Make one change

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04 May 2016 by ATL
There’s so much that’s not cool at the moment in teaching. A lot in education revolves around numbers and data, which creates a lot of work and drives creativity out.

When I became a rep in September, I began to see just how much colleagues take work home with them. It’s not just the marking, there’s the emotional baggage too. As teachers we just don’t know what’s coming next and that creates fear. Worry that maybe what we are doing is wrong can take hold, turn into insecurity, and then we spend time on tasks that aren’t necessary.

Of course I’m not saying that teachers aren’t very busy but sometimes we can get ourselves to a point where we imagine we have to do so many things that, in fact, we don’t. Marking doesn’t have to involve writing reams and reams, for example.

I used ATL’s work-life tracker - it’s brilliant – and I began to see that some of the things I was doing were my own choice and just not necessary. A Eureka moment! I was spending far too much time tinkering with lesson plans and schemes of work that were actually fine. Because I was spending so much time on those, I didn’t have enough time for marking, which then created a problem.

Using the tracker allowed me to self-reflect, and now I’ve seen where my time is going I’m better at managing it. I have also recommended the tracker to colleagues. Try it.

Leave your school bag at school one evening a week- just take yourself home #Make1Change.

Chris Baldwin is head of collaborative learning at William Allitt School in Derbyshire and an ATL rep.

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Workload and hours