Pam Smith's diary: work hours, 12; lunch hour, none: stress, v. bad

May 27, 2005

Pam Smith, a senior lecturer in the School of Health at Wolverhampton University, is contracted to teach a maximum of 550 hours a year, or 18 hours a week.

But on occasions, she has been known to put in a 12-hour day. This is her diary for one particularly bad day last week.

08.00
Leave house. "I'm lucky - I live about half an hour away from university if the traffic is good. But I have to drop my ten-year-old daughter Emma off at her grandparents' on the way" so they can take her to school.

09.00
Arrive at work to check emails and prepare for the first meeting of the day, with barely time for a cup of tea

09.30
Two-hour meeting of subject leaders in the school of health to discuss course administration.

11.30
Straight into another two-hour meeting to discuss curriculum, modules and lesson content.

13.30
No time for lunch. Lesson preparation.

15.00
Back-to-back meetings with students for two hours. Dr Smith has about 30 students personally assigned to her and has to respond to queries from a further 100 or so students.

17.00
Lectures for three hours.

20.00
Finish lectures and head home.

20.30
Home, with just enough time for an hour with Emma before her bedtime - and beforeDr Smith begins an evening'smarking.

In response to Pam Smith's concerns, Geoff Hurd, Wolverhampton's pro vice-chancellor, said:

"The university is fully implementing the national contract. We take staff workload very seriously and carefully follow a risk-assessment policy in relation to this."

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