The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Friday, February 25, 2005

It's national Work Your Proper Hours Day in England.

A trade union study showed that the profession which worked the longest hours was teaching.

I have mixed feelings about this concept. I know how deeply unpopular I'll make myself to other teachers by saying this.
I get twelve weeks holiday a year. Twelve whole weeks.

I leave my house at 8.15 in the morning, and I'm generally home again by 3 in the afternoon. I rarely do work at weekends, though I often work a day or two per holidays.

My contact hours are 26 per week. That's as close to part time as it can get on a fulltime salary.

And: some of my work really doesn't feel like work, frankly. Taking sixth formers to the Imperial War Museum didn't feel like work. This weekend, I have to watch Hitchcock's Psycho and make notes on one scene. Last week, I had to read about Hunter S Thompson, and design my own storyboard for a crime serial's TV credits. I also looked up illustrations of sea serpents for a powerpoint presentation about pre-twentieth century non fiction texts.

It's not exactly rocket science.

I have to write reports, surely, but they're so anodyne and pointless as to be an exercise in tedium rather than real thought. I have to mark books, yes - that's a big time filler: but if you've put some thought into what you will be marking for, when, and why as you plan a unit, it should be more interesting than tedious.
Today, in particular, the children went home at noon, buoyed by the freezing glory of a snow day.

Work your real hours? I'd have to work up to it.

Best job in the world, you know.