It is just after five on a Sunday afternoon and, apart from a two hour break, I have been working since I got up early this morning. I will continue to do so more or less up to the point that I go to bed. I was in college yesterday from eight until just after one and the spent a considerable part of the rest of the day either marking or doing other school work. This is by no means an unusual weekend for me and they always come on top of long and exhausting weeks. I am in college early every morning and, on average, spend between ten and twelve hours per day there. On top of this, I frequently then take work home and I am often still in college after nine-thirty in the evening.
I came into teaching after studying as a mature student and I have over twenty years management experience. This has been made use of by my employers in education and for the last four years I have been either a subject head or subject co-ordinator. However, in recognition of this I have never received any management nor retention point, nor I am yet at the top of the salary scale.
In addition, I can remember the days when I had a life and was able to do the things that normal people do in the evening and at weekends. So, why do I do it? Because, in spite of everything, I love my job. Unfortunately, many people, the government and my principal included, rely on teachers in my position who feel about the job as I do. However, I am afraid that, if new teachers are to enter and stay within the profession, the situation has got to change. The seventy hours plus week that I have to work has got to go. Most young people are simply not prepared to put up with the poor conditions of service, long hours and poor rates of pay, especially when they are compared to the other graduate opportunities available.
Hockerill Anglo-European College,