You don’t have to talk to a teacher for very long before the subject of workload arises. Publicly, as a profession we are in danger of pedaling the image that complaining about our lot is what we do best. However there are whole networks of us making great strides in spreading the love of what we do; none less than the teacher5aday movement that so many of us engage with on Twitter. The teacher5aday movement challenges teachers’ predisposition to place the wellbeing of others over their own. It asks us as professionals, to model best practice in taking care of ourselves, and to actively inspire others to do the same.
In stark contrast, the Department for Education’s newly published Teachers’ Working Time Survey shows that 93 per cent of teachers identify workload as a serious problem, with teachers working on average 54.4 hours a week. The survey also states that Primary teachers new to the profession are working nearly 19 hours per week outside school hours, causing many to leave the profession within just a few years of qualifying.
One response is over 21,000 signatures on a government petition to reflect the hours worked by teachers in their pay. An alternative approach is to adopt the #fiftyisplenty rule advocated by @chris_eyre. The 50 is plenty rule is the principle that we limit our working hours, wherever possible, to less than 50 per week; maintaining a sustainable work load that neither compromises our productivity or our health and wellbeing but promotes longevity as a professional whilst also improving the wellbeing of those around us.
When Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, addressed the Chartered College of Teaching with her vision for the profession, she said, “Teachers are the experts who inspire the professionals of the future.” The question is how will we inspire other professionals to develop the workload debate?
What are the most valuable aspects of #teacher5aday?
How can we empower teachers and school leaders to challenge unproductive tasks that perpetuate an unsustainable workload?
How can we overcome the impact of underfunding upon workload/feed unsustainable hours?
What role do we want the Chartered College have in helping us to develop the workload debate?