After speaking to the lovely Kate Jones (@87History) I was inspired to write a Room 101 post. I’m sure many of you will remember the show; celebrities get to banish their pet hates to room 101.
Definitely can be applied to education. So here’s 5 things I would add.
1) Marking Policies.
There are the ridiculous, the absurd and the downright extensive. Triple marking, a myriad of colours, extensive dialogue… the lists go on. Marking needs to be meaningful, manageable and motivating. In fact, the focus should move away from marking and promote feedback in all its forms. #feedbackNOTmarking
I know, I know… fieldtrips are fantastic for students. They develop skills, confidence and application of knowledge. But… they are so stressful and time consuming. They literally induce panic in me, even when I’m not the trip leader the stress and anxiety is unbearable.
I guess this one should really say paperwork for fieldtrips as actually I love seeing students in a completely different setting. I love seeing them apply what they learn in the classroom. I love seeing them work together, challenge each other and support one another. Could we do them without all the paper work and responsibility? If we could I and many others like me would find them far less anxiety inducing.
3) The trad vs. prog debate.
Most teachers don’t even know the debate exists. It’s pretty isolated to the EduTwittersphere. Why do we have to pick a side? Can’t we all just do what works for us, our students and our context? What works for one person, won’t for another. Let’s agree to disagree. Easy really.
4) Teacher Guilt
Teacher guilt, it’s inevitable. Whether it’s a permanent reminder of the career you have chosen or something that comes and goes through the school year (lucky you if you’re the latter), teacher guilt is experienced by everyone at some point. Teacher guilt is exhausting. If you allow it to start, it can take over every waking minute. You have to block it out. Making the effort to give yourself a break from the list of things that you could always be doing is hard. It takes willpower but in the end your students will benefit more from a healthy, happy teacher than a burnout, unenthusiastic one. You have to be the best you can be for your students and yourself. Take time for you and lock the teacher guilt away.
5) Wellbeing days/CPD
Wellbeing, it’s a focus for many of us. I’ve heard from numerous leaders that if you improve the wellbeing of your staff and the rest looks after it self… or something like that. That’s great but do we really need ‘wellbeing’ activities forced upon us? Why waste an hour after school or a whole CPD on it? I just don’t understand it, yet I keep hearing of more and more events like this. Make those days or meeting productive time for staff to get the things done that they need to rather than forcing them into activities that should improve their wellbeing without the time to get the important things done.
If you want to improve the wellbeing of your staff it starts with workload, simple as. Remove the unnecessary admin and record keeping. Reduce the data drops. Amend the reporting policy. Give autonomy to departments. Create a centralised reward and sanction system. Minimise workload so teachers can focus on what’s important, the teaching, that’s how you improve staff wellbeing.
What would you put into Room 101?