Little_Mavis' rants and musings

Just a few points about teaching


….you may not have thought about

….or you may.

Since I’m not doing the job any more so it seems less like winging I wanted to mention a few things. Forgive me if you have already thiought of all this, and I know there are similar things in other jobs, just wanted to put this out there as a slight balance to all the “Teachers should work longer hours & have fewer holidays” stuff that is popular just now.

I fully realise that all jobs have parts that the general population may have misconceptions about. Please feel free to share them, it’s about time we all recognised how hard other people ar working too,

If you are a teacher:-

  • You can’t book a day’s holiday to visit your sick mum in hospital. Or anything else for that matter. You have holidays, those are the holidays. No time off outside them. This means you cannot wake up one morning & think “I deserve a day off” or “Don’t feel brilliant, not ill enough to be sick, so I’ll take a day’s holiday.
  • You have to book non-emergency doctor’s, dentist’s, hospital appointments in the holidays, you will be able to attend things like outpatient’s appointments that are only available on (say) Tuesdays, but I have arranged things like bone-scans & colonoscopys in the holidays to avoid hassle.
  • You have to book your holidays in the holidays (well obviously) – no real issue with this, although it does mean you can’t take advantage of any bargains. It can be difficult if you have children attending school in another authority with different holidays. One year I had an overlap of 2 weeks when we could have our Summer holiday
  • You have to provide work for your classes if you are off sick. Not sure if this is common practice but it was the case where I work. You need to ensure work is available for your classes in a place that other members of staff can easily access and provide instructions as to how to administer that work. Of course, there is no guarantee that the work will be given or if it is that it will be done in the way you want.
  • You provide most of your own pens/stationery/files/USB/portable disk etc.  and in many cases you are expected to buy pens & rewards for your classes
  • You get used to the idea of not having “quiet times” in the day. There are none. You have to be on your toes pretty much all the time. Free periods (if you have any) are filled with preparation, marking, meetings, travelling from one classroom/site to another, admin, patrolling corridors etc
  • You (reluctantly) accept there are no bonuses, Christmas or otherwise

I’m not going into the whole working outside school hours here, that should be pretty obvious really.

I’m sure there are others.

I’d like contributions from people in other fields. We probably don’t know what you have to do apart from our basic understanding.

Let’s share, And let’s respect others work rather than indulging in a pissing contest about who is working hardest. Maybe we are “all in it together” (at least “US”.


Author: littlemavis

Retired teacher. (also Information Scientist, Export Sales Assistant, Sales Administrator, Computer Programmer, Software Support Specialist) Worked in Sixth Form college and recently as support in a primary school.

2 thoughts on “Just a few points about teaching

  1. My mum and my sister are both teachers and I don’t envy them for one second. Not only all those things you mentioned above, but you are also responsible for the future of young people. You are the person that sometimes has to watch them go back to a terrible home night after night, knowing that you can’t help them; knowing that no matter what opportunities you provide, the likelihood is that there is too much going on at home for them to give two hoots about what you’re trying to do for them. In fact, in some cases, their sense of self-worth can be so low that they resent any help you give them, thus making the battle to teach them anything a full-blown war.

    Anyway, it’s the reason I don’t teach; I guess I’m not as strong.

    I applaud any teacher who believes in what they do and becomes a fond memory for adults. Unfortunately, there are many who don’t quite go into teaching for those reasons, almost making the profession a means to an end. Those are the teachers most people think of when they berate all teachers about holidays and working hours (what they don’t see, they don’t know about). But for you and many others like you, you’ll always know how much work you put in, how much you cared and how the holidays are actually bloody inconvenient when it comes to actually going somewhere!

    As a non-teacher to an ex-teacher: Thank you 🙂

  2. I am not a teacher but I have felt all of my adult life that teachers were underpaid for the responsibilities of raising someone else’s children. Not to mention the lack of respect given to a teacher by so many. The blog by RSS was so on target in my opinion.

    The good teachers I had when in school, made such an impact on me…to this day I think back on them with much affection and appreciation.

    I read this once and it stuck with me…Teachers affect eternity. One can never tell where their influence ends.

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