This weekend I have been to Exeter with my Taekwon-Do club. I set off on Friday night straight from school and arrived down in Exeter about 10pm. I started Saturday morning around 6:45am and was umpiring and officiating for most of the day until I left at 6pm. I arrived home about 10pm and went to bed. That’s all of Saturday gone.
On the Sunday I got up, did some errands and then went to my Nephew’s 1st birthday party. When I returned I did a few more things around the house and then relaxed in preparation for Monday and the rest working week.
You may be reading this and thinking … why?
Well the reason I am telling you this story is…
2 or 3 years ago I would have felt guilty if was away for this amount of time and I then did not do any work on the Sunday. I would have felt that I wouldn’t be prepared for Monday, that I would be letting my school down and that I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a teacher.
This is no longer the case, I know I have enough material stored and I have sufficiently prepared for Monday by copying the resources on Thursday and Friday. I know there are job I could do but I do not NEED to do them.
This to me is how it should be. Teachers, along with many other professionals, work very long hours Monday to Friday, they should be able to enjoy there weekends without feeling guilty. Don’t get me wrong I know some like to work over the weekend. I know sometimes we need to work over the weekend to get things done but I also feel that if we do not NEED to them we should feel we HAVE to.
So why are teacher feeling guilty?
Teachers themselves – They have high expectations of themselves. We all know that the “to-do” list in teaching is endless. Once you have finished one job there is always 100 more job/things you could do. I think some teachers need to have a “must-do” and “could-do” list. This will help with work/life balance.
School culture – Some schools and their SLT have unfair expectations. Marking every single piece of work in detail. Making all resources from scratch. Have 5/6 differentials within each lesson (that’s 15/20 different tasks a day. Some school need to revaluate what is actually important. Lots of wonderful worksheet that show the lessons are being taught or teaching that are well enough to teach the lessons?
Government – I feel sometime the pressures are so great that teacher feel they need to make changes; they need to create lots of worksheet/resources. One super teacher I worked with used to say the following “Why do we have to keep recreating the wheel” – by this she meant why are we changing the practises that work, if they work why change them. Modify but do not change them. I think we can learn a lot from this.
Performance management – 2 words that mean different things to different people. I know of school where teachers need to build portfolios of evidence against the standards that are on their performance management. I also know school that trust their teachers as professional so if they say what’s happening in their classroom and the book scrutiny evidence when triangulated with observations and learning walks suggest the same they are believed.
I know there are many more reasons that make teacher feel guilty or work longer then they need to.
Maybe you could put them in the comment section?
Thank you for reading