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Teachers working many hours each week through the holidays as lesson planning dominates their time

A majority of teachers are continuing to work for several hours each week during the summer holidays in contrast to popular perception, a new survey from education giant Tes has shown.

61% of teachers who responded to the survey admitted spending 7 hours or more per week working during the summer break, while more than 1 in 8 said they worked more than 21 hours a week. While these figures won’t surprise teachers, they do show that the popular perception of teachers ‘on holiday’ through the summer is a myth.

By far the most common activity keeping teachers busy during the holidays is lesson planning, with 40% of survey respondents saying they spent most time doing this.

But teachers do miss the day to day of the classroom: 37% of respondents say the thing they missed most during the holidays is interacting with pupils.

The survey also asked respondents for a piece of advice for teachers preparing for back to school. Many of the responses encouraged teachers to get proper rest and look after their own mental health ahead of the busy first few weeks of term.

One teacher responded:

“Clear the decks during the first week of the holiday so you can unwind sufficiently to enjoy your break. Remember ‘holiday’ is the wrong word to use. During the last week of the break start to prepare yourself for the return so you’re not overwhelmed.”

While another said:

“Batch-make similar resources e.g. sets of tests, mind map templates, a particular structure for a worksheet, that you can use throughout the year. It is quicker and more effective to make the same style resources in one go and will also lead to more consistency.”

Meanwhile another respondent said:

“Get everything up together before term starts so that you can focus completely on the pupils once they return – settling them in, establishing a happy working atmosphere in your class and building the trust of their parents.”

Over 1,000 teachers responded to the survey on tes.com, ahead of the back to school rush beginning. More than 3 quarters of a million UK teachers visited the Tes Resources platform every week during the back to school period last year, as educators spent their own time planning lessons. The resources platform contains over 900,000 teacher-made resources to help teachers succeed in the classroom.

Stephanie Burke, Head of Resources at Tes said:

“This survey shows that teachers put in hours of their own time during the holidays, to plan lessons and prepare for teaching. This won’t surprise those who work in schools, who care so passionately about children’s education.

“At Tes, we are here to support teachers, with our resources platform, news service and a whole range of CPD opportunities. We know how hard teachers work and we want to empower you as you prepare to go back to school.”

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