An ice-cold bucket for the #workloadchallenge

I know a teacher.  You’ll know her too, or someone very similar to her. She works hard; she does not have her work in balance with her life; she loves her job; she is bloody good at it. Know the one? Apparently the DfE doesn’t,  or they wouldn’t be insulting her with their disingenuous promises on workload.
How best to describe this teacher? In her 3rd year of teaching, she has no paid responsibilities beyond her classroom, she is not on UPR, she is mainscale in old money. As such, she teaches 25 of 30 lessons across Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. She has a form whom she cares for as individuals,  calling their mums, addressing their worries. She had parents’ evening last week, one of the 6 she will attend this year. She has a ‘data entry window’ to meet by Thursday – as she does every half term for every class she teaches. I’ve lost count of the number of GCSE revision sessions she helps run each week (it would be more, but for the staff development time that’s also on the school calendar. ) Speaking of which, she volunteers to lead development for other colleagues,  and if there is a whole-school drive to improve differentiation,  or literacy, or AfL… there she is at the vanguard of it. Naturally she is also a student teacher mentor. If I haven’t managed to plan my lesson properly, I can always look on the shared drive; there I will find a resource,  replete with lesson plan.
As I say,  I reckon she loves her job. I do wonder what she must have made of Nicky Morgan’s pre-election grab for the teacher vote. I suppose she will be relieved that there will be no in-term announcements of further curriculum change (and think to herself,  Was it not this very government that have been doing just that? ) She might also be surprised to receive sympathy from an Education department that scrapped the list of admin tasks that teachers could not be obliged to undertake. No more sudden moving of the Ofsted goalposts,  she hears them say. They, who have rewritten the handbook each year they have been in office. She would quite like to get on with planning the new A level syllabus,  but she is as we speak teaching the revised GCSE spec, which itself has only one year to run. The new National Curriculum is a bit of a bugger an’ all, but at least she can reinvent the assessment regime as she goes along.
Have you met this friend of mine? You might recognise her by the slightly frazzled grin she gives you when you ask her if she’s had a nice weekend. There you go: my belated recommendation to the Department. Give my colleagues their weekends back.

6 thoughts on “An ice-cold bucket for the #workloadchallenge

  1. I am not sure whether to be proud or horrified! However, your blog confirms everything I knew already. I only have to listen to my daughter and her partner. I only have to look at how tired she gets and how difficult it is to spend quality time with her. P.S. You forgot to mention the GCSE marking she will be doing again this year in her spare time!!

    • It’s true, there are many further aspects of the job I could have mentioned, such as exam marking. For some, as they gain more experience, they learn to make choices which improve their work-life balance. But others quit before they ever get there. Some highly dedicated colleagues leave the classroom never to return.

    • Thanks for the comment. I had not appreciated until today that you were the mother of the subject of my blog! She and her partner indeed work exceptionally hard. I am the very lucky recipient of their guidance and – I shamefully admit – am also largely to blame for much of the extra stuff they do in terms of leading development of others. I am in awe of them both and you should be proud, as of course you are.

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