Do teachers work too hard?

Many teachers, both in primary and secondary schools, have been known to work more than 50-60 hours a week in term time. But do teachers work too hard? Is trying to keep on top of marking, preparing lessons, assessments in conjunction with maintaining quality contact time with their pupils just too much to ask of one person?

If so, what can be done to ease the workload and other burdens faced by teachers? Also, how can public perceptions of teachers having a ‘cushy life’ be reversed for the better? These are just some of the questions that teachers ask themselves.

It’s no surprise that teachers have stressful days in the classroom. Take an average primary school teaching day for example, with around five hours of teaching in five different subjects and pastoral care for thirty or so children.  Setting up the classroom with the right equipment can take longer than expected if someone has the pooters or history artefacts and you need to go hunting! On top of this teachers are expected to run one or two after school or lunchtime clubs.

Any adult at such a pace would be worked to a frazzle, day in and day out for 6-7 weeks in a row (an average half term). That’s without factoring in the marking, planning and entering assessment data into various databases, class assemblies and plays!

So yes, most teachers do work hard, very hard in fact, and as a consequence they do deserve their holidays. Approximately 13 weeks holiday a year does sound like a long time, but by the time they have recovered from the last term and prepared for the start of the next one, the precious time inbetween is very well deserved!

In recent years, teachers have found themselves being attacked on all sides, from the Government, the public and even from the pupils themselves. These factions can have little appreciation of how hard teachers work at the coal face. As a consequence, public opinion of teachers is at a low ebb.

But teachers should be proud of their profession and hold their heads high. They do a great service to children as a whole and should be lauded for their drive and commitment, often in difficult circumstances.

By being proud of their profession, teachers will raise appreciation of their essential role in society and yes, their job is a lot to ask of one person. Teachers should remind everyone that everyday they rise to their vocation, come rain or shine. One day, their efforts will be recognised and they will receive the applause they deserve!

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Mike Hutchins

Mike Hutchins is the founder of Good Morning Children, an on-line company that provides engaging and mentally stimulating resources for primary school children of all ages. Mike started Good Morning Children in 2006 with the aim of the company being to help children develop key thinking and reasoning skills. His qualifications include B.Sc (Engineering) and a PGCE in primary education.

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