No such thing as a free laptop

15th September 2006 at 01:00
I am sick of how much of my "free" time I spend doing college work such as marking. I am not paid to do 9 till 9 but that is what I do. A colleague recently said she decided that, after a few years, enough was enough. She now has a rule that if she cannot fit her job into her working hours (with some exceptions, such as marking coursework and in the lead up to exams) she adjusts her working day to make it fit - marking during lessons and not setting homework. She claims not to have planned a lesson since the last inspection. I don't know how much of her advice to take but I am desperate to have more time for myself.

It sounds as if you have too little non-contact time and are unlikely to get anymore. Whether you realised it or not, you have entered into a tacit agreement with your employer that you will be taking work home with you.

That free laptop was not for fun, it was a bribe, and by taking it you have joined the ranks of suckers collectively known as the teaching profession.

I'd think twice about adjusting your timetable in the way that your colleague has as it may backfire on you. Some lessons don't need planning, but most do. I would not want to go into a lesson with only an idea of what I was doing, whatever the advantage to my social life.

Dilemmas should be emailed to Donald Short at

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