In my previous life before teaching I took full advantage of my employer’s time off in lieu policy and was encouraged to do so. It is a great system in most jobs – when you put in extra time over your contracted hours you get it back as holiday. Simples. This, however, would be impossible in teaching. Working time agreements and contracted hours are all very well but I don’t know a single teacher who works those hours.
With marking, preparation, cpd, tidying and organising, extra curricular activities and trips, meetings and those 100s of other little things that just crop up – teachers, according to the bbc, work an average of 55 – 59 hrs a week.
There is no quicker way to annoy a teacher by saying how jammy they are with all the holidays they get and that they don’t work at weekends. But a significant proportion of teachers are putting in hours at the weekends and during there holidays. Over the course of the summer I’ll have probably spent about 15hrs actually preparing things but a lot more thinking about things to do and jotting down ideas. That is a fraction of what others do and I’m sure I’ll feel it when I’m back at the coal face next week.
How would all this work with time off in lieu? With teachers contracted for 35 hr weeks that would be 20hrs a week per teacher! Impossible to allow but if teachers didn’t put in all the extra hours the education system and all the opportunities that children are afforded would collapse.
Teachers know what we signed up for and how many hours that we put in above and beyond. I hope that others will realise that too.