TAFE: How much can you be expected to do?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 3, 11 May 2020, page no. 18
The COVID-19 crisis has pushed many teaching staff into circumstances which are new and challenging. For most vocational educators, online flexible or distance delivery is one of these spaces.
It is not only the task of rendering what is primarily practical subject matter into a media better suited for theory delivery. It is coming to grips with new technologies and a potentially more fluid interaction with the student.
What degree of workload is appropriate when working with these alternate delivery modes?
The question of non-face-to-face delivery is complex. To a degree, working via video is similar to face-to-face, but the preparation required is reported to be in excess of that required for face-to-face.
The TAFE award talks about delivery which is not compatible with traditional modes of delivery:
15. Hours of duty
15.1 Ordinary hours of duty - educators
(h) A teacher/leading vocational teacher involved in flexible learning, work-based delivery, workplace supervision, workplace assessment, other non-traditional delivery or recognition of prior learning, who undertakes hours that are not compatible with traditional modes of classroom delivery, will be timetabled so as not to exceed 32 programmed hours per week. Any flexible delivery in addition to 32 programmed hours will be treated as overtime.
The CQUniversity certified agreement mirrors this wording.
The TAFE certified agreement states that all the duties of an educator must be taken into account when creating a timetable.
27.3 Delivery timetable
(a) A delivery timetable that aligns to the yearly plan will be developed for each educator in a teaching team.
(b) The timetable will be developed through negotiation between the teaching team and the manager to allocate programmed time prior to the commencement of delivery.
(c) The timetable will include reasonable hours each week, with consideration to all duties including those other than teaching for which an educator is responsible.
The CQU certified agreement addresses the allocation of individual workload in clause 16.7.1 at VII, with sub clause (d) stating that among other things being taken into account, the "reasonableness of the total workload for each VET educator is assessed by ensuring that the required duties take no more than five days.”
- So in determining what is an appropriate non-traditional workload, the following questions arise:
- Is the delivery activity compatible with traditional modes of delivery?
What are the associated duties in the context of all the duties of the educator?
If the contact duties are compatible with traditional delivery, the 32-hour threshold will not apply in either CQU or TAFE Qld. If not under both certified agreements, the individual timetable and the workload needs to be directed to 32 hours of overall work.
So is there a requirement to deliver 21 hours per week in TAFE or 22 in CQU?
No. Not even in a mode which is compatible with traditional delivery. These two numbers represent the thresholds for overtime. They represent the maximum hours of delivery – this threshold must be passed to attract overtime, but the non-contact time hours must still be completed and appear in the timetable.
The other threshold for overtime is the 32 hours.
So how much work can you be asked to do in a non-traditional mode of delivery?
32 hours of work.
That is what your overall workload must be directed to. You have an obligation to use the remaining time with the reasonable exercise of your discretion.