Managing and Reducing Teacher Workload

Managing and Reducing Teacher Workload

11th March 2020

For this journal entry, I have collaborated with Molly (@mimmerr) of https://mimmerr.co.uk to write about reducing and managing teacher workload.

Maintaining a sustainable workload is something I am passionate about as it is all too easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of work required as a teacher. If you let it, your to-do list will become never-ending and all-consuming. There is always work to be done so it is essential that you strike a work-life balance and find ways to manage and reduce the tremendous workload.

Teacher Busy Working

First, here is some of my own advice:

Organisation is key
I am a list-maker through and through. I’m one of those people who would forget my head if it weren’t attached to my body. I have to write everything down, whether this be in a notebook or an application such as Wunderlist or Trello. I also keep track of all my deadlines using Google Calendar but a paper diary or calendar would be just as useful.

Time is precious
Try to mark what you can during each lesson as this lightens your workload each evening and also allows the children to receive live feedback. As I’m sure you’re well aware, children regularly forget what they were doing before break never mind in last week’s Science lesson so receiving feedback as soon as possible is always beneficial. Another way to save yourself time is to ask the children to leave their books open in piles so they are already on the correct page when you come to mark.

Routines make all the difference
If you ensure that the pupils in your class have well-established routines, this will certainly save you time and effort. Registration and end-of-day routines will run more smoothly and children will tidy up after themselves meaning you don’t have to spend time searching for glue stick lids and picking up pencils.  If you appoint monitors for various classroom tasks, this will save you a job or two. There are always those children who love to be helpful! 🙋🏽‍♀️🙋🏻‍♂️

Next, I will share with you some contributions from the world of #EduTwitter. Use the button below to get involved in the discussion by tweeting about the ways in which you manage your workload.

Tim (KS 3, 4, 5 in Alternative Provision)

“I find the key to doing my job well is to do my lesson planning in a reasonable amount of detail during the holidays. This saves me time during term time to allow me to get the other aspects of my job done.”

How do you manage your workload?

[…] I rely on my teacher planner a lot, plus the post-its within it. I can focus a lot better on the tasks at hand when I have a list to work through, especially if the list is specific to that day. I am trying to use Microsoft To-do to act as a kind of semi-automated to do list, and I am trying to use Microsoft Teams to coordinate my pastoral workload with others. I find the key to doing my job well is to do my lesson planning in a reasonable amount of detail during the holidays. This saves me time in term time, allowing me to get the other aspects of my job done. […] It’s in the ethos of the school for staff to help each other out. My SLT are very supportive and if I say I need some time, they rally round to make it possible.

What aspect of your workload would you like to manage better?

My school are in the process of scrapping marking and switching to feedback, however I feel I do not give the pupils enough written feedback or carefully design learning around their needs and knowledge gaps/misconceptions. All my classes are mixed ability, for example one has 12 pupils ranging from Year 8 to 13, all doing Science in the same room at the same time. Add in pupils’ SEND needs as well as risk factors associated with their ongoing situations and diagnoses, and it becomes impossible to personalise the learning too much. I do need to get better at planning in greater depth, at greater speed and with more skill around strategies that work in different risk and SEND situations. I guess the fact I’m writing this at 23:45 is telling!

Follow Tim @moth754

Robyn (KS1)

“Planning takes me a really long time so anything to cut that down would be great.”

How do you manage your workload?

I get my Year 1 children to stick their own work in their books – it’s not always straight but helps to promote their independence as well as saving me time!

What aspect of your workload would you like to manage better?

Planning takes me a really long time so anything to cut that down would be great.

Follow Robyn @misswatson_94

Dan (KS 3 & 4)

“One way I manage my workload is the use of marking grids.”

How do you manage your workload?

One way I manage my workload is the use of marking grids. They took a while to make but they are all set for each assessment across KS3. I get the students to stick these in at the end of their assessments and then when it comes to marking, it’s a case of identifying a couple of WWWs [What went well?], an EBI [Even better if] with a highlighter and then just adding a personalised comment below.

What aspect of your workload would you like to manage better?

I’d like to manage the amount of work I do outside of school better. I usually manage to take Saturdays off as a ‘me day’ but I’m usually marking, preparing, resourcing or adapting in the evenings and on Sundays. I’ve also just started to create a curriculum for a new KS4 subject as the lead teacher so that’s added to my workload as well as mentoring a PGCE trainee.

Follow Dan @historyguy7292

Petite Joueuse (KS 3, 4 & 5)

“My management of my workload has been helped enormously this year since adopting Planboard as my planning method.”

How do you manage your workload?

My workload management has been helped enormously this year since adopting Planboard as my planning method. Planboard is web based, so accessible from anywhere. At a glance, I can see what lessons and events I have per day, per week, per month or per term. I can view all of my planned lessons for one particular class. I can easily plan a lesson and then copy it to another class. If a lesson is disrupted, I can push the disrupted lesson onto the next available slot for that class, and all of that classes’ lessons then get moved accordingly. Classes are colour coded so it is easy to see when the next lesson is. In many ways, I’m only scratching the surface of Planboard and its potential. There are ways of linking in standards and mark books but for the moment, the planning is my focus and it has definitely streamlined the process for me. I am looking forward to reassigning the lessons I have planned this year onto next year’s timetable.

What aspect of your workload would you like to manage better?

I would like to improve the whole marking/feedback process. I still feel this takes too long (even though I now do whole class feedback and I use Qwiqr for verbal feedback).

Follow Petite Joueuse @petitejoueuse

I’d like to thank all of the above teachers for their contributions and suggestions. I’ll definitely be acting on a few of these tips myself. If you would like to read more suggestions from other teachers, please head over to https://mimmerr.co.uk for suggestions from @Mr_M_Musings , @mimmerr and @shanghaijake.

I’d love to hear from you regarding your workload management and whether any of these suggestions have been useful to you. Use the button below to share this post and add your own suggestions.

And teachers, please remember to look after yourselves!