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Discussion in 'Secondary' started by jellybean1900, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. jellybean1900

    jellybean1900 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I work in a state secondary school, I'm in my NQT+1 year. I was just wondering how people manage the secondary teaching workload? I seem to be constantly taking work home,working through the holidays and am always behind with my marking. I'm in a supportive environment, however with having 3 frees a week to mark 12 sets of 30 class books, plan all the other lessons, run extracurricular activities and hold intervention/revision lessons I am struggling with work/life balance.

    Is this something other teachers are dealing with or is this me poorly managing my time?

  2. MissHallEnglish

    MissHallEnglish Occasional commenter Forum guide and community helper

    Chasing my tail is a way of life: it shouldn't be but unfortunately it is. However, there are only so many hours in a day. Learn to prioritise - what can wait an extra couple of days? Does it REALLY matter if you're a couple of days late handing back an assessment to students? Can you increase the amount of structured peer marking that goes on in your classroom? I'm not a fan of stamps really, but can you get a verbal feedback one and the student notes down your comments in the margin?
    Planning does become easier over time as you can recycle and adapt resources you've used before. Can you drop or ask someone else to cover an extra-curricular until Christmas to see if that helps you catch up?

    As long as during your free time you're not swanning around talking to anyone else avoiding their workload, it doesn't sound like your time management is poor - it just sounds like you've a lot to do.

    Sorry you're feeling snowed under (I think this term is the worst for it) keep plodding on and remember you're a human, not a robot and there is only so much you can do in one day.
  3. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Established commenter

    To me, this is the start of a slippery slope, purely because it seems you haven't mentally drawn a line of when work should stop. Every teacher is always behind on their marking (or planning, reports etc.) in their head; there's always something more that can be done.
    Where you draw the line is contentious. Some will say that you should work evenings/weekends/holidays, others will say you should be able to just clock in and clock out. I'm not going to tell you what to do but it has to be something you are comfortable with.
    It's easy to time manage if you give yourself every waking hour to get the tasks done! You've got to limit yourself to leave more time for yourself.
    thatmaninthehat likes this.
  4. meggyd

    meggyd Senior commenter

    The problem with leaving things a day or two as suggested means that you are even more behind later on. I have no magic tips. The problem lies with the system. No one can go on in this way. Staff welfare suffers and kids suffer. Pupils are being taught in increasingly larger groups which impacts staff health and pupil progress.
    thatmaninthehat likes this.
  5. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    No easier in Primary by the way.I Agree with Cheesemongler. Draw a line .What is an acceptable work/life balance for you? Think about whether you can achieve that if you continue teaching.If not get out of it.Lots of us do.
  6. chrisoakey

    chrisoakey Occasional commenter

    I have a list of things to do in headings
    1) PLAN
    2) MARK
    3) ADMIN

    I prioritise in that order and in each box. I work the hours I choose and if there is any slippage it's in 3) Admin or 2) Mark. Ideally I want to mark each class once every 3 lessons but slippage means it is sometimes every 4 or even 5 lessons. I find this manageable working 8.15 - 4.30/5 plus around 7 hours a week at home. I don't work more than 45 hours per week. Anything else can wait. In practice a class can wait another week to have work marked or do a self or peer review task. I also use time saving devices like letters for feedback which is decoded on board and students write in their own comments and then do their 'to do' tasks.
    E.g. WWW 1, 2,3
    EBI A,B,C
    To do, x, y, z
    tosh740 and henrypm0 like this.
  7. chrisoakey

    chrisoakey Occasional commenter

    Teachers have to get past the "It has to be done" attitude. No it doesn't. If kids have to wait another week to get work marked, so what? A lot of admin is unnecessary so let it slide. A big tip from me is judge your own mood. I am never in the mood for marking but I know I can do it
    1) when I have high energy in short bursts
    2) when it is not too routine. So I have phases when I do all marking sitting in school after hours. This becomes a drag so I then have a complete change and mark at home in the evenings for a few days. Sometimes I do all one year group and get on a roll. At other times this gets too boring. So mix it up but when it is too boring for words force yourself to mark, say, 5 books through gritted teeth and then do something else and then do another 5. Rinse and repeat.
    henrypm0 likes this.
  8. jellybean1900

    jellybean1900 New commenter

    Thanks for everyone's help. That has to be my next step, prioritising rather than trying to do everything all at once! I'm sure the drawing a line will come with experience in the profession and when I have my own family to spend time with etc. It's a shame (but reassuring) that most teachers are feeling a little snowed under, I'm going to try these tips and definitely give myself a cut off time during the week which I'm not going to work past. :)
  9. meggyd

    meggyd Senior commenter

    Yes. Put your headphones in and mark to a set list. Also mark as much as possible in class. When they are working quietly call a few up and mark the work with them sitting next to you.
  10. Idiomas11

    Idiomas11 Occasional commenter

    I'm at the same stage of my career as you, OP. I will simply echo others' advice here:
    - Working excessive hours is a false economy; prioritise rest so you can deliver lessons with energy and enthusiasm as this is infectious :)
    - Mark in lessons as much as possible - plan your resources/visuals so that this is easy for pupils to do in class with their own green (or whatever colour it is these days) pens. Monitor in class and mark as they work or have them come to you as meggyd suggested.
    - If you want, join a subject group on Facebook for resources and ideas. However, possible danger of this is that this bleeds into personal life and there are those who seem to 'humblebrag' about how much work they are doing. Ignore them and just take what you can if you decide to do this.
    - Be strict with yourself. Regularly plan a meal out/gym/meeting friend for coffee for a set time so you HAVE to leave at a certain time. Set a cut-off time for all other days.
    - I'm sure pupils want a well-rounded, healthy, happy teacher more than anything. Marking can wait. The important stuff, eg. assessments, longer homeworks etc. matter but the day to day stuff can wait.
    All the best and hope this helps. Look after yourself first and foremost.
  11. Idiomas11

    Idiomas11 Occasional commenter

    *false economy is probably not the term I was looking for but hopefully you know what I meant.
  12. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    This was pretty standard for me in my NQT year, and (I'm afraid) the year after that. By Year 3, I'd built up a sufficient bank of lessons to be able to give myself some free time in the evenings.... or would have done if it hadn't been for massive curriculum and specifications changes!

    Ok, tips.

    Double up planning - can you reteach lessons to multiple classes? Can you share planning loads with a colleague, and plan for each other, thus cutting planning time by 50%? Has any nice person stuck relevant complete schemes of work up on TES resources that you can use and save yourself the time?

    Invest for the future - be organised about saving your plans, so that you can easily locate them again in future years. I'm still using plans I wrote in 2010 now because I was anally retentive about labelling all files ridiculously clearly.

    Templates - assuming you use powerpoint, can you make a generic template, with all your key stages of your lesson on there ready (starter, lesson objectives, peer review, plenary, etc)? That way only minimal editing is needed for each new lesson.

    Marking short cuts - within the bounds of your school's marking policy, how can you speed this up? Can you type up and print off a success criteria for tasks you plan to mark? Students then glue this in their books for you, and all you need do is highlight green for what went well, red for even better if, and then write a short directed improvement task.
    Or, can you type your feedback so that you can then copy and paste it when you realise that out of a class of 30, 15 have made the same misconception, so that saves you hand-writing out the same thing 15 times. Can you mark in class, as you go round and monitor? Can you train students to use the markscheme to give each other feedback and targets, which you just have to stamp "agreed" next to?

    Scheduling lessons - can you arrange your lessons so that students have to write an essay/assignment when you have some other marking ready to do. That way you can mark in class.

    Hope that's helpful! Good luck!
    Cecile1034 likes this.
  13. jessicah57250

    jessicah57250 New commenter

    now a days competition is going high and high. for this teachers have to complete their academics and students have to complete all those activities as an assessments. workload will be more naturally just we have to complete it by taking any other helps.that could be online also.

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