Removing unnecessary workload for teachers and leaders at school is essential in allowing them to focus on teaching and self-development, as well as running the school community effectively.
It is often that teachers are seen to leave the profession due to work-life balance, which is becoming an increasingly bigger issue for school communities. Therefore, it is important that schools consider teacher feedback and work progressively to alter the workload and/or manage it in order to retain their staff.
Below are a few suggestions on how to address the problem:
School workload surveys
Get teachers of the school community to complete a survey with questions relating to workload, whether it be their opinion on the amount of workload they expect to how to manage the workload when it is peak time in the school year, such as marking. This will help the leader/s of the school to better understand staff needs, and also to assist them in managing their own workload.
Set reasonable expectations
Decide what is reasonable for teachers to work each day. This may mean reviewing tasks to cut out any unnecessary ones or reducing the frequency of some tasks so that what is expected of teachers is deliverable within normal working hours, or school hours. Monitoring is essential to assess whether this decision remains effective in the long run, and still achieves the objectives of the school community and fulfils the expectations.
Take the admin out of lessons
Planning for lessons may not always be effective for teachers, it may not be about lengthy documents to prove you are doing your job correctly, mindset can produce an effective lesson minus all the paperwork, planning and a huge amount of time dedicated to each activity.
Quality over quantity
Emma Kell, author of “How to Survive in Teaching” states, “Never spend longer planning an activity than it will take to deliver”. For busy teachers and school leaders, quality of work should be more of a primary focus as opposed to quantity, how much work someone can complete in one school day or how many activities a teacher can give a class based on one subject or how many staff meetings you can fit into one week. Work that is repetitive can feel pointless and staff may lose interest. It is important to keep tasks to a realistic minimum to allow staff to work effectively and produce good work.
Logging the hours spent on work outside of school hours or the classroom may be effective in seeing what tasks you spend most of your time on, which can be altered to generate a more managed timetable if necessary.