Shhh! Don't tell the teachers (those people who are meant to have good holidays). I've worked it out.
A fulltime Monday to Friday worker, who has the weekend free, has as many days off in a year as a teacher.
Consider the Monday to Friday worker. That person gets four weeks annual leave (20 days), more than two weeks of statutory holidays (11 days), plus free weekends (104 days). That's 135 non-work days in a year. Subtracting from 365 gives a total of 230 days of work annually.
When the school is open in term time, the teacher works a total of 194 days each year with children.
During the four end-of-term breaks (sometimes called "holidays") teachers do schoolwork, including compulsory professional development days.
The number of these work days varies, generally between two and six days each break. Let's say on average it is four days each school holiday. That makes 16 days of "holiday"
work each year.
Then there is the weekend work. That, too, varies but generally on average four hours each term weekend would be very common. That makes approximately 20 days equivalent (40 weeks x half day).
Now adding up the three totals comes to 230 days of work. Individual teachers may work slightly more or less, but the point is that the number of teacher workdays is practically the same as the number worked by the weekday employee.
Don't forget we are not even considering the extra hours teachers put in at night at the end of their teaching day. It is only the number of work days, or their equivalent, that is being counted.
It was not always like this. Years ago the non-teaching workforce had only three weeks of annual leave and teachers did not have as many compulsory call-back days in their holidays.
So there was a small difference in the number of working days in favour of teachers. Also, back then teaching was arguably a little less demanding so possibly required a little less time when compared to today.
This writer has experienced both situations. After teaching for 25 years in primary, secondary and tertiary areas, I left teaching 11 years ago and joined the Monday to Friday workforce.
The change has been dramatic. Free evenings and the two-day holiday every week (otherwise known as a weekend!) have completely changed the work/life balance.
Incidentally, many statutory holidays now seem, to this non-teacher, to be extra holidays, not doubled up within the school holiday period like Easter, Christmas and New Year are.
So if you hear someone positively or negatively mentioning how good teachers' holidays are, please quietly correct them.
Teacher holidays are just as good as the holidays of all fulltime weekday workers.
Keep this in mind when next hearing of politicians or members of our community who wish to shorten school holidays "to give parents a break".
The patience and goodwill of teachers are already overstretched. Such comments and actions will only exacerbate the teacher shortage.
*Ross Corbett is a former teacher with 25 years' experience in primary, secondary and tertiary areas.