Hundreds of teachers have taken to social media to warn that they could withdraw the “goodwill” they show in working hundreds of hours of overtime every month.
Yesterday, educationist and former head Colin Harris wrote a piece for TES in which he warned that the school system was over-dependent on teachers being prepared to go above and beyond their contracted hours. It was unsustainable, he warned.
It was only a matter of time before something in the system snapped, Mr Harris added.
“The reality is that nearly 60 hours per teacher per week has become a norm,” he wrote. “No wonder teachers struggle to achieve a work-life balance. If teacher's pay reflected this work, it might help – but that is not the case. Half of a teacher’s time is not being paid for.
Impact on staff wellbeing
“It comes at a cost. Inevitably, it leads to absenteeism and affects teachers' wellbeing. We are storing up problems for the future. We have created a vicious circle.
“As such, teachers are looking outside the profession for better pay and recognition. We don't want to see a withdrawal of teachers 'goodwill' as inevitable. Teachers don't ask for much, but is it too much to expect recognition for the wonderful job they do day in day out?”
The responses came thick and fast on Facebook, where hundreds of teachers commented:
And the story was similar on Twitter:
@tes Much "goodwill" has already disappeared but teacher contracts/threats of capability force teachers to do unpaid overtime anyway— Andy Lutwyche (@andylutwyche) September 29, 2016
@tes Excellent article by Colin Harris and very true about teachers goodwill— Dr Christine Challen (@ChallenDr) September 29, 2016