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Unreasonable workload expected from teachers who are parents during covid crisis

Discussion in 'Staff, pupil & parent's wellbeing' started by AC08, Apr 1, 2020.

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Should schools reduce working responsibilities at home for teachers looking after their dependents?

Poll closed Apr 15, 2020.
  1. Yes

    40 vote(s)
    72.7%
  2. No

    15 vote(s)
    27.3%
  1. AC08

    AC08 New commenter

    Hello all,

    I am a mother of 2 children aged 6 and 2. I am working 4 days a week at home. I am expected to come into school one day a week. I am looking after my children and managing to work from home. This is proving to be difficult.

    Under normal circumstances, work load has never been an issue. I would complete my work at school and sacrifice a bit of my family time at home to keep up with the demand. This is the case for majority of the staff at the school. However, in the current crisis, it is not fair for schools to assume that we can 'work' at the same speed and efficiency if we were in school. Every teacher has a unique home environment and varying working conditions. It is unfair for schools to expect the same level of work from every staff member considering their home environments are all different.

    NEU states: The NEU expects teachers’ workload not to be increased during this period and for all communication and workload to be negotiated and agreed with staff.

    My school has not negotiated workload, it has rather directed the workload onto the staff. Has anybody experienced the same thing?

    My department in particular have expected the following to be completed by staff during the lock-down period:
    • create around 30 SOW for KS4&KS5
    • Have each 30 topics fully resourced for individual lessons of high quality (there is an extensive detailed checklist that has to be met)
    • Have assessments in place for each of the 30 topics
    • Have glossaries in place for each topic
    • Have at least one literacy task and numeracy task in the topic
    • Within each of the lesson powerpoints (there are over 200 lessons in total) there is an extensive criteria to meet to the extent of what font, font size, animation, logo's, text box border, structure of ppt, AFL tasks, etc. to use in the presentation. [These requirements have never been requested prior to covid crisis]
    Having spoken to the union, it turns out that the government have not given further detail on how to support teachers who are caring for their dependents whilst working from home.

    Is anyone feeling and experiencing similar issues?

    Should school leaders carry out a survey within the school to find out who is caring for dependents and have their workload responsibilities adjusted accordingly?
     
  2. install

    install Star commenter

    A few questions:

    Do you have a TLR?
    As a key worker are you able to use the facilities offered by your children’s schools during the crisis?
    Have you asked your lm or ht about this?
     
    agathamorse and Rott Weiler like this.
  3. AC08

    AC08 New commenter

    I do have responsibility. However, the workload mentioned before is the same as a normal teaching staff. I have added work to do on top of the above due to my TLR.

    My children's school has encouraged us to keep our children at home.

    I am going to approach SLT with this and see what happens.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. install

    install Star commenter

  5. install

    install Star commenter

    You need to have a frank conversation with your lm and agree on a reasonable way in which you can work from home. Could they break it down for you?

    As for sow / resources/ lesson plans, a better approach is for a department to work together ( contacting each other via email). These should be evolving through teamwork and discussion as tasks are done. And really no one should do these in isolation because the danger is that even if you do it all, no one may like them or agree with them. I’d be very tempted to download them off the internet and adapt them as well.

    Surely, it’s more important to keep on top of the ‘current home learning’ anyway and for teachers to keep an eye on student work?

    On a final note - working from home isn’t easy. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. All you can do is try your best and let people around you know it’s proving difficult. It may be that someone above you is in a state of panic and has gone down an impossible ‘to do list’ merely to keep teachers busy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I assume these are to be shared out among the department? Can you have a virtual meeting and request that those without children at home take on a greater share than you? (Good luck with that by the way!!!)

    Split the work (fairly!) between the department.
    Once you have your share, make a plan of what to do each week
    Sort out a timetable for each week, working on being off until May half term.
    Timetable your day so that you work before the little ones get up and after they go to bed, also when they are watching numberblocks and alphablocks (education, so not TV!)
    Share the childcare and work time with your partner and timetable it
    Then get on and do the work.

    Even with just 5 teachers in the dept, it's only 1 topic a week per person, so not an onerous amount.
     
    install likes this.
  7. SpideyClaire

    SpideyClaire New commenter

    As well as providing online learning for our classes, going into school on a rota, developing our curriculum documents and policies and writing end of year reports we have been sent a list of CPD opportunities. This is a list of online learning courses that runs to four pages with instructions to email certificates to the office when we've completed them. We haven't been told how many we have to do each week but a couple I looked into are 6-7 weeks long with a time estimation of 3-4 hours. It feels like they are trying to cram as much into our day as possible to make sure they're getting value for money out of us with little regard to our home circumstances.
     
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Communication is paramount here. Have you requested a time line on this ? Have you related your concerns ? Contact other people at your level too and ask how they are approaching the work.

    I would stick to your normal working hours at home if you can and only do the work during usual hours. It takes as long as it takes.
     
  9. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    Not being funny or anything, but you can only do as much work as you can do and your SLT will just have to accept this.
     
  10. AC08

    AC08 New commenter

    I have communicated the issue to my LM. I have negotiated the work load.
     
    Pomza, Lidnod and install like this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    Well done poster and thank you poster for giving feedback. That is really good to know. See how it goes and then take it from there..
     
    Pomza likes this.
  12. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    I'd be looking for a new school to teach in. Well done on getting some of this sorted but I suspect the whole face of Education is in for an intensive ex-foliation after this crisis is over and much of what you do may not even be used by your school. The approach seems very " unfeeling" and I would not want to work in a school -or anywhere -where the attitude in a crisis like this is to impose loads of work and carry on regardless. I reckon many teachers will be looking at how their schools manage this and determining if there are human beings in charge.
     
  13. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    We have had an almost identical demand. I contacted the NEU who thought it was totally unreasonable to expected lengthy CDP in these circumstances and in essence said it could only ever be voluntary and as such ignore it. My personal view is that they cannot suddenly ask you to do all this CPD if it has not been agreed at the outset of the year as part of your performance management. They might like you to do it but every staff member is in very different circumstances and for those with school age children at home, whilst you are managing the workload of remote learning, asking for this as well is ludicrous.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. fidgetmummy

    fidgetmummy New commenter

     
  15. fidgetmummy

    fidgetmummy New commenter

    We have been given a similar 7 page list. I have just completed a compulsory course about online learning (an 8 week one) which was challenging time wise. I did it in about 20 hours but found most of the content pointless for my age group. Taking courses for courses sake. I have now chosen another one that will take 6 weeks but more interesting. The idea that we would be sitting around doing nothing if not directed is insulting.
     
  16. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    1. The bullet point I have quoted is utter bikkixjs and I would not want to work in a school that laid down lesson rules like this.
    2. What schools do to support teachers working from home is nothing to do with "the government" (which has a lot more to bother about at the moment that that anyway). It is up to a school's leadership to work out what is best, and how it can support both teachers and pupils during an unprecedented set of circumstances. My school has, in my opinion, done a brilliant job for both us and the kids, and all the colleagues I have spoken to are in agreement.

    It's a management problem, as are, in my opinion, most of the problems in schools these days. If the top level is incompetent the school fails, and if SLT, especially the head, is good, the school succeeds.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    In the very unlikely event that your SLT are checking the size of the font you're using or whether you've followed the nifty 8 week course, I'd reflect as to what they intend to do if you fail to follow this " supportive" guidelines. Get the hell out of wherever it is, if you can. This sort of management are trying to justify their salaries and, I suspect, struggling to justify their existence in a remote learning world.
     
  18. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Just set up a template to do this. it will make it easier and only takes a few minutes once!
     
  19. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    TBH, I'd do what you've always done. Students need to recognise your lessons when they're learning remotely and now is a foolish time to burden educators with the ludicrous criteria of font size etc. As, I said before, get out if you can and if possible buy each and every member of SLT with a copy of "A Christmas Carol" ( within font guidelines of course.
     
  20. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    There is some point in there being some recommendations on font size - too small, and those having to access the powerpoints from a phone or tablet may be unable to read things.
    The best thing would be for management to provide the template, and recommend that people use it, and leave it at that.
    I'd be slightly worried, if they're being very prescriptive, that they're hoping to monetise the powerpoints afterwards. (You could perhaps scupper this by including examples that will only make sense to the kids in your school!)
     
    agathamorse likes this.

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