4th April 2016: Managing workload

Talk to any teacher and they will tell you that managing workload is an absolute nightmare. The Times Education Supplement has just published the results of a survey they conducted of 13,000 teachers, revealing that a whopping 74% of teachers have seriously considered leaving the profession.

It is not just planning and marking, though when you work in a school that expects plans to be sent through and inspected by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) on a weekly basis, as well as marking every piece of work every single day, the stress of getting it right soon mounts up. Add in weekly meetings, reports, having decent displays, calling parents- the list is endless- and the average teacher needs a time machine to not only fit in all of their work, but to ensure that they also have a life- and not just one where your children see you buying a bottle of wine in the supermarket.

A consultant in the USA, Angela Watson, has created a year-long online course entitled The 40 hour week, where she dishes out resources, time ‘hacks’ and gives support to those who sign up. She believes that it is entirely possible to shave time off every week and still get everything done. Most people would say that there is no way it is plausible and yet over 3000 teachers have signed up so that the see-saw of work to life balance slowly is becoming more equal.

How do we manage it? I have had jobs where I am in school by 6.20am and leave at 8pm, believing that the lack of work I take home means I have some semblance of balance in my life. What a load of rubbish! I ran myself into the ground. I was constantly emotional and I never saw my family or friends. All in the name of being a good teacher.

As senior leaders are put under more pressure, more scrutiny those of us ‘on the ground’ suffer the same mounting burden that this career brings. At this point, the children that we entered the profession for cease to be as important as the numbers they represent. I had members of my team hoping that the persistent non-attender could be taken off their class list, just so their overall figures looked better, and yet these were the same teachers going out of their way to call home, send children work- do whatever they could to make sure that child was successful.

Where- and when- will it stop? The government tell us they are committed to making improvements for the teaching profession, but as each day passes, sometimes like Groundhog day, the wait feels like an eternity.

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