Negotiating workload

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YankeeFromNYC
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Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:19 am

Negotiating workload

Post by YankeeFromNYC »

I was hoping for some guidance. I was recently offered a teaching position at a well-known "chain." They want me to teach 30 hours a week with 5 different preps, three of which are outside of my area of expertise.

This is an onerous workload that does not leave much time during the day to lesson plan, grade, etc. I'd like to negotiate better terms. How might I approach this?
sciteach
Posts: 236
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:49 am

Re: Negotiating workload

Post by sciteach »

It really depends on the school and country. But remember - working overseas normally does not allow for as much negotiation as you might get in the states.
PsyGuy
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Location: Northern Europe

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Post by PsyGuy »

What do you want to negotiate down to?

::sigh::

Likely the best you can do is get some of the preps consolidated across the department. That's probably not going to amount to much more than maybe going from 5 preps to 4 preps. If youre looking at 20hrs and 2 preps (2 sections of DIP1 and 2 sections of DIP2) thats not very likely going to happen. The IS needs these courses taught and if they cant get you to do them then they need to hire someone else who can and then why hire you.
ISs as private/independent IS/DS dont generally have the same degree of limitations found in public/maintained DSs. There is a lot more flexibility in what assignments can be made. If you argue that these three preps are outside your area of expertise, all youre really saying is you cant do the job.
Instructional hours typically ranges from 15-30 hrs a week, the average is around 22. 30 is on the high end, and you would want to make sure your getting compensated for that time. Its not uncommon to find ITs with varying numbers of instructional hours, though most if not all ITs will have the same stipulation of contact hrs. (contact hrs. are those times your required to be on site and available).

Realistically, you can negotiate the hrs one of two ways: You may be able to get it down to 25 instructional hrs. for whatever coin they are offering, or you can negotiate for extra coin on the hrs. above 20 (or 22 or whatever you feel comfortable with). The IS likely needs what it needs, but they could be 'fattening the load' pushing for a high number of preps and instructional hrs they dont need but might need or can use, and if they can get them its to their advantage to get the highest obligation out of an IT as they can.
You can maybe push the preps down to 4. If your not qualified to teach 3 of these courses than anyone can teach them, meaning they can have someone else in the IS or in the future teach them, or they can spread them around among ITs so that one IT isnt doing so many of them, and that opens up a reasonable amount of the schedule for the IS to assign you courses that you are qualified to teach. Beyond that though pushing for even fewer preps an IS is more likely to just look for another candidate.

Incidentally, a UK IT wouldnt blink at 30 hrs. and 5 preps. That is more or less the norm. A DT with QTS and a degree in history wouldnt think anything of a prep load of AS, A2, GCSE, year 10, and year 9 world history.

If you have to negotiate over email and I recommend you do so you have a paper trail, as the leader/IS may not be able to or want to substantially modify the contract, the email may serve as an addendum to the contract. At the very least it provides documentation you can fall back on to support your position if later the IS forgets the agreement or claims a misunderstanding.
Just reply back in an email that you have reviewed the offer and its above your standard level of practice and that the most you can do is X hrs. and Y preps, or that the 30 hrs .and 5 preps is above your standard level of practice and the additional hrs. and preps would require an increase in your coin of Z based how ever many hrs. and preps you find reasonable. If you do this though you have to be prepared to walk or have the offer withdrawn. If you give any indication this isnt a hard line and youre just asking and they believe you will accept the 30 and 5 then they will just holdout until you relent.
expatscot
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Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:26 am

Re: Negotiating workload

Post by expatscot »

30 hours seems pretty high, even for a British school though - assuming a 6 period day of about 55 minutes each, that means you'd be teaching every single lesson! However if you're looking at 30 45-minute lessons, that would equate to 22.5 hours teaching which is frankly much more acceptable. You might want to check with the school about the lesson timing.

If it is a British school, you're not going to be able to reduce the number of 'preps' you have. The expectation in British schools is that you are willing and able to teach at all levels from Y7 to Y13 (6th to 12th grade in the US) and teachers who are unable / unwilling to do this can find this difficult to adjust to - to be absolutely honest, you won't get much sympathy from your colleagues if you complain about it. On a personal level, I actually enjoy the variation of teaching energetic Y7s and then near-adult Y13s, and the variety in content, rather than teaching the same thing repeatedly through the week (I get bored quite easily.)

In short - check the lesson lengths first. Then, if they are asking you to teach right through the school, think more about whether the school would actually be right for you - if like me you enjoy the challenge, then go for it, but if you prefer to be a 'master in depth' of one or two particular courses then think about whether you could bear this for a couple of years. Once you've worked that out, then you're in a better place to figure out what you want.
PsyGuy
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Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

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Post by PsyGuy »

@expatscot

The LW has already indicated they want both fewer hours and fewer preps, they are asking how to approach it.
The LW has already stated this is a "chain" IS as opposed to a BS of singular organization.

The LW stated 30 hours and my assumption is that they meant hours and it wasnt a euphemism for periods. Meaning the instructional hours comprised three quarters of a typical 40 hours of contact hours. This could easily be interpreted as teaching from commencement to dismissal every day.
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