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big mistake?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by LittleBrownBear, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. LittleBrownBear

    LittleBrownBear New commenter

    Dear all,

    I am off ill at the moment so bear with me but I am feeling very low.
    I moved to a new school in Sept in a new area and bought a house. Everything started off fine but now I feel like the wheels are flying off. I am exhausted, anxious and my mental health is suffering.

    We have to mark Maths, English and reading books everyday so that's 90 books without any afternoon subjects. We also have a club once a week to run after school plus 2 meetings a week that are compulsory. So it is at least 4.30pm/5pm before I can mark or plan. I prefer to mark and plan at home as it's quiet. However my colleagues mark at school, together. I have been advised to do the same but I am exhausted by then and I need a brain break. I often haven't eaten lunch or been to the toilet either.

    My new school is very different in every way possible but I feel that I am being watched and everything I do is being questionned. My line manager is now taking over and it is not actually helping me as it makes more anxious.

    I feel as though i am just waiting for capability to be thrown at me. I am terrified I will lose my house (i am single so it's all down to me) and i an just in tears most of the time. Buying the house was stressful and trying to do it all by myself even harder. Whilst I was buying the house i was in temporary accommodation and was moving all the time. This was difficult. Didn't have the Internet for 2 wks either so planning was harder.

    I have been teaching 16 yrs and I am questionning whether I can or even still want to do this.

    I have been ill so much since Sept which is unusual as I normally have 2 days a year off if that with tonsillitis ir sonething. However had a heavy cold and now another illness.

    Thanks for listening

  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    This is endemic across the whole of the UK, teachers being beaten into the ground. This sort of workload will shorten your life. Yes, many people attempt to do it cheerfully, but in the end nobody normal copes for long. I'm sure you want to do the job well. However, what you are being asked to do is outside of the bounds of what is actually humanly possible.

    sorry to be completely unable to come up with a solution.

    Its isn't your fault. Don't be emotionally blackmailed. Speak to your union.

    best wishes.
    Jamvic, Daredevil111, steely1 and 4 others like this.
  3. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    I don't see anything about the OP's workload that doesn't match every school I've worked in - is this really too much?
  4. LittleBrownBear

    LittleBrownBear New commenter

    Could you offer some advice as to how you keep up at all? I am really looking gor sone help and ideas

  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter


    yes, clearly it is too much

    hmm, people who say the teaching workload is fine, and it isn't all too much. I've met a few. Some were new, some were robots with no life, some were expert at cutting corners. Some were not. some of them are dead now. Some of them were the managers that were killing everybody else.
  6. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Sorry to hear this @LittleBrownBear. You have my sympathy.

    Firstly, you need to focus on getting better physically and mentally - focus on you. I know it can be incredibly hard not to worry about things, especially when you are away from school.
    I suppose the chances are that you are having to follow a rigid curriculum which means you cannot choose to plan a lesson with little or no marking if you are feeling overloaded?
    We once had a training session from someone who encouraged us to mark as much as possible as we went around the room during a lesson - they claimed that not only would this lessen the workload but it would help the teacher to see who was on track and who wasn’t. I’m afraid I can’t say whether that worked for people or not!

    Suggest you have a nice chat with a good friend if you are up to it - good friends can often cheer us up and provide a sense of perspective. I wish you all the best.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Don't do the marking...just don't do it.
    Bet no one notices.
    Alternatively, don't do work that goes in the books. (I can't see how the heck you can mark reading books anyway!)
    At least alternate so that one week there is lots of maths in books and the other week lots of English. Halves your workload that way.
    Also train your class in self marking and learn to mark as you teach.

    Make sure you sort out a referral to OH and discuss with them what would enable you to return to work successfully. Then organise a meeting at work with the head/your line manager and discuss the recommendations from OH.
  8. thebookyouwish

    thebookyouwish New commenter

    Two meetings and a club each week seems unreasonable.

    I'm sure there are guidelines about the number of meetings a week - but you are new to the school and may not want to rock the boat too much. Maybe you should though?

    I'm afraid I don't really know what to say, teaching is becoming almost impossible and I wish I did know the answer.

    I think the advice above to mark as you go in the lesson is really worth a try. I used to be able to get a lot done in lunchtime and I prefer to get in early and catch up alone than stay late. I wouldn't be able to mark in a group either.

    Do you have a TA who could help? Are the children allowed to self mark sometimes?
    Jamvic, phlogiston and agathamorse like this.
  9. studentfairy

    studentfairy New commenter

    Wow, I relate to a lot of this, only difference is that I am an NQT. I too have moved to a new area and I have bought a house on my own, just about to move in on Friday. I will also have no internet for potentially two weeks and have been staying in halls until now.
    I also am expected to mark 90 books minimum each day (maths, english and guided reading). There is an expectation that every piece of work must be marked before the child receives that book back, so before the next lesson of that subject. I find it IMPOSSIBLE. Like others have suggested, I get as much done during the lessons as possible and mark during lunchtime, but it doesn't really help much.
    I have one staff meeting a week after school, two short morning briefings and I am 'supposed' to be running a club, but they let me off for my first half term.
    I also have to do an assembly every four weeks, and a class assembly every 6 weeks.

    It's the marking that really gets me down, though. I've managed to get away with barely marking the Guided Reading books so far, and I just do all the English at the weekend. I try to get maths marked at least every other day.

    It is so difficult.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I read posts like this and remember why I moved out of the state system and out of KS2!
    pepper5, phlogiston and agathamorse like this.
  11. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    If it's one of those maths lessons where the children are mostly practising, get them to self mark. Give them the answers at the end (ish) of the lesson. This is a useful tactic because it allows you to visually check who has serious issues and address them immediately - always better than the next morning. Ditto for any english lesson which is comprehension/grammar based.
    Hot mark during the lesson as much as you can.
  12. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Are you me??
  13. TeachingBabylon

    TeachingBabylon New commenter

    If you can't do your work, with the odd exception at times of course, before a 5-5.30 finish - the hours you are actually paid for, for instance - then the workload is unreasonable.
    hamcguin and agathamorse like this.
  14. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Agree with other posters about the marking - make sure that at least one of the subjects doesn't require marking every day. Practical Maths? Note taking/planning in English that can be done in a rough book or writer's journal? Don't know which year group you are, but train them in simple peer marking (two ticks and a wish style) and use that occasionally.
    Talk to other staff, especially in your phase group. How do they cope with the workload? They may have suggestions not thought of here.
  15. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I feel for you. This is why Mrs P and I foreshortened our mainstream careers.
    If you have arrived at school at 8ish or earlier, it is perfectly reasonable to need to go home at 5, especially if much of your day has not been self-directed.
    Good idea. Problem is that systematic monitoring of 30 kids is hard to do this way.
    Think about investing in a "verbal feedback given" rubber stamp.

    If they expect this, then they can't programme for as much of the rest of your time.
  16. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Yes, yes it is and anyone pretending otherwise is adding to the overall problem for every teacher in the land. The nightly marking load the OP describes alone is too much. Utterly ridiculous.
    Caro D, Billie73, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  17. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Great idea.

    I do agree in principle with this (and toward the end of my career actually did it to someone degree) but it’s a brave teacher (especially new to the school) who sticks their head above the parapet alone like this.

    This is probably the sensible way to go.
  18. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Pointless and out-dated.

    Move schools - there are many vacancies out there.
  19. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Yes - far too much and exactly the type of practise that schools are moving away from.
  20. Ex-teacher

    Ex-teacher Occasional commenter

    I did this, at the suggestion of one of SLT. The next time I was inspected, by a different member, they didnt like it as they saw no evidence apart from a stamp....

    From then on I got the kids to write a bullet point summarising my comment/target for improvement, following my stamping their work.

    Tis was deemed to be outstanding practice, and commented on in whole staff meetings by the original slt, as if it was their own thought....
    Lalad, phlogiston and agathamorse like this.

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