A colleague and I were talking the other day. We came to the conclusion that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Which makes me wonder – What if…?
What if teachers actually walked into school at the time they had to and walked out at the time they paid until?
For me that would mean turning up at work at 8:40am and leaving at 3:40pm. I would have an additional one hour meeting two nights a week and a negotiated hour of work for one night a week. This would make up my allocated 38 hour week.
Last year, the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) commissioned the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) to survey Victorian teachers on their workload. It found that teachers in Victorian on average work an additional 14-15 hours per week. This number increases for teachers who hold positions of responsibility and increases again for principal class.
This week the Victorian AEU had its 2017 Agreement accepted by the Victorian teacher workforce. It now finalises its deals with the Education Department and away we go for another four years. Two features of this agreement are:
- Four non-teaching, professional practice days per year for teachers
- A 30+8 model
Neither of these two things really will do anything towards alleviating the workload facing teachers.
I have face-to-face teaching time for 22.5 hours per week. I am entitled to 2.5 hours of planning time per week. I then have three hours of meetings and .75 hours of yard-duty. Lunch clocks in at 2.5 hours per week where I don’t technically have to do anything work related. This takes me up to 31 hours of allocated time for the week. Then there is 45 minutes of planning time taken if you consider my start time is 25 minutes before the students start and my finish time is 20 minutes after they leave.
And I am still expected to:
- display/update student work
- upload photos to the system so that assemblies can go ahead
- find or make resources
- assess (whilst I teach or maintain some sort of learning)
- write reports
- communicate with parents
- communicate with colleagues
- deal with inappropriate student behaviour
- complete teacher self-reflection
- submit data and be prepared to justify why students may not have progressed
- read, read, reflect and comment on the Teaching and Learning Cycle before the next staff workshop
- reflect on my introduction of learning strategies into our specialist setting
And all of this needs to be done in my own time!
What if teachers turned around and said “No! I’m going home and I am not doing any more today!” Where would that leave the system?