The Four Hour Teaching Day Proposal Makes Us Look Lazy


Teachers asking for reduced working hours have to be careful that they aren’t falling into the trap of appearing hypocritical. You can’t ask for reduced contact hours on one hand and then complain that there isn’t enough time to properly teach the curriculum on the other.

I would never be able to sufficiently teach my students in just 4 hours a day and I don’t believe there are too many teachers who can guarantee that standards would soar if such a system was applied. Moreover, those who are looking for better pay must realise that they are largely at the mercy of public perception. As the taxpayer foots the bill for every pay rise, it is essential that teachers are seen as professional, hard working, caring and meticulous in the eyes of the public.

Frankly, this proposal makes us look lazy and selfish:

Teachers demanded a 20-hour a week limit on classes yesterday to maintain a healthy ‘work/life balance’.

Union members called for a rigid 35-hour week, with little more than half given over to teaching children.

Five hours would be used for planning, preparation and assessment ‘at a time and place of the teacher’s choosing’ – meaning at home in most cases.

The remaining ten hours would be set aside for other ‘non-contact’ duties including marking and going to meetings.

The proposal came at the end of a heated eight-day period during which annual conferences held by three teaching unions were used to repeatedly attack the policies of Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Critics were swift to accuse the union of being ‘out of touch’ with reality. Craig Whittaker, a Tory MP on the Commons education select committee, said: ‘You can’t change these things in the current economic climate.

‘It just shows how incredibly out of touch the unions are with what’s going on in the real world.’

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said teachers should have their hours ‘expanded, not diminished’. He added: ‘In the independent sector it is normal to have 60 hours of contact time a week. They are living in fantasy land if they want 20 hours per week.’

He said the hours of work should be made less stressful by giving them greater powers to suspend or exclude disruptive pupils. The NUT saved its bombshell for the last motion of its five-day conference in Liverpool. Cambridgeshire primary school teacher Richard Rose said: ‘We’re fed up with arriving at 7.45am … and most people are there until 6.30pm.

‘During that time there is no time to go to eat, no time to talk, no time to think, no time even to go to the toilet in many cases.


Click on the link to read Sometimes the Union Makes me Embarrassed to Call Myself a Teacher

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Pressure in the Workplace

Click on the link to read Sick Teachers Need to be Arrested not Fired!

Click on the link to read Teaching Union Wants Porn on the National Curriculum


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “The Four Hour Teaching Day Proposal Makes Us Look Lazy”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    I hesitate to reply to this article because it is seething with emotive and partisan language which, to someone who has spent most of his career working in the public education sector, alongside mostly dedicated and professional colleagues, appears to have very little basis in fact.

    Perhaps things are different in Australia from The UK, but I know of no independent school where teachers are required to teach, face to face, for 60 hours a week. That would be pure Dickens. If anything, working conditions in independent schools are somewhat more generous than in State schools.

    As for a 20 hour a week contact teaching load, this is a fact of life in most public and private high schools in Australia. Even so, under those circumstances, there is not an idle minute in the day and there remains work be completed after hours, either by staying at school late, and/or arriving early and there is always work to take home. Arriving at 7:45am and leaving at 6:30pm is a reality for many teachers.

    Whatever the working conditions there are always disruptive students who make the job extremely difficult.

    My suggestion is that most of the difficulties experienced by teachers are systemic. That is to say, the way in which the system is managed creates most of the stress and mutual aggravation, much of which can be eliminated by management having a greater understanding of the structures and forces in the system that lead to the stresses and breakdowns, and to focus on improving the system rather than concentrating on grinding down those working in the system who have no control over the way in which it is managed. In one state where I worked for most of my career they became extremely good at management but sadly lacking in leadership, which is the case to this day.

    If the UK system of education is as the article above suggests then it is most dysfunctional and in need of a thorough overhaul. Management and leadership are not the same thing. Management is about doing things right, leadership is about doing the right things (Drucker?) There is no virtue in having a well managed system if most of the things being done in the system are wrong, and this is what causes the breakdown in relations between management and staff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: