A Guest Post by @danieleglin
You are not in this for the money. Teaching is the greatest vocation and an intensely human experience and should be fun, rewarding and life affirming for all involved, pupils AND teachers.
Yet, I do not understand why we make it so difficult for our colleagues and ourselves. Let’s face it; dinner party acquaintances rarely know how to respond to your confession that you are a teacher. “Poor you…” and “You must be daft – all that stress for such little money…” is what they want to say. “That’s very admirable – you’re a better man than I”, is what they actually say.
So I reckon there are 3 activities that you should do LESS of and 3 activities that you should do MORE of.
3. Relationship building
There are not enough teachers: recruitment is a constant struggle for state and independent schools and we do not seem to be able to retain teachers – recent statistics tell us that 4 in 10 give up after just twelve months. Several hundred Maths teaching jobs in the UK were not filled last academic year, and I am sure similar statistics exist for other subjects.
It is down to “the powers that be” to ensure that you strike the right balance with working habits, but there is much that you can do to help yourself. By the way, LESS does not mean worse. I endorse efficient and effective Marking, Reporting and Planning and there are ways in which we can all consider help make these three crucial activities ‘leaner and meaner’ and reduce anxiety and stress. This should free up your time and energy for the parts of the job (Learning, Sharing and Relationship Building) that make it the hugely enjoyable and rewarding career that it can and should be.
If we are to offer a world-class education system, our pupils need their teachers to be at their best as often as possible. I urge you to consider ways in which you can do LESS of some tasks, freeing up time to spend more on other more important roles.
Daniel Eglin is a Mathematics Teacher, Boarding Housemaster and Common Room President at a leading Independent School in the UK.
This post was first published on staffrm.io in a slightly different form and is reproduced here by kind permission of the author.