Stephen Cavadino is a maths teacher (and fanatic) from Leeds. He is a member of the Labour party. You can read of his musings on maths, teaching and life at cavmaths.wordpress.com . When he isn’t teaching; writing about, or doing maths he spends the majority of his time with his family, watching rugby (both codes) and playing guitar.
So, this went viral this week. The latest in a long line of post that surely impacts on the already crisis hit recruitment of new staff into the profession. These articles are seemingly written by people eager to combat the myth of lazy teachers working 9-3, but I don’t think that this myth exists anymore. Certainly no one I know actually believes it, and even if they did it wouldn’t matter. I know I don’t only work 6 hours a day, and so do those closest to me, who cares what others think.
I worry for the author of the article, if this truly is their day then I can see a burn-out happening for them in the very near future. I will admit, a fee of the things rang true, but if your day truly contains all of these elements everyday then you need to stop putting insurmountable pressure on yourself.
I work long hours, but I certainly don’t work from 7am to 11pm every day. I would never get time to see my family if I did, I would miss seeing my daughter growing up. That’s 15 hours a day. 75 hours a week. That’s an unsustainable life. If you have found it is actually your life you need to take stock of what you’re doing. You need to take a breathe and reflect. You need to work out how you can do what you’re doing more efficiently otherwise you’ll cripple yourself. And if the weight of this pressure is coming from external places, then you may need to look for a new school. If you intend to make a career in this you may be looking at 50 years until retirement. And no one can work 75 hour weeks for 50 years.
I doubt that anyone actually does encounter all of these issues in a single day, most of us will have encountered most of them, at some point in our teaching lives, but to frame them as a daily occurrence is a worryingly dangerous thing to do at a time where we cannot recruit enough teachers onto our school. How many fine you minds have read this viral article and switched away from thoughts of the profession? I know at least one of my Year 11s and at least one of my Year 13s who have been put off.
The negativity needs to stop. I love my job, I basically get to talk about the beauty of mathematics all day long, a lot of the time with people really keen on the subject. I am alway pleased when students go on to study it at higher education. It would be a shame if others missed out on such a great job because of articles like this, and the Guardian’s – often negative – Secret Teacher.