This is part two of our part time teaching series – find part one here.
Working part time is an incredible privilege, but when you’re a teacher working part time and therefore job-sharing it’s really not as simple as just not going to work a couple of days a week.
Because of the nature of our education system, you can’t really just leave work at work and have those ‘days off’ as completely ‘off’.
I’ve had so many people think that me working part time must be an absolutely wonderous thing. And in part it truly is – getting to spend some extra time with my kids while they’re young is fantastic, and I’m privileged enough to be in a financial position where I am able to work part time and still benefit. For a variety of reasons, largely financial, many are never able to do the same.
But. Working part time as a teacher is no walk in the park. Job sharing as a teacher is no walk in the park. There’s a fine line that needs to be walked very carefully to ensure the students aren’t disadvantaged by the situation, and also that neither of the co-workers are disadvantaged either.
I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of someone job-sharing with another teacher who just doesn’t pull their weight. The teachers who are planning the entire week worth of lessons, even though someone else is teaching them on a regular and consistent basis and therefore should be planning their lessons themselves.
I’ve been lucky enough this year to job-share with a colleague who definitely pulls his weight (more than, a lot of the time!). We have both really enjoyed our time job-sharing, but it hasn’t always been super smooth sailing.
I’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of working part time as a teacher. The interesting thing about this list is that many of the pros could be swapped into the cons list, and vice versa. They are also just possibilities – the pros may not work out that way, and the cons may not ever actually happen.
Also please note that this is in regards to teaching part time in high school – I imagine it might look different for someone teaching part time in a primary school.
If you are deciding whether or not to teach part time, I hope this list gives you some guidance. You’ll have to decide for yourself where your priorities are, but this list may give you some clarity when you see it all laid out for you by someone who has been there.
Pros of Teaching Part Time
- Not having to go into work on your days off
- Not having to commute on those days off
- More time to spend with your children or other family members
- Less need for childcare, and the associated costs
- Ability to do things on a weekday instead of weekend
- More time to dedicate to other commitments
- Reduced marking load (assuming it is divided between you and your teaching partner)
- Shared responsibility of student welfare
- Shared responsibility of planning
- Shared responsibility of parent interaction, e.g. parent teacher meetings
- More mental capacity for things outside of school
- More emotional capacity for things outside of school
- Feeling less burnt out
- Being better able to disconnect
- Less exposure to unpleasant students and staff
- Less playground duty
Cons of Teaching Part Time
- Still having to plan for the lessons you aren’t there
- Not truly knowing what was covered in the lessons you don’t teach
- Inconsistent behaviour management
- Less opportunity to build rapport and relationships with students and colleagues
- Less collegial interactions, which can result in missed important information that happens during incidental discussions
- Less income
- Missed meetings and professional development, resulting in more time spent catching up
- Not keeping on top of your emails and notifications daily
- Increased feelings of disconnect with the school, colleagues, and/or profession overall
- Less opportunities for taking on extra responsibilities
- Delays in career advancement
- Taking time off for illness etc. has more of an impact since you are there less days to begin with
- Having to share a desk and/or room, where you may not have needed to previously
- Being views as ‘less than’ by colleagues and leadership teams
- Being viewed as a burden
- Feelings of resentment from colleagues, especially if you refuse extra responsibilities that they now have to shoulder
For those who have worked part time as a teacher, what would you add to the list?