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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bonnie23, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter


    There's no other way to say this other than I'm exhausted.

    I teach a practical subject and this is coursework season, so I guess this is the worst part for me. However I'm in work at 7.30am and I'm not leaving until 7.30pm and I'm trying to play catch up on the weekend. In the last month I haven't had a PPA because each time I sit down to do some work sixth formers are in my room needing help which means my marking is being pushed back and back and even when I do have a free room I'm generally trying to sort something for my students. It's now even starting to affect my planning and the pressure is really on from SLT to get the grades. I have four examined classes, two groups of Year 11 and two big groups at 12 and 13.

    This last week I've been so stressed I've barely slept and when I do sleep it tends to be work related nightmares.

    Has anyone got any advice? I can't just say no to these students and there's no escape from this pressure.
  2. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    I forgot to mention that I also run 2 intervention nights for GCSE years until 4.30 but also allow sixth form students in to the room until 5pm every day after school so often I don't get settled to work until 5.15pm.
  3. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    All I'll say is that you should not be working so hard that it's damaging your health. A tired, stressed teacher will be no benefit to the students.
    I'm sure others will have plenty of practical advice to help you, I'll just say to be a bit more selfish - take some time for yourself because you, and your students, need it.
  4. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    Why do we need support sessions? Teach em within the timetable. Kids resent having been forced to attend them.
    Anonymity, Shedman and grumpydogwoman like this.
  5. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    They're not being forced. It's a practical coursework subject and they have to get their projects finished for the deadline. The especially with A-level students they are expected to do double the amount of work outside of lessons E.g. 5 hours on timetable, 5 hours out of timetable.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I think you know the answers.

    1 Take back your PPA - hide in a corner somewhere - anywhere with access to the network - but tell the students to bog off - they had better become independent learners PDQ, hadn't they?
    2 Ditto for interventions
  7. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You have had PPA. You're just choosing to use it for things other than marking.

    Learn to say no to the kids. It's actually for their own good in he long run. A bit of benign neglect to help them develop their own skills.
  8. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    fair enough but why is that the case? Sounds ridiculous. Tell the SLT...that's what they are paid for. Stop slavery.
    Mrsmumbles and Anonymity like this.
  9. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    well said. Rugged individualism.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  10. red_observer

    red_observer Star commenter

    hear hear!
  11. Calamity54321

    Calamity54321 New commenter

    Totally agree. A Level teachers I know are usually happy for students to hang behind in class if they need a bit of extra advice or support, but other than that the taught sessions are all they get.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    "Sorry, guys, I know I made this clear in class. I'm not going through it again. You need to go away and do a bit of research or maybe study together with a friend. This is a confidence issue and it won't help you if I just keep repeating everything. I need you to be developing some independence."
  13. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    Ah yes. Master the Dark Art of Hiding During PPA - it works wonders!
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Can you leave the A Level kids alone to work while you get on with your work?
    Can you have a rotation in the dept of who is supervising, so you don't do every day?
    Marking? Schmarking! Ignore it and it'll go away. Mark only assessments.
  15. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    I take myself off to the carpark during PPAs with the amount of marking that will last for 50 minutes. I lock myself in my car and turn on Classic FM. Sometimes I even have a cheeky bag of Maltesers as well.

    Taking the pain out of PPA.
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Why? To augment a halo?
    Cut down the GCSE intervention-just run one per week. Notify parents, send a group email or get the relevant admin person to do this. If parents are told, you'll reach some parents who never knew about either of the two in the first place, and will push their kids to go, and those who knew about the two will know there is now only one. So you'll end up with the kids who want and need to be there all in one hit. When they get there, instigate pair work immediately and let it run for half the session. Then trouble shoot for the second half. Leave plenty of references in case they're still stuck and then say goodbye until the next week.
    Then stop allowing 6th form in every day. Tell them you will run only two or three such sessions. You could also consider running these sessions by appointment only, as you never know, some of them might be dropping in for the social aspect. Your room, til 5 o'clock every day? Cheaper than a cafe, no?
    Once you've honed down student contact time, you can get your own stuff done sooner and fgs leave the building a bit earlier.
    Also consider arriving a bit later, even if only once a week eg Friday, since nobody is actually logging your arrival time in order to give you a prize. You can set your alarm somewhat later for that day, and if you can work that logistically with your commute, it will become a carrot to get you through the week.
    You have no carrot at the moment, just endlessness. You will snap!
    tall tales, phlogiston and SLouise91 like this.
  17. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Leave school, go home and mark or hide and mark. Designate fixed days for A Level student support. I have a classroom away from where I can usually be found, where I hide with my marking/planning during PPA's, in times of need. I don't turn the computer on either - no emails pinging!
  18. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    We always did run them (unofficially) for A-levels. It wasn't a problem as we didn't have all the rubbish of data entrty/massaging to do. Yet it actually helped the kids-you always have some that need more than class teaching, eg one year I had most of one class with serious medical/personal issues. True, maybe they wouldn't have got extra help at uni (though even then, some unis were running support sessions). But it made a big difference to the students at a point when they needed it. Maybe suggest to SLT that you stop doing some other things instead?
    SLouise91 likes this.
  19. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    We all know how high the demands are! And of course teaching is a job that'll just keep expanding if you let it! If your sleep is being this badly affected it is a clear sign you need to do something!

    1. It is so hard to say no to students, after all that is why you are teaching, but try and streamline it? Say to them 'I can only let you come in Mondays' or Tuesdays and Thursdays' - if they know they have less time available they might work more efficiently (and havent they got other subjects to go to other days?)

    2. You need something to unwind. Working up until bedtime will mean you try and fall asleep pumped. It wont happen. Give yourself a buffer every day between work and sleep. If its got to the stage where its straight from work - (past) bedtime (and I know that will be true for many!) - your work life balance is shot! An episode off a box set, a film, a walk, a point at the local. Anything to unwind! It neednt take a whole evening - most of those can take 30min-1 hour if thats all the time you have.

    3. No blue screens (PC/mobile/iPad) an hour before bed. The blue light will disrupt your circadian rhythms.

    4. Remove all clocks from your bedroom. (I have personally done this and got over insomnia before!) Set your alarm outside of your bedroom. You do not need to worry what the time is until it is time to get up. Otherwise, you may wake say half an hour before and subconsciously feel it is not worth going back to sleep, which, if not careful can become an hour. Two. Or more!

    5. One work free day each weekend is a must! Even a 'no pressure' day completely! (ie. no housework, obligation to visit relatives, shopping etc etc!, 'energy sapping hobbies' etc.) If necessary, stay in your onesie all day and binge watch a TV series say!

    If all this fails and you are suffering, get signed off. Read Theo's Workplace Stress post - your employer is then OBLIGED to make adjustments on your return as I understand it?
    SLouise91 and Mrsmumbles like this.
  20. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    PS Ive done 5 myself and find Saturday the better of the two to do it (if not careful, doing this Sunday can make it feel like one agonisingly slow buildup back to the working week - go and do something active Sunday!)
    SLouise91 likes this.

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