Job Sharing for Teachers

Pros and cons of splitting an employment contract

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Job sharing refers to the practice of two teachers sharing an employment contract. The contract split can vary (60/40, 50/50, etc.), but the arrangement allows two teachers to share the contract's benefits, vacation days, hours, and responsibilities. Some school districts do not allow job sharing, but even in ones that do, the interested teachers often must partner and come up with an agreement on their own to present to administrators for approval and formalization.

Who Job Shares?

Teachers returning from maternity leave may pursue job sharing to ease back into a full schedule. Others, such as teachers who want to simultaneously pursue a master's degree, teachers with disabilities or recovering from illness, and teachers nearing retirement or caring for elderly parents, may also find the option of a part-time position appealing. Some school districts promote job sharing in an effort to attract qualified teachers who would otherwise choose not to work.

Why Job Share?

Teachers may pursue job sharing as a means to teach on a part-time basis when no part-time contracts exist. Students can benefit from the exposure to different teaching styles and the enthusiasm of two fresh, energized educators. Most teaching partners split the week by days although some work all five days, with one teacher in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Job-sharing teachers may both attend field trips, holiday programs, parent-teacher conferences, and other special events.

Job-sharing teachers must maintain clear and constant communication and exercise extreme cooperation, sometimes with a partner who operates with a different teaching style and possesses different educational philosophies. However, when a job sharing situation works well, it can be quite beneficial for the teachers, the school administration, and even the students and their parents.

Consider the pros and cons of job sharing before you pursue an agreement with another teacher.

Pros to Job Sharing:

  • The flexibility to work part-time
  • The advantage of a schedule conducive to child care and family life
  • The accrual of years-of-service credits (toward retirement benefits) that would otherwise be lost (for example, upon resignation)
  • The opportunity to work cooperatively with a chosen colleague
  • The option to split curriculum by expertise
  • The benefits of a "two heads are better than one" problem-solving approach
  • The convenience of a built-in substitute teacher

Cons to Job Sharing:

  • Decreased benefits (medical, retirement, and other)
  • Dependence on someone else for job security
  • Extra time (without extra pay) required to coordinate with a partner
  • Less control over classroom setup and environment
  • Potential for personality conflicts with teaching partner
  • Potential student discipline problems without consistent classroom expectations
  • Effort required to present a unified front to students and parents
  • Likelihood for important details to fall through the cracks if communication falters
  • Possible parental confusion about which teacher to contact with concerns

Job sharing won't work for everyone. It's important to discuss the details, agree on every aspect of the arrangement, and weigh the pros and cons before signing a job-sharing contract.

Edited By: Janelle Cox

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Your Citation
Lewis, Beth. "Job Sharing for Teachers." ThoughtCo, Jul. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/job-sharing-pros-and-cons-2081950. Lewis, Beth. (2017, July 9). Job Sharing for Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/job-sharing-pros-and-cons-2081950 Lewis, Beth. "Job Sharing for Teachers." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/job-sharing-pros-and-cons-2081950 (accessed May 25, 2018).