Finally there’s real evidence to support the claim that teachers have been making for a long time – they work more hours than the stereotypical view of 9 – 3. I hope Michael Wilshaw got the memo – so he can shelve his idea to penalise staff who leave the school premises at 3pm! (Who might just be going to work at home because it’s a lot nicer than working in their classroom, the wifi might be better, the coffee most certainly will be!) If people wondered why teachers were so up in arms about the Government freezing their pay and messing around their pensions, it’s because they’ve already given more than most public sector workers. They’ve given £7billion worth of unpaid overtime.
Just to be clear, teachers cannot claim over time. They are paid a salary. Their contract covers them for the hours that they spend teaching in the classroom plus a certain number of hours, 1265 to be exact, which is where before & after school meetings, including Parents Evening, are factored in. Most British teachers work 10 hours a week over their hours. Now this might not sound like much. But if you add that up over the course of a year, that’s a lot of hours.
According to TUC research, teachers do more unpaid overtime than any other public sector worker. This isn’t because they’re already paid an excessive salary – due to the freezing of teachers’ salaries over recent years and cost of living increases, most teachers’ take home pay has effectively decreased. Why do they do this? Quite simply, it’s because it is the only possible way to do everything the Government requires teachers to do today. There are certain expectations for teachers. It’s not only the teaching in the classroom, the marking, the planning, but also the meetings, the duties, the school trips etc etc. The expectation that you add value for every student.
This equates to a great experience for students, in theory. For the teacher and their loved ones, it equates to quite a negative experience. Teachers working all day & night, and weekends, will be exhausted, stressed and very overworked. This affects all their relationships. Not great for a workforce already on its knees.
Gove has floated the idea of extending the school day. While this might have its merits, it will not ease the burden for teachers and support staff. Another sticky issue is the current Work to Rule instruction from the NUT & NASUWT has also put extra pressure on teachers. The job hasn’t changed and they do the job because they are passionate about it. Working to Rule doesn’t change that! It doesn’t take away all the things that need to be done. Hence most teachers will be working very long days this week.