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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)?


SilverApples Thu 14-Nov-13 22:08:07

'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 '

I'd like to see a lot more teaching of specific areas by specialists in primary.

Giveatossagain Thu 14-Nov-13 22:08:33 today he came home at 9pm after a school open evening that was from 6-8 (he stopped to buy booze at Aldi on way home), ate supper with TV on and checking school emails on his iphone and is now (10pm) back in his study marking and likely will be til sometime after midnight.

He did pick up some essentials in Aldi though and did help me hang out some of the washload.

SilverApples Thu 14-Nov-13 22:13:19

The children are supposed to read and respond to teachers' comments in their books and use the teaching points and whatnot to inform and improve their next piece. Which they can't do if the work hasn't been marked.
So I mark a piece of Y6 writing against the SC, pick out strengths and weaknesses, grammar, spelling and content and write a comment.
On every piece of work, or my marking is RI.

Tinlegs Thu 14-Nov-13 22:33:38

Really? Well, hats off to you if you can watch a film and mark at the same time. I think that it requires concentration but then I am teaching High School and some very able pupils who need their work to be given careful thought. I once saw a Geography teacher marking without paying it much attention but I can't read, think and watch telly at the same time and do the work justice.

SilverApples Thu 14-Nov-13 23:33:51

Whose a smug and sarky wench then! grin
I don't watch unfamiliar films, it's more like a need for white noise as I have grown up and worked in a number of challenging and very noisy environments. Quiet is too loud for me.
But then, I'm only a humble primary teacher, I mark with lots and lots and lots of ticks in green crayon and then I put multicoloured stickers on it.

SilverApples Thu 14-Nov-13 23:36:20

Whose blush


Cor, look at that, a grammatical error. I must be very irritated by your blinkered view, so it's time for me to hide the thread and do some colouring in.

pippitysqueakity Thu 14-Nov-13 23:59:55

I am the same Silver, need external noise to drown out the internal so I can concentrate. Cannot mark without t.v. or radio.

(Misses point of thread...)

roughtyping Fri 15-Nov-13 07:23:08

I also mark with music on. But again, 'just' a primary teacher.

OP, those are insane hours. Honestly insane. How's he kept going for 19 YEARS at that pace??

BrianButterfield Fri 15-Nov-13 07:36:22

I am a secondary English teacher - I consider myself a thorough marker and give full written feedback on work. It's something I think I do well and I don't being work home very often!

I get in at 8 so I can do 45 mins converted effort before lessons start, and at heavy marking times I make the most of every minute - classes do ten minutes silent reading at the start of lessons so I can do some then, or to get books marked I try and do them walking round the classroom.

I am a fast reader which helps, and I don't knock myself out making new resources where not needed (although I do actually renew stuff very regularly, I always work from things that have already been made if possible. With ten years' experience and 15 colleagues in the department it's just plain silly to insist on making everything yourself from scratch every time).

By doing all this the only time I need to work from home is when I have a backlog of assessment work to mark, and that's easily-ish done in one go given a couple of hours. Planning is largely done in my head, by which I mean I will sit down in advance and sketch out skeleton plans for a week or few days in my pkanner, then gradually mull them over on my way to work, during breaks etc. An experienced teacher shouldn't really need to sit 'planning' like an NQT would.

My DH is also a teacher with responsibility and has recently moved schools. He does have some work to do at home but still nowhere near the hours you're talking - a couple of hours a couple of nights a week and one weekend morning or after noon usually.

I'm not lazy but I strongly believe in the motto "work smarter, not harder".

Giveatossagain Fri 15-Nov-13 09:05:21

I lost it a bit this morning and asked him why he was working so hard - turns out he has insted/insight (internal ousted type thing next week). He could have told me rather than just buggering off to his study in a huff.

Sadly I know that this will just one storm before the next crisis (end of term deadlines, hobby causing him to get behind for a bit, catching up over Xmas etc) sigh. H

Tinlegs Fri 15-Nov-13 10:04:36

I think that BrianButterfield has the same attitude as me. I can't work and do something else (tv, or music) because I need to give it 100%. However, that means that it is done quickly and efficiently. I also use every minute I get in every lesson to do marking. I hand out homework and expect it in at times that mean I endeavour not to have too much to do on one day. I do not make up new materials, unless absolutely necessary although this year has been a real bastard in Scotland (entirely new curriculum with some bits the same but just different enough, no guidance from the exam board etc) so it has been harder.

I work in a tiny school so my classes are small, which helps. I think working as part of a group of teachers across several schools also helps. We share resources (ask him if he has discovered which is fantastic for English resources).

Also, we had an internal inspection last week (Council) and it was a strain but I have a husband and children and they have to come first.

Not sure that I was being smug, or sarky. I can't mark except in peace and quiet unless it is something fairly easy and I don't feel I would be doing any work justice if I did anything other than give it my full attention. Maybe younger folk are more used to working with noise. Maybe I am just not great at multi tasking. Maybe also it is because I teach Advanced Higher where 70% of their output (think dissertation / creative folio) is dictated by pupils so I am constantly having to mark things that I haven't taught them, but they have studied themselves. I wasn't belittling anyone (apologies if it read like that) but in the context of the thread I was pointing out that he is not necessarily working hard if he is also watching films or on the internet.

(This thread is about a distressed OP not about primary v secondary).

I think he is using the marking / job as an excuse. It also sounds as if he is struggling generally and might be slower, or less engaged with family life as a way of trying to avoid problems.

Do you think he has sensed your worries / anger and is trying to avoid them by burying his head in the sand / marking.

noblegiraffe Fri 15-Nov-13 13:47:33

Workload depends heavily on the school. Some schools have insane requirements of their teachers re marking.

It's a bit off that he has time for his hobbies of an evening but not for his wife.

CaptainTripps Fri 15-Nov-13 15:00:27

My husband is a teacher. He says you have to learn which corners to cut and how to play the 'game' in an ever-changing landscape. That's it.

It's only a job.

Seems like everyone knows (including the powers that be whoever they are) realise the job is not sustainable. But who the eff is doing anything about it?

Bonsoir Fri 15-Nov-13 15:03:23

It sounds as if your DH needs counselling to help him overcome his anxieties and mentoring to help him improve his efficiency. Preferably simultaneously.

soapboxqueen Fri 15-Nov-13 15:05:09

As others have said it depends very much on the school. Some schools have horrific planning and marking expectations which really are not manageable. It has nothing to do with being organised or not.

I think it would be better to find out what your dh's colleagues working time is like then you can decide if it is justifiable or not.

EvilTwins Fri 15-Nov-13 16:29:12

I teach secondary. DH gets cross with me for the amount of time I spend working. I do get a bit carried away though (love my job and get over-excited about planning) so could probably spend less time doing it.

Thing is, DH also has a job which involves lots of extra hours (and travel) so it's a case of swings and roundabouts.

Both of us prioritise family though, and whilst we may not spend all that much time together on weekday evenings, we do at the weekends.

OP, if this really is about the job, then I recommend:
1. Don't eat in front of the TV. Sit together and chat, and make that a habit.
2. Find something on TV that you both enjoy and make a point of watching it together - even if it's just one evening each week.

I'm not sure his workload is actually the issue though.

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Fri 15-Nov-13 18:43:00

I think it is a red herring that he is a teacher - there are many jobs with long hours and commutes, evening catch ups etc.... but it does sound as if he is using all this as an excuse OP.

Orangeanddemons Fri 15-Nov-13 19:37:06

Wow, my dh always knows when we have internal inspections. I get so stressed I have to offload all the time!

Alexandrite Fri 15-Nov-13 22:22:04

Why do you have to ferry him around to round up coursework from slack pupils?

Giveatossagain Fri 15-Nov-13 22:29:16

Gosh. Thanks for all the replies. Lots to think on.

I appreciate it is not just teaching - I work in IT and although I am part time because of Dc's many of my colleagues work evenings and weekends but they enjoy it and don't seem defeated and battered by it (as my DH does by teaching) and enjoy their jobs.

Thanks again.

Phineyj Thu 21-Nov-13 20:32:32

Okay, well that is the issue isn't it - 'feeling defeated and battered by it'.

I feel for you OP - it is no fun living (or working) with someone whose job makes them feel like this.

However, I am shock at driving to pupils' houses to pick up coursework!

MiaowTheCat Fri 22-Nov-13 08:32:04

I used to have to mark in school (had fuck all willpower if I took marking home and the box of books would just glare at me malevolently before going back to school after their little holiday) with headphones in... had a crappy open plan teaching area the cleaners tended to congregate in to chat and it was the only way to block out their discussion of Ethel down the road's varicose veins.

My ex used Ofsted looming and arriving (back when you got a nice long notice period to stress out about it) to have an affair while I was busy and distracted.

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Fri 22-Nov-13 18:38:18

I mark in school for the same reason - I get thought it more efficiently there, even tho' it means getting in earlier (prefer that to staying late).

Astr0naut Tue 26-Nov-13 20:33:23

It definitely depends on the school - although the teaching climate doesn't help.

About 5 years ago, I pretty much had it cracked. Worked a lot, but was staring to have a life outside school too.

Now I'm .8 after having had my kids, and even h has noticed that I'm working more than ever - even though, by necessity, I work a damn sight smarter than I used to.

Loonytoonie Sat 30-Nov-13 23:17:11

I'm secondary, in a school which was failing last year. Our marking policy is bonkers and impossible to sustain when you teach a subject that's literacy-heavy, and when you have 15 full classes (28 is smallest class).

I work all hours. I cannot sleep so I mark. I'm marking all weekend and, in fact, I'm marking now. Ive only come onto MN to see this board and share the misery

My DH does not support me which is ironic since he's a Primary school teacher. I think this job could lead to seperation for us because I'm juggling motherhood with a man who does what he wants. And still I always play catch-up to the marking and prep. I could'nt have a hobby because there is no time in my life for one. No way. I have no fucking life. I''m a shit teacher', a shit wife and a shit Mum.

But I still think that your DH is using his schoolwork as an excuse to not engage. Sorry OP.

And sorry for using your thread as a chance to offload.

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