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Teachers Cannot be Routinely Required to Undertake Clerical Tasks.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by coldmetal, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I like doing displays - no hardship for me. I also display student work and they love it - I usually get them to actually stick work on the wall - it gives them a small sense of pride and achievement. I also have random notices stuck on the wall. Last year, one group of girls used to bring 'Thought for the week' in and put it on the wall.
    My classroom might not look tidy but it looks 'lived in'.
  2. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    We were expected to spend time collating report sheets and stuffing them into envelopes for our class - oh, and labelling the envelopes too, and copying them for school records, and making duplicates for parents who are separated.

    I assigned my TA to do it, and will challenge this expectation at the next staff meeting, if we ever have one. It will make me unpopular with the SLT, and there will be the usual response that the office staff just don't have the time (then employ some more...) and the insinuation that we're all in it together (we're not) and need to do our bit to help the school in these times of austerity...
    crazypineapple likes this.
  3. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Look I'm all for helping out when I have time ...I'll even and have helped the cleaning lady clean my room ... but IT IS NOT AN EXPECTATION and I certainly don't make it public ( I did make it very public in changing the discipline policy for wet playtime as to prevent mud entering the school to help out my fellow cleaning lady workers ..because I was one of the few that gave a dam ( and I am not A GOOD PERSON FOR DING THIS JUST human). I've spend £100s of pounds on gifts / goodies for my kids who I love AGAIN not an EXPECTATION. I do because I am a HUMAN
    Piranha and Compassman like this.
  4. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Thank God for you Grandshire ...keep going. Don't worry about SLT ..do people actually get on with ?...I mean really get on with them ? I certainly put up with them ... to be fair some have been great and inspirational but rarely. If you are a good teacher which I'm sure you are they can't touch you ..you'll only receive respect !
  5. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Absolutely ..the number of stories I have heard on this subject ( straight from the horses mouth) ..makes me sick !
  6. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    The 'doing your bit in times of austerity' means 'covering over the cracks for government underfunding'.

    You might get the 'we're only as strong as our weakest link' which is what you often get as well.
    ilovesooty likes this.
  7. coldmetal

    coldmetal Occasional commenter

    I think Unions should insist upon this list of 'Don't Dos' goes up on the wall of every staff room. Also All HOD's before issuing new tracking and monitoring initiatives should run them past this list. I like the one Should it be done at all?
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I taught my kids to question. Why? If you get to the end of the lesson and think, "Why have we been doing this?" You simply must call me out on it. I get the chance to explain. I should have explained at the start! You know. Lesson Objective.

    Same for staff. "Sorry, boss. What's this for? Why'm I doing this?"

    If it isn't obvious to me how this is worthwhile plus I think it's not in my contract? Then I decline.

    Never ask someone to do something without a bloody good reason.

    Photocopying is the modern equivalent of mediaeval scribing. I'm not a calligrapher. I'm a teacher. Different thing.
  9. aspen_1

    aspen_1 New commenter

    We were told by the new head (& shiny new management team) that Teaching Assistants were too qualified and their time too precious to be spent on such tasks and that it was not their role to support teachers. I got blank looks when I pointed out that if this was true for Teaching Assistants then in must be doubly so for the teaching staff. I got tired of being the only member of staff to challenge such things though.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    No problem. Employ a reprographics assistant.

    Simple. You're welcome.
    crazypineapple and Piranha like this.
  11. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    But but things like bulk printing are easier to do then completing the form for reprographics. Just send a batch of worksheets to the nearest printer and collect them.
  12. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    This makes me think that ITT / PGCE courses should include an obligatory unit / course based around this mindset. It is particularly needed for our young Teachers ..to give them the confidence to intelligently question which will allow them to become good assertive and fair teachers of the future. As grumpydogwoman states this is the very philosophy we as good teachers train our students to think. We need this way of thinking to protect teachers from leaving to protect / maintain work life balance most importantly to maintain the profession of teaching not multitasking administrators who then have to teach.
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  13. drek

    drek Star commenter

    I agree that it is lack of proper training of teaching skills and job requirements that benefits the managers in education and drains the workers teachers and everyone else) in the public sector.

    It's all the brainwashing and it starts right from day 1.

    Weekends....what weekends? I give them up in term time......it's why I'm a senior staff member now. The lazy ones don't t make it this far.....it's all for the students. They come first......

    How many times have you heard managers or lead staff say this over and over again to new trainees?

    Whilst forgetting to tell them that they now don't teach at all or if they do it's a course work subject for a few hours a week.... (lots of independent computer research tasks).......
    If such staff have to work on weekends it's down to really bad time organisation!
  14. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    This is inspirational ...keep it up drek although I am sure you like many of us have your wings clipped ( well to a certain extent ).
  15. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    At my school tutors are expected to take the register. Obviously if a student is absent we mark them as absent. However, we are then expected to chase up why that absence happened, asking the student for a note. If the parents provide an acceptable excuse I then have to go back in to that day's register (even if its a few days later) and change the mark to 'illness' or 'authorised absence' etc. If there is no note, then I have to call the parent to find out why their son / daughter was absent. If after two weeks, no explanation has been provided, I then have to go back into those registers and change the mark to 'unauthorised absence' because the school don't want any plain 'absent' marks on the register. And I have to do this for every single absence, for every single student. When I told them I was simply going to mark the students as either present or absent and be done with it, you'd have thought I'd have suggested I was going to sacrifice absent children in the classroom. The idea that I was refusing to spend hours of my time every day chasing every absence seemed amazing to them.

    When I was off sick for a few weeks the registers didn't get done properly and they sent me a pack of paper showing all the incorrect registers for those weeks (AM and PM ones) and told me it was my responsibility to sort them out e.g. ascertain who was there, who wasn't, who was sick etc and change all the marks appropriately. I said "I wasn't here, how am I supposed to know? Maybe you should give these to whoever covered my lessons during my absence?" and handed them back to them. Again it was treated as though I was being the most irritating and unhelpful member of staff ever. I seriously think they expected me to just 'know' who was here and/or make it up, and go back in to the system and change them accordingly.

    They were so irritated that I wouldn't do it, I think because there are so many other staff who DO do it, so it seems as though I am being unreasonable.

    In a similar situation, we have staff moving classrooms ready for next year, and they have just been told that the site team are too busy to help them move, that they can't start moving until the final week of term because of open days etc, and that 'when they come in over summer to move all their classroom belongings' to make sure they sign in and out. I know for a fact there are staff who will just accept this and do it.

    It is the staff that DO all these things without question that make it harder for us staff who know our rights to refuse to do them.
  16. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    @crazypineapple but those young teachers risk failing their NQT year.

    @grumpydogwoman I read the link about displays and have certainly seen a good few of those things while on supply. I do believe though that displays should be supportive of the learning, celebrate the learning and in keeping with the environment. I very much doubt at home you have bare plastered walls? You probably have something which makes you enjoy being in that environment. I think classroom walls should be the same. I prefer to put up lots of photos and keep things streamlined, only changing topic specific vocab and work. I would love a study done on my displays hahaha

    Edit: I have once been in a sch which didn't have any displays. It felt like a sad prison.
  17. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    That was my experience as well. Too many people willing to not say 'no'. When you challenge them about they'll just say 'I don't want to make a fuss' or 'we have to do it'.

    I had the absence one as well and fought it and I was continually told it was part my job as a form tutor to fill to chase the absence. I think they got sick of me just handing in my absence enquiry form blank but 95% of other staff like mindless drones continued to do it.

    Many teachers have come in during the holidays but it should never be EXPECTED. There lies the problem.
  18. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    In our primary it is definitely the office staff's job to chase absences after registers close. In exceptional circumstances this might pass to our PSA type of TA or to the deputy or head. But I am talking large unauthorised absences or possible safeguarding concerns.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    I don't advocate NO displays. I do advocate being highly discriminating.

    2 points.

    1. If you're constantly updating your displays and have a lot of them then I think you could make better use of your time.
    2. Really question what you are hoping to achieve with your display and target it accordingly.
    3. (Two is never enough.) Lots of displays just tell me that display isn't special. It's commonplace so why bother to look at it.
    crazypineapple and cazzmusic1 like this.
  20. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    @grumpydogwoman I hope those points are meant in general and aren't specifically aimed at me. As I said, I have put a lot of thought in to classroom environment and the suitability of all elements within it. Point 3 is true of many classrooms I have seen on supply because layout is chaotic. Unartistic people have thrown things up thinking it looks quirky. It doesn't. Displays must be streamlined in order to be useful. Children need to be taught how to use them, this shouldn't be assumed.

    It really annoys me that schools often demand displays be changed half termly. I look at is as interior design more than simply a display but that doesn't mean it is time consuming.

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