#sendgoveyourtimesheet – an objective lament.

This is a quick one written on my phone whilst heading to the beach – its tshirt weather here today :). So it’s probably full of typos – I will tidy it up tonight.

There’s this hash tag…… It is full of the usual moans from teachers about being over worked. Stimulated by another slightly off kilter message from our beloved Gove.

Gove has been blamed for more paperwork – but the reality is a slimmer SEF for ofsted – removed any obligation to do app – try and find it on dfe website. He has cut paperwork – schools are creating it faster than he can remove it.

Teachers are contracted to work 1265 hours over 195 days at the direction of the Head. It’s called Directed Time. It equates to 32.5 core working hours per week. There are 37 working hours in the week – will teachers who ‘work to rule’ honour the other 4.5 hours per week.

As salaried employees ( generously rewarded) teachers are to do the job not the hours. The dispersal of holidays means you fall outside the European working time directive.

I asked a few people I know to figure out their average working week;

I’ll use mine as a rule of thumb: I have a very very generous package. 35 days leave plus bank holidays plus the non bank holiday days between Xmas eve and new year. Which gives me about 9 weeks. Many people get 7 weeks which is typical.

I usually work from 9 to 6 with lunch on the fly, then from 8 to 10 in the evening about 55 hours a week – which is what it takes to do the job.

55 hours for 43 weeks. That is 2365 hours a year .

Spread that over your 39 weeks and you get 60 hours a week.

Fact: you work exactly as hard as most other professionals on similar pay. Even if you are a head teacher. You are not hard done to or put upon.

Let’s look at other perks of the profession:

  • Five days ring fenced for professional development.
  • No worries about child care in school holidays.
  • In general good job security.
  • No revenue related element of your salary ( no OTE )
  • Very clear and generous redundancy procedures
  • Six months full sick pay, Six months half pay.
  • One of the most generous pension schemes in existence, were you r employer makes a significant extra contribution.

I know the teaching profession works hard. I know it’s demanding.

But: I also had colleagues who refused to do what their head reasonably requested.

So my plea:

Get your facts straight – point out to Gove that he is dead right about directed time.

Turn your back on and challenge the jobsworths who do exist in the profession.

Stop the ill-conceived rants about unfair working conditions.

Read the hash tag feed back – the public won’t see it as the lament of an overworked profession. they will read it as the best articulation of incompetence in managing workload and further evidence of teachers as people who are very busy achieving very little .

How about we devote our efforts to shouting a different reality:

Teaching is a great profession, it is a challenge and a privilege. It requires sacrifice and dedication. But in the end , the benefits outweigh the sacrifices and we are proud to serve the children and families of our country.

12 thoughts on “#sendgoveyourtimesheet – an objective lament.

  1. Hear hear Pete.
    I work hard yes, but it feels harder mostly as it is concentrated into term time. I feel more than benefitted when the holidays arrive.
    I worked for many years in private sector jobs. And actually teaching is not the longest hours I worked.
    As a holiday rep I was on call 24/7 and didn’t manage a single day off in 6 months. How much was I paid? £12,000 plus accommodation (a shared room with 3 other girls)
    I have had jobs which I can work 9 – 5 and leave at 5 and have nothing to do in the evenings. And for those I was paid £10k pa

    Teaching is hard. But it’s also easier if you make it easier. I work long days at school but don’t do a huge amount of work at home. I work efficiently.

    I do understand, however, that some schools make the duplication of paperwork a higher priority than the well being of teachers. If you are in one of those schools challenge the leadership or move schools. Be a solution not a problem.

    And Pete is right about the hashtag winge. We get enough negative press without creating our own.

    Teaching is incredibly rewarding and no matter how tired I am at times I am always grateful to be in a well paid, secure job (even if you are made redundant supply work is well enough paid to keep anyone from going under and there is always plenty of it for the hardworkers) and to be privileged enough to have some impact on hundreds of children in my career.

    It’s the most challenging job I have ever done but it gives the best reward – money wise, yes but also that time when you see the smile on a child’s face that you created.

    Enjoy it. Being upset about it makes noones life better.
    And if you have an issue with Gove write him a letter. I have, twice, and always got replies which were thoughtful and insightful.
    I don’t think he is doing everything right but I would guess that most of us couldn’t do his job well either.

  2. Also my fiance works 8.30 – 6, has a two hour travel to work each way cos they moved the company and it was travel or be redundant. He works extra at home evenings and weekends when needed and does extra hours after work and weekends when the project requires.

    He gets 20 days holiday a year.

    His wage? £19k

    I think he is much worse off than me

  3. There’s a here here from me too Pete! You have outlined the case very well. As a HT I found it really annoying when there were those who queried the directed hours because I would then have to spend time detailing all the hours under the directed time banner. They would then read, grumble but get on with it. That was time that I should have been spending on children’s educational opportunities. It always created a bit of a tense atmosphere in the school.
    These occasions arose every couple of years usually when a new member of staff joined and felt they needed to flex their muscles. I say that because they would be the ones who questioned EVERYTHING. So tiring!

  4. I agree with the majority of what you say and note that Gove actually said we are ‘required’ to work not that we ‘only’ work – think people missed that bit out.
    However I think it frustrates us teachers when he says that because in my opinion to do a decent job at teaching you can’t possibly do it in 32.5 hours. There’s no way things could be planned and executed in that amount of time. So although I agree with you on the benefits outweigh the negative, I just think it boils down to that age old ‘teachers have easy jobs, 9-3 and loads of holidays’ argument. As I teacher I just want acknowledgement that job is tough (like other jobs) and not just from other teachers.

  5. Speaking on behalf of myself only –

    Gove is clearly right about 32.5 hours directed time. He was not clear whether he was suggesting that teachers only work for 32.5 hours, or whether he acknowledges that most teachers work considerably more than this.

    I am a much better teacher (I think), and hence children in my class learn better, when I am not overly tired, stressed or unhappy. Part of me not being these things means living a diverse and enjoyable life outside of my work, having time to relax, ‘switching off’ at home, and spending as much time as possible with friends and family.

    I think that working 8.00 – 5.00 (without much of a break throughout the day) allows me to be a good teacher, and to be happy. If it’s impossible to ‘fit in’ the amount of work that I am directed to do by school leadership, then I think there should be either be something done to improve efficiency re. the tasks that need to be done to ensure effective learning, either on an individual or institutional basis, or more resources (staff) need to be employed to do them.

    I know that many teachers, and many people in other jobs, work many more hours than me. My guess (going on feedback from teachers who do work longer hours) is that many of these people don’t want to work so many hours because it makes them unhappy. Doing a good job and teaching well (or doing a different job well) makes them happy of course, but they wish they could do so without it impeding so much on their non-work life.

    I’m not moaning here. I’m saying that, personally, I love teaching, do a really good job, and I’m happy. If I work more hours, I think all of these things would be worse.

    Everone is different, obviously. I completely understand if some people choose to work more hours because that makes them happy. Equally, if someone has circumstances in which they feel that they work too many hours, I feel that they should be supported to work less hours while necessary.

    Teaching has many perks, which is brilliant. I wish that other jobs did too. I resent any arguments that suggest teachers should work longer hours or have less holidays because people in other professions do. I don’t see any sense in that. Teachers are fortunate to have such strong unions which can protect them from influences that may otherwise harm their working conditions, and it is a shame that more people in other professions can’t rely on their unions for support with this.

    I am proud to do a good job – for whichever children it might be for, in whichever country, and for myself.


  6. I used the hashtag and i have watched the clip with Mr. Gove talking about the required 32.5 hours. Though I have not watched the whole 1-2 hours of the session. I agree that teaching is a fab job. I have worked for 4-5 years outside of teaching and can recall how pointless I felt most of my jobs were. It is teaching does matter and does make a difference and is as far from pointless as you can get, it is also therefore so much harder to shake off ‘work thoughts’ when you are trying to relax. therefore it can become an all consuming vocation.

    I used the hashtag because I do not trust Mr. Gove one bit. I believe he does not value education in the way I do. I worry that he doesn’t value the job that teachers and support staff do at state schools. I believe he is more interested in cutting costs and turning education into a much more competitive ‘business’ than it is at present. I worry that by quoting 32.5 hours he is looking for a cheap headline that will point out how “easy teachers have it”.
    Whilst I agree with most of your post Pete. It is because of how valuable education is that I believe that it is worth defending from people like the Secretary of State who is more interested in pushing his dogma than in seeing the good work that is going on in English and Welsh state schools. (@dukkhaboy)

  7. not sure I agree with everything in here. Having worked in industry the hours are similar per se, but the intensity whilst at work is far higher in teaching. However there is one major point you make that i absolutely do agree with. many good teachers I know get very touchy about some of the things that Gove is saying. They shouldn’t because his comments are not aimed at them. They are aimed at the overpaid, lazy teachers who are protected by the rest of us. Unfortunately its these people that have tarnished the reputation of the profession

  8. Non contributory pension? And you are requesting that teachers get their facts right?

    I am afraid that our rather simplistic calculations takes into account the work that you do outside of our working day, but not the work that teachers do in the evenings, at weekends, and in the holidays. A little bit of mathemagic in there. Holidays are part of the ‘non directed’ time. That does not necessarily mean that it is actually holiday. Most teachers work more that 39 weeks.

    Teaching is a great job. That said, I couldn’t work any harder without being ill. And that wouldn’t be good for any of my students.

    I hate whinging teachers. I am not one. It is just unhelpful when Mr Gove and others don’t recognise the very long hours already put in by many teachers.

  9. I don’t see how any of this post relates to people being irritated by what he said. What does that hashtag have to do with pensions etc? Have I misunderstood? Teachers moaning about teachers is playing in to Gove’s hands more than anything else! Divide and rule indeed! I do agree with much of what Gove says but when he gets it wrong he seems to really get it wrong.

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