I’m on strike today …. I know this will be highly contentious and parents around the UK will be up in arms because they have to look after their children but enough is enough.
I estimate that I work approx 70 hours a week even though I only physically teach children for about 20 of them and I know with absolute certainty that no matter how many hours I put in, I’ll never get to the end of my “to do” list nor go home with that “job well done feeling”. I work through many of my holidays and weekends.
It never used to be like this. I’ve always worked long hours preparing resources and marking work, knowing that what I did helped the pupils to learn and that I was doing a good job. I’ve been praised in the past for my teaching and my results and although I know that I’m not “outstanding” teacher material, I know that I made a difference and that I cared passionately about my job and the future hopes and dreams of my pupils.
Now, I spend hours wading through a bureaucratic nightmare of endless paperwork, planning done in triplicate, endless meetings etc that leave me so tired and lacking in free time that lesson planning, marking and subsequently my teaching are suffering. Worse still, so is my health. I rarely find time to eat or have a cup of tea at work and I’m finding it difficult to sleep, waking at silly o’clock thinking about something that I’d not had time to do.
I worry about the pressures placed upon teachers today and believe that these are detrimental to education as a whole.
My resignation is written …. it has been for some time but I’ve never been accused of being a quitter so it sits, unsigned, ironically at the bottom of my “to do” list!! I’ll never go back to teaching.
Today, I could have gone to work, signed in, done planning, marking etc and marvelled at how much I could get done with no disturbances and left at lunchtime to attend an arranged network meeting and received a full days pay for doing no teaching at all. Instead, I’m off to see my mother whom I’ve only managed to find time to see once in the past seven weeks then still going to the meeting because many colleagues have put time and effort into putting it together and above all else we are professionals with morals and scruples. Solidarity has its price!
I worry for all pupils …. not because I’m planning on looking for a career where I actually occasionally feel that I’m doing a decent job instead of constantly being in the firing line … but because, having spoken to many, many teachers over the past year, shockingly almost all would quit teaching if they could afford to do so!
A more demoralised profession, you would be hard pushed to find.