A CALL for teachers to work a 38-hour week and have less holidays like “the rest of the economy” has sparked uproar.
Liberal MP Andrew Laming reportedly made the comments to Fairfax Media while discussing Gonski 2.0.
“Teaching needs to operate like other jobs, with the same hours, days and weeks as the rest of the economy, rather than cluttered school hours where there is little beyond the face-to-face time,” Mr Laming told Fairfax.
When commenting on the hours teachers undertake prep work and marking from home he said:
“There is just no evidence that the work they are doing at home makes any difference, and there’s no evidence that what they do at home is actually where you’d want a teacher focusing their efforts.”
The comments sparked the outrage of educators and commentators who pointed out the high rate of pay politicians receive for sitting just 64 days in parliament.
Education consultant Alan Wright tweeted: “If teachers worked 38 hours per week as suggested by Andrew Laming, the education system would crumble into a chaotic mess within a week.”
Dr Laming was later forced to clarify his comments, saying they had been misrepresented, and he offered his own solutions:
“First we must offer teachers the chance to go home like the rest of us and switch off.
“Second, the bulk of lesson planning needs to shift out of term time, even if teachers are on-site over school holidays. That is when the pupil-free days should occur.
“Third, I want principals to change culture tomorrow and be given a slice of the Gonski resources to fund the extra hours that definitively improve student outcomes.
“Fourth, we need an explicit focus on the children that do not gain a year of learning in a calendar year, and not dump the responsibility solely on classroom teachers who are forced to pass the parcel.
“Finally, states and territories must replace annual incremental pay rises with a genuine teacher-designed merit-based model rewarding sub-specialisation and further education. It should include enough time for professional learning communities to engage in formative evaluation. To avoid losing our best teachers, a pay rise after the age of 30 must be possible.”