Half of teachers’ work outside the classroom

TEACHERS are spending more than half their working time in activities outside the classroom, with average working weeks of up to 46 hours, a survey has found.

Although a full-time, second-level teacher is contracted to spend 22 hours teaching, the research for the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) found that they spend an average of 24 hours a week working outside timetabled teaching hours.

More than four in every five of the 442 teachers who took part in the survey reported that their administrative duties have increased in the last five years and almost three-quarters felt that supporting students with special needs had increased their workload. Almost half of those aged under 35 and 45% of those aged 35 to 44 are involved in extracurricular sports activities, according to the findings of the survey by research company Behaviour & Attitudes.

TUI general secretary Peter MacMenamin said the findings come as no surprise, as the profession is demoralised by the loss of 1,200 jobs at second level as a result of education cutbacks.

“Pay has been reduced by up to 20% when the pension levy, pay cut and non-payment of an agreed increase are factored in. Resources to schools have been cut, promotional opportunities have been eliminated by a block on appointments, while a marked increase in disruption problems as a result of a rapidly changing social climate means teachers are working harder than ever,” he said.

“More and more time is taken from the core roles of teaching and learning due to ever-expanding bureaucratic burdens, placing the quality of the learning experience for students at risk. We have seen this week that private business interests are being bailed out while our young people and those with special needs aer being sacrificed,” Mr MacMenamin said.

More than 80% of teachers indicated that discipline problems now take up considerable time.

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