Gransnet forums


Overworked teachers

(112 Posts)
Ankers Tue 28-Feb-17 09:26:52

I know quite a lot of young teachers in primary schools, who have been teaching for eg up to 5 years. They are overworked.

Not sure if I am ranting or chatting.

One is leaving, and the others in some ways would definitely like to. They work in different schools, some teach in academies, not sure about the others.

They enjoy teaching, but the pressure of it, and "not having a life" is how they describe it, is all too much.

It seems to be the same in different areas?

Jayemwhite Tue 28-Feb-17 09:56:11

Having been a primary school teacher for many years, I can only agree. The burden on young teachers is horrendous. I would never recommend teaching as a career. When I started, it was not too bad, but the workload has expanded exponentially.
People say 'ah, but they get the holidays. Half of most holidays are spent in school, and the rest is spent recovering from the 60-hour weeks!

Irenelily Tue 28-Feb-17 10:12:06

I was a Primary teacher, a Deputy head when I retired. During my last few years I was in school often before 8am and often did not leave till 6pm. As the Jayemwhite says, at least half the holidays are spent in school or doing school work at home. One f my daughters is a Head of a Primary school. She is in school from 7.30am until 6pm and often has evening meetings. At least one day at the weekend is given to school work and once again so are half the holidays. My eldest granddaughter is now teaching - same story. She is in a difficult school, but loves it despite the hard work. The reason most teachers do it is because they feel they are making a difference and the children - and working with them, even the problem ones is so rewarding! That is why they cope with the work load!

Lilyflower Tue 28-Feb-17 10:14:22

I taught for 34 years in all and full time too. It nearly killed me but I took early retirement to avoid the breakdown that I knew was coming.

In my last decade I realised that the new initiatives, in addition to the extra data being processed and the inspection and observation regime, not to mention lengthening the school day had doubled the workload and hours needed to cover the curriculum.

My view is that many of these changes were brought in to ease out the older teaching staff who were expensive and resistant to many of the changes which were bad for the staff and students.

I also think that without it ever being mentioned someone in the Education hierarchy worked out that you could hire cheap, eager young teachers, work them like virtual slaves for about five years or however long it took for them to realise they were not going to be promoted and then they would leave, burnt out, before accruing any serious pension contibutions.

Lowering standards meant that younger teachers did not have to be the brightest and best and having 'one size fits all' lessons rendered the teacher into an 'information delivery operative' merely. Anyone with a McDegree could do it.

Irenelily Tue 28-Feb-17 10:14:36

Sorry missed a couple of words - and love the children!

Greyduster Tue 28-Feb-17 10:19:12

My SiL was a primary school teacher and he said the worst aspect was the horrendous amount of form filling and paperwork that got in the way of actual teaching. He said it ground him down. He left teaching to work in engineering.

Kim19 Tue 28-Feb-17 10:30:25

Never quite understand why teachers have always been singled out for this 'wonderful job' accolade. Seems to me that anyone who does their paid employment reliably, fastidiously and well comes under that heading. I was simply in high pressure office management and regularly worked well into the evenings, weekends, took work home and did desk meals. I did not have massive 'recovery' holidays. My choice of career - and yet I enjoyed the challenge. Current people who come into my mind as extraordinary are the prison officers. No amount of money would make that attractive (or possible) for me. When will we ever accept that we're all cogs in the same wheel? Unfortunately the remuneration is very ill divided. I would rate my dustbin collectors as highly worthy. Any other nominees..

Rosepaul Tue 28-Feb-17 10:30:42

My dd is a primary school teacher and works very long hours mostly as other have suggested on paperwork and planning rather than teaching

Jalima Tue 28-Feb-17 10:47:42

I wonder what 'Miss' has done over half-term whilst we have been struggling to help the primary age DGC with five pieces of homework (none easy and one would apparently 'make a good project to do with your class')?

Kim I know someone who worked as a prison officer and the hours, stress were terrible and the pay nowhere near that of my friends who were teachers.

rosesarered Tue 28-Feb-17 10:50:51

A lot of our family have been /are teachers, and yes, it is rewarding and hard work, but most do it because they love the job.The holidays are wonderful and allow time to be spent with the family, which many jobs do not.
It all depends on the type of school you are teaching in, and the area, as to whether it will be a pleasure or a very hard grind.Violent and disrespectful teenage pupils can make a teachers life hell.Some schools are now so full of foreign pupils ( including EU countries) that teachers have to make so many different lesson plans, and these students quite often do not speak English well.
Contrast that sort of state school in an inner city, with a private school in a leafy rural place, and you can see why teachers would prefer the latter.You have to be very dedicated to teaching indeed to work in the former.

goldengirl Tue 28-Feb-17 10:51:58

I taught for a few years in the 70s which covered 2 primary schools - the 'old' style where children were more formally taught and then what was classed as 'progressive'school where children were project based and could move around. It wasn't the long hours that did for me as I appreciated the holiday breaks but it was what I considered the ridiculous methods introduced by Government. I gave up and went into education television which had even longer hours but was one of the most exciting jobs I ever had. I don't think it's the hours so much as the attitude towards the staff by the powers that be which demoralises teachers.

Lillie Tue 28-Feb-17 10:54:43

Oh dear. Yes, teaching these days is stressful, but so are many jobs and you just have to try and make it work for you. Every day is a new challenge, every pupil is special and every bit of paper work has to be done so there's no point complaining. It's a choice, what other job would these teachers prefer?

gillybob Tue 28-Feb-17 10:54:51

How anyone could complain about a job that gives 13+ weeks holidays per year is beyond me.

missdeke Tue 28-Feb-17 10:57:10

I was speaking to a reception class teacher recently, she says the worst part of her job is how many of the children are not toilet trained, she has a supply of clean clothes, she cleans up the kids who have had accidents and changes nappies frequently. How she has time to actually teach I don't know!!

Elrel Tue 28-Feb-17 10:58:08

I started teaching a class of 40 in an inner city area in 1960 and
enjoyed my work for almost 50 years. What gradually caused me to retire was the constant contradictory government interference, box ticking, ludicrous paperwork and over reliance upon technology. There was also increasing pressure from senior staff more interested in their own careers than the education and wellbeing of their pupils.

ginny Tue 28-Feb-17 11:01:28

Have to say I agree withKim19

I'm sure teachers work very hard but many seem to think that other professions have it easy.

I have two DDs that work in the private section and they work long hours , often leaving home at 5 a.m and not returning home until 8-9 p.m.and take work home with them. They have around 4 to 5 weeks holiday and are often take 'phone calls and deal with e-mails whilst away on holiday as did my DH. Add to this the fact that they often have to work some w/ends and travel regularly.

BRedhead59 Tue 28-Feb-17 11:09:06

I did 37 years in the profession and watched as data became more important than teaching - data, largely to make politicians look good. Data that has very little to do with children. I worked long hours too but largely enjoyed it to be fair. I also worked during the holidays I probably ended up with the same holiday as most people. I would not recommend the profession now or that my son living abroad with three kids returns to our system. It won't be long now before kids are sent home due to the funding crisis. With a bit of luck, education may get on the political agenda instead of BREXIT. Then we can ask why Grammar schools are being promoted when there is zero evidence that they work other than state private schools for the well off.

Elrel Tue 28-Feb-17 11:09:56

Missedeke. I just saw your post - I taught reception for several years before schools had more than one or two classroom assistants and never had a pupil in a nappy. We always kept spare underwear and cleaned up children who had toilet accidents as a matter of course.

I'm surprised that any normal 4 year old is not toilet trained. The proprietor of a local dance school, asked whether there is a minimum age, says cheerily to parents of prospective pupils 'well ate them from 2 as long as they are out of nappies.

Elrel Tue 28-Feb-17 11:10:47

*'we'll take' - no eating involved!!

GillT57 Tue 28-Feb-17 11:24:39

Teachers are like many others in the public service; used, abused, over worked and under appreciated. This applies to medical professionals, prison officers, police etc etc. The government relies on and abuses the dedication and professionalism of people.


GillT57 Tue 28-Feb-17 11:25:25

well that was odd. When I typed, got an unwanted indent, then when I posted it disappeared...most sinister.

Elegran Tue 28-Feb-17 11:27:11

That has been happening to me with every post I write for a couple of days, and to other people.

MawBroon Tue 28-Feb-17 11:27:57

Oh this thread could run and run!
DD1 gave up a lucrative career in Recruitment Consultancy after DGS1was born where she did 4 days a week after returning from maternity leave. She retrained as a Secondary Maths teacher as she hoped to have a "family friendly" job where at least she would share her children's school holidays and be home by bath time. She is at school before 8 each morning, having left home at 7.20 and what with meetings, standardisation sessions etc after school every day leaves around 5 to be home by bathtime. A daily nanny looks after 2year-old DGD on working days (3 a week) and takes the boys to and from school, including any after school activities. Ev nines are of course given over to planning and marking.
Why single out primary teachers? Not criticising them of course, but DD on her "free" days has detailed lesson plans to write along with a toddler to look after, marking to do including several regularly sets of mocks and/coursework reports to write, parents evening are compulsory and this year happen to all be scheduled for one of her non working days so she has to arrange childcare from 3 till after 8 do that she can be there.
A secondary teacher since the 70's I can honestly say that her workload exceeds mine at most points in my career even when I was running a department of 9.
I blame targets, league tables, lesson planning which seems to involve reinventing the wheel, constantly changing syllabuses and frequently "jobsworthy "management.
Lke workers in the NHS, teachers have to deal with some very disturbed young people, violence in the classroom, stroppy teenagers (!) and often violent parents. They have to keep calm., never resort to shouting, obviously no physical contact and sadly these days, sometimes malicious fabricated accusations which can destroy a life as well as a career.
Again like NHS workers I can remember how depressing it was to wake up to very day to be denigrated by the media, blamed for things which were often the responsibility of parents. It sapped your soul!
Despite everything I worked to 2 years beyond retirement age because the time in the classroom was fulfilling, rewarding, stimulating and I took a pride in my students' results. So briefly, it's not just primary teachers and it is not just young teachers!

adaunas Tue 28-Feb-17 11:40:04

Problem with all jobs is we have no idea what they're like unless we try them. The pleasure of teaching is, I would imagine, far greater than the pleasure of being a prison officer. However, the hours are incredible and the unrealistic targets, e.g. Providing lessons tailored to each child's individual needs don't help. I taught full time from 1971 until about 3 years ago when I semi retired. Planning with differentiation for the different ability needs, creating and collecting resources including ICT resources, marking, formative assessment, recording, adjusting planning to deal with outcomes of formative assessment, dealing with children with behavioural issues, dealing with anxious and occasionally rude or violent parents, after school meetings and out of hours training sessions to learn skills for new subjects which suddenly arrive on the curriculum, being expected to run unpaid after school clubs, (there is no overtime payment in education), keeping up with initiatives which come and go all added to the fun. Oh and the expectation of some school governors that if you weren't already familiar with the computing or the modern foreign language you were expected to teach, you should "go to night school and learn!" I would not have chosen any other job despite this BUT one of the perks of only working 3 afternoons is that I can refuse to teach classes where children's behaviour is unacceptable, I can choose which subjects I teach and I only have to spend a day and a half on planning, marking, assessing etc. I see concerned parents but rude or violent ones get siphoned directly to the Head by the secretary.😀

vampirequeen Tue 28-Feb-17 11:43:53

Did anyone read the posts regarding what teachers do in the holidays? The holidays are for the children not for the teachers. I didn't sit on my bum for 13 weeks a year. I planned, assessed, sorted out things in the school (one year I cleaned after the builders had been in, data handling, predicted and set targets, studied to maintain and update my subject knowledge, wrote reports, wrote and revised school policies for the subjects I was responsible for (and no I didn't get any extra money for subject responsibility)and a host of other things. Yes I could work from home for most of the holidays which was nice a nice change from being in school by 7.30 and leaving between 5 and 6 getting home and starting again after my evening meal.

I agree that some people in business work incredibly long hours too but they don't spend their working lives being undermined by the government, the media and sadly a lot of the general population. Neither do they spend ages jumping through hoops to keep OFSTED happy then find that when they succeed the goal posts are moved and they have to start all over again.

If I had a sales job then I would expect to sell. If I'd gone into investment banking I would expect to work in investments. I went into teaching foolishly thinking it was about education. Sadly it is far more about working through a paper tree and much less about the children. We no longer educate to help a child achieve the best results they can by giving them a solid all round education to help them be successful and productive adults. We spoon feed the information they'll need to pass the exams that we will be penalised for if they don't pass. The success of the education system is not measured by the way children are helped to develop the skills and knowledge they'll need for the adult world but by how many exam passes they can achieve.

I wish I'd left before it finished me off.