Teacher workload destroying family life?

(51 Posts)
Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 20:27:46

I'm married to a secondary English teacher (large comp, Upper pay spine but no management responsibilities just a regular classroom teacher and year group tutor) and I hate hate hate his job.

We have no evenings together - he marks after putting our kids to bed and having quick supper in front of TV til about 12/1 sun - Thurs and some sun afternoons. Hols and half terms involve me buying childcare or taking time off so he can work, he's rarely home before 7pm and thus 90% of childcare and chores fall to me. In the holidays he has the kids more but then claims he needs time off to relax so household stuff remains undone.

Is this normal? I can't face another 20 years as a widow to the marking.

Would love to know if anyone else's marriage has failed/hit the rocks because of teaching... Or am I just a heartless cow (I have typed up plenty of worksheets, done coursework cover sheets, helped write reports, spent Sundays ferrying him around to round up coursework from slack pupils etc etc over the years)?

Thanks.

Tinlegs Thu 14-Nov-13 20:32:17

I am a secondary English teacher in a small comp (Scotland) and do not work anything like those hours. It might be the difference in the systems (I am assuming you are England) but that level of work suggests he is not very efficient at managing his time and workload. Pupils need to do more self / peer assessment as they learn more and it frees up time for other, more useful, activities. However, it may well be the job, the pressures of his school. I worked 7am - 6pm Mon - Friday and 2-5 hours over weekend in an English school but this included a major extra curricular activity.

Move to Scotland! We have a maximum 35 hours. Many work much longer hours but you are allowed to say no!

Ubik1 Thu 14-Nov-13 20:33:49

Are you working too? It's tough, isn't it.

I don't really know what the answer is...you just do what you have to do.

I work nights/weekends and have 3 DC. DP and I are like ships that pass in the night sometimes. I hate my job, but it's big girl pants time, I'm afraid.

sunnybobs Thu 14-Nov-13 20:34:09

Sounds far too much to me. Either he's rubbish at his job or he's using it as work avoidance for something else. I'd be furious if that was my DH. We're both teachers & yes there are weeks like that & sometimes months but never every week all week. He needs new strategies for marking & time management to try & get on top of it. Is he in a requires improvement or special measures school as they can be utterly exhausting to work in while trying to hit all the targets?!

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 20:37:48

Yes he is bad at managing his time.
Reads and marks slowly and spends far too long on preparing beautiful resources (according to a colleague). He has cooked up a bit before and sails close to capability procedures so feels he has to do more to prove his existence as younger colleagues move up and beyond him, his morale is low and he's convinced that he is barely doing enough (always has huge marking backlog) and that he'd never get a job anywhere else (same school for 19 years, went there for his New year and never left).

Scotland sounds great but I am thinking divorce not relocation!

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 20:38:43

Bloody autocorrect - cocked up and NQT I meant!

Ubik1 Thu 14-Nov-13 20:40:53

How would divorce make things any better?

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 20:43:30

Yep I work school hours round the Dc's 4 days per week and one long day a week, sometimes have to work in evenings too but couple of times a month.

The school is outstanding so no sm type pressures, it's in a leafy small town and he has a 30—40 min commute there and back.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 14-Nov-13 20:46:11

My brother taught English for years and claimed it was harder work than say teaching Maths which was quicker to mark....

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 20:51:18

Forgot to add that he goes to a hobby 2 nights a week and some Sundays Sept to May... But then marks/plans after he gets in.

He's up so late we are on different body clock half the time.

chalkythecat Thu 14-Nov-13 20:51:20

Sounds like my DH who works in IT. He's NEVER home before 7pm, works most evenings and often gets up in the middle of the night/works at the weekend to fix things.

He's probably the equivalent of your DH in terms of seniority and other than a salary/bonus gets no company benefits or pension.

What I'm saying is that it's probably no better outside teaching...

chicaguapa Thu 14-Nov-13 21:01:05

This sounds like my life actually. DH is a teacher too and I often feel like I hate his job.

What bugs me is that his job comes first. I work full time too but I can't sit and relax when I'm not working because DH is marking, planning etc so it's left to me to sort out the DC.

And if I've planned something for both weekend days, we pay for it in the week because he has to plan ahead.

I know it's a stressful job but we all live with the stress too.

The way I cope is when he tells me about the successes and I realise why he wants to do it so much. So I try to be tolerant. But I feel your pain.

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 21:08:58

Thanks for all the replies.
Just don't know if I can live with it anymore. It makes our entire relationship utterly one sided and I know that me and Dc's come down the priorities list after marking and the hobby. My concern had turned into resentment I fear

Tinlegs Thu 14-Nov-13 21:16:23

Get him to ditch the hobby. Tell him that he has to stop at a certain time each day, regardless of what he has to do. Ask him to seek help from a colleague with managing his workload. Insist on one entire free family day at the weekend and no more than (say) 3 hours on the other.

However, the time just sounds ridiculous. Is he actually marking / planning etc or does he have a secret surfing habit that he is covering up with his job as a excuse? Is he online or in a room where he could be on (say) mumsnet as I a when I am, allegedly, marking.

Tinlegs Thu 14-Nov-13 21:16:51

Last sentence garbled....but you get my drift?

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 21:19:09

Well he marks while watching series on his laptop, spends a fair bit of time on Emusic and had/has a bit of an Internet porn thing.

The hobby is the only non work thing he does and he has no other friends, does no sport or anything so am reluctant to say he should quit it.

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 21:19:57

Sometimes marks while watching a series on the laptop, not always.

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 21:21:03

Have asked him repeatedly for years to get tips from colleagues, HOD etc re time management and workload but nothing changes.

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 21:22:28

The weekend days are normally free. He procrastinates on Sundays and usually starts work around 9/10pm.

Nojustalurker Thu 14-Nov-13 21:22:38

I am a teacher who struggles with work/life balance so I understand where he is coming from. I don't have any DC but I hope my priorities will improve then. If I worked the hours your DH is working I would be a rubbish teacher as I would be too exhasuted to be effective in the classroom. It sounds like he needs to learn some shorts and when enough is enough.

Have you talked to him about the effects it is have on you and your children?

Tinlegs Thu 14-Nov-13 21:23:32

Sorry, but you can't mark while doing something else. In order to mark effectively (and efficiently) you need silence and no distractions. The work is expanding to fit the time available and he is using it as an excuse to listen to music / access porn / etc etc.

I think he is avoiding family life and teacher workload (which can be immense) is a convenient excuse.

Ubik1 Thu 14-Nov-13 21:28:54

I think Tinlegs is right.

At some point you have to prioritise family life, he is shutting himself away from you, you need to talk to him.

Orangeanddemons Thu 14-Nov-13 21:51:35

I'm a teacher. I often work in the evenings and weekends. Try and minimise to about 2 hours per night over a maximum of 3 days, and about 2-3 hours at weekends, but I don't teach English which is a very marky subject. I also usually work about 2/5 of every holiday.

I think he is using excuses and overworking, but sometimes it can be as you described. Also when you are wall to wall with children all day every day, it does often leave you with very little emotional energy for your own dc.

NearTheWindmill Thu 14-Nov-13 22:04:35

My MIL, who is now 77, sounds a bit like your DH. The marking and the prep took over her life and her family's life and it was all due to the pressures of teaching. Actually, over 25 years I have just come to realise that she procrastinates and isn't very organised. I suspect, because she was a very good school girl and became head girl, that she exceeded expectations in relation to her capabilities. For example, she was accepted by teacher training college although she didn't completely matriculate (she failed maths) because her school wrote such a glowing report because she was just perfect in every other jolly hockey sticks sort of way. Unfortunately she was always punching a bit above her weight and as the stories have come out over the years, probably never far from capability. It was a terrible struggle for her but really she should have been performance managed out. And how can someone, who can't convert fractions to decimals and vice versa, let alone work out a percentage, really be capable of teaching 10/11 year olds maths. That perhaps is more of an indictment on what is wrong about the jack of all trades philosophy in primary education than about her though and is off topic so sorry OP.

SilverApples Thu 14-Nov-13 22:06:38

'Sorry, but you can't mark while doing something else. In order to mark effectively (and efficiently) you need silence and no distractions.'

Really Tinlegs? I can't work in silence, most of my marking is done whilst watching DVDs that I own. You can only speak for yourself I think.

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