there is always something more that could be done - the knack is knowing when to stop and settle for less than perfect.
    Zibidee - you say your energy and stress levels are not too good. Add another 10 or 15 years working at full pelt - what effect would that have on your health?
    Most teachers work very hard - long, intense hours. Try to pace yourself a little? Take care!
  9. zibidee

    zibidee New commenter

    I think I have much better pace than my NQT year, but only because I have had the headteacher and EYFS coordinator encouraging me to go home. But over the last 2 terms I have been following the coordinators working hours, and the place looks at absolute tip, its disgusting, I mean actually dirty, we have ants on a regular basis and the occaisional mouse like most schools I guess. But also, there's no role play area, there's no up to date displays, the resources are all empty or messy, all surfaces are cluttered, there's new resources that have been ordered and arrived but not opened for a couple of months.
    Surely that is a sign that the hours she is doing, and suggesting that I do, are not enough? It is more depressing entering a workplace like that, than spending more time at work sorting it out. The support stuff are not given any time during the day to do these types of jobs and I'm not going to ask them to stay passed their hours to do it. So that leaves me. So the passed couple of weeks I have been going back to my 8-6 hours just to tidy the place up a bit and make some new areas and displays, and its satisfying. But I can't do that every week and don't plan on it. I just don't know where to draw the line. I've been in Nurseries that look worse, and some that look better. I don't want to be a satisfactory or average teacher with an average Nursery. But I don't want to make myself ill doing it.
    Ideas anyone?

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    In that case zibidee you need to talk about the issue with your HT or line manager. You certainly should not be compensating for someone else.

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