Ex-teachers UK

What Else Can You Do? – Go Part-Time

I didn’t consider teaching part-time as an option when I was thinking of leaving teaching, but I know some teachers who work part-time 2, 3 or 4 days a week and it seems to work for them. However, I am also aware of those who work Monday to Thursday and have Friday off… to catch up with marking!

Here are two comments from the Thinking of Leaving Teaching Facebook page about going part-time, both at 0.6FTE, where it worked for one but not the other:

Lisa’s Story

“I left headship and am now working as 0.6fte class teacher. So much happier! It’s amazing how you can reduce spending if you need to: we eat out far less, don’t buy expensive branded clothing anymore, drive older cars and only buy what you need rather than want. It’s all about prioritising what is right for you. We still do lots of travelling cos that’s what’s important to us. Good luck!”

Anne’s Story

“I work part time – 0.6 – and it is not working for me. This is why I am retiring this summer (among other reasons).

We have split classes at my school so although I only have 60% contact time, with the split classes I have almost as many classes as the full time staff. I have 8 classes, they have 9/10. I just have fewer lessons. But two of those classes are single A level lessons. I haven’t taught A level for years and with one class am teaching a new course I have never taught – A Level Lang/Lit – so it has involved me in many hours of prep time for just that one lesson a week. Same for the other A level Literature class where I am teaching material I have never taught before. What pushed me over the edge was being told I would be taking both classes forward next year for 4/5 lessons a fortnight, meaning mountains of prep time as I now have to get to know the whole syllabus for each.

The split timetable means I still have to mark 8 assessments every half term (the full timers do 9/10), still have to go to as many parents evenings as full time staff, still have to respond to as many emails, as many parental contacts, internal queries about students etc. And I’m finding it impossible to really get to know students who I only see 3 times in a fortnight. I still have to contribute 100% to Dept planning and moderation. Meetings are fewer, because I don’t attend them on my days off, but I don’t know whether I do 0.6 meetings as there is no record.

I have learnt that if you go part time you need to demand not just part time contact but part time everything else too. You must insist on no more than the proportionate number of actual classes. Try to avoid split classes. You should also insist that you get a proper contract, making very clear what hours you are expected to attend from the directed time budget. The NUT (now NEU) set this out in the appendices to their Guidance on Part Time Working. They show what a PT contract should look like. This way, you do get a fair proportion of all hours and you don’t get shafted, as I was, when a Head teacher decides to change the timetable so that you end up losing your half days by having an earlier lunch and making Period 4 after lunch. You should also insist that Heads of Dept allow for your PT status when allocating jobs like planning within the Department so that you only do your proportion.

None of the above was done for me so I feel like I am cramming 5 days work into three. I nearly always work at home on my days off.

Sorry for the long post, but I really think anyone applying for part time teaching should be very careful and get a clear agreement about what is entailed so that they don’t get shafted like I have been this year. Good luck to you.”

Anne also commented on the National Education Union “Part time teachers’ pay and conditions” link saying, “I prefer the NUT document below because the Appendix at the end shows how PT pay should be calculated proportionately and it shows exactly how many hours you are expected to attend for non-teaching duties. Clearly you still need to discuss with your line manager when these hours occur (eg: which Dept meetings you attend and which you can miss). Mine wasn’t done this way.”