Allow us to teach at our best

Welcome back after a well earned break (even though I know that you would have spent several days preparing for this term). The dispute with the employers has ebbed and flowed over the last couple of weeks. It is because of our strength and collegiality that we did not give in to reduced working conditions for members.

One of the sticking points was the 30-minute uninterrupted lunch break. It seems that several schools have different arrangements which means there is no 30-minute break due to specific local conditions. Speaking with colleagues across many schools it is the one thing that directly impacts on their working day every day.

This time is the release valve in a busy day. I know that we may eat our lunch at our desk while marking, prepping the afternoon lessons and dealing with the multiple tasks that need our attention, but that is our decision.

Sometimes we even have time to go to the bathroom. Sometimes we get to go to the staff room for adult conversation. This minimum of a 30-minute break allows for down time, ‘brain space’, for our own mental health and wellbeing and to allow us to be the best teacher for our students after lunch.

Bernadette Baker
Vice President, Systemic Schools