If I see some litter I generally (I’m being honest here, 90% of the time!), pick it up and bin it.
I hold the door for people, thank them for those driving pleasantries, say hello with a smile as school starts.
To me this is what we should be doing, modelling a series of high expectations for our pupils in all aspects of life, not just the academic skills and outcomes. ‘But school life is hard for us teachers’ I hear you cry; ‘We have to plan, mark, assess, enter data………’ Well yes, we do, as this is the nature of the altruistic job we are in. For me what is needed is a consistency in the modelled expectation from all staff; the idea that no barrier should prevent success in some form. Pupils will want to see that their teachers are working hard and more importantly, working smart. We constantly talk about time management to them, how they need to effectively use their time to maximise their opportunities and we should be no different.
A workload survey published in Feb 2017 stated that on average classroom teachers were spending 33hrs a week on non teaching inc. planning and marking; but aren’t these ubiquitous to learning? Well planned learning time, relevant and helpful feedback (Hattie’s postulation that the impact of feedback diminishes the longer we leave it is so true when it comes to formative assessment of pupils learning), all take effort, take time to perfect and nurture to the point where they become habitual and helpful for our pupils. Please don’t think that the expectation is for staff to slog themselves to the point of exhaustion as this is of no benefit to the pupil; what every member of staff focus on, the elements that benefit their pupils.
We see stories and articles about schools like St Matthias CE Primary and Michaela Academy who have removed planning and marking reducing this perceived workload and stress that teachers may be feeling, but what message is this sending to the pupils? That if someone/small scale study tells you that you are under workload stresses you automatically feel the pressure? Where is the personal professional judgement? I love the featured image for this blog post (and underneath) because the message is one we should endeavour to consistently apply and exude to our pupils; reality means the journey is tough, but distance is its own reward.
I fell proud when I have planned an effective set of lessons, assessed and provided some relevant personal feedback for my pupils’ and their work.
A Professional Pride.
So there you go, pressure, workload, to me its subjective. Whats not is the expectation we have for our pupils, we expect them to work hard, so should why shouldn’t we?