DISCLAIMER: I write this as the son of a primary school teacher who sees day to day the effect teaching has on family life. All views are my own and not that of any organisation I am a part of.
In the wake of the latest comments from people regarding the pay of teachers and how much of an easy life they get I thought I would take the opportunity to shed some light on the life of a teacher. A modern teacher is forced to fulfill many roles that range from teaching your children to count to dealing with issues at home that manifest themselves into problems in school, some may say this strikes a resemblance to the job of a social worker. The schools may shut for 13 weeks holiday a year but I can assure you teachers do not down tools at 3:15 on the last Friday of the term. Inevitably these teachers spend several days of their holidays marking work and preparing lessons for the following term. As the son of a teacher, I see firsthand the sacrifices a teacher makes to take care of your children when they are being educated. Several times they put marking work or doing pointless paper exercises ahead of their own family life. Is this what you call a work, life balance – certainly not what I would call a balance, of course, you know what a is balance right? Your teacher spent hours planning the lesson that made sure it remained in your brain for many years to come.
We move onto the working day, 8:30 am until 3:30 pm with several breaks and a lunchtime in the middle? Wrong! A teacher’s day starts usually well before 8:30 – the usual queue for the photocopier to prepare 32 booklets for their class. Of course once upon a time that was 30 booklets at the most but why not add more pressure on teachers? Yeah but they get breaks I hear you say! Well, breaks are spent preparing for the second lesson of the day, not really a break is it, rushed off your feet trying to remember the knowledge of 13 subjects that you studied many moons ago all to teach the little darlings who may or may not remember it! The end of the day arrives and so you may think a teachers day ends there. It doesn’t! Almost every day they arrive home to juggle doing homework with their own children and housework along with the reams of paperwork and marking. Sat there with their family but only half their attention is on them, the other half is on YOUR family.
So we have had an insight into teachers average holiday, weekend and working day, so why is it worth staying in teaching after four years at university and the highest salary you can be on is that of a graduate engineer without a couple of years in the job. Sure, you can go into management, but should everyone have to progress to the top to earn a decent wage. Next time you think to complain about a teacher just remember the sacrifice they make, the work they put in and most importantly that they do it all for you and your children.