So today I thought that I would treat myself to one of those glorious nothing days. “Oh wait”, you say. “Isn’t it everyday for a student?”. My response, no, not for a trainee teacher!! If you would have said that to me this time last year I would have agreed with you fully as the first year of any course is, in my opinion, a waste of money and time.
But hey, life goes on… All I have had time to think about is ensuring my assignments are the best they can be and also worrying about this years block placement. Luckily, I have been placed in yet another brilliant school full of well behaved children and incredibly helpful staff. I wish I could say that was true for everyone else on my course. *Cue the horror stories*
So upon waking up and engaging in my usual routine; coffee, breakfast, shower, etc… I sat down and started to enjoy my lovely nothing day which ended up being not such a glorious nothing day!! Tonight my family are hosting a firework display for my relatives. Ok… not much planning you’d think, just buy a load of fireworks and that’s sorted… WRONG. At least this rings true with most other families but not mine. It seems we have provided our guests with something of a small (well, relatively large) feast equipped with copious amounts of alcohol (waheyyyy!!). Prepping the food took most of the day for my mum, dad spent most of the day making sure the garden was presentable for people to look at it aimlessly in the dark… I know right?!
I of course got dragged into this, so alas my glorious nothing day had come to a halt before it even began.
NOW, in the time I was away from helping with the prepping I managed to sit down and begin flicking through this weeks issues of my various magazine subscriptions. As you can probably guess, a few interesting points caught my eye!
Now we know that teaching isn’t the most forgiving and social profession out there but I have seen the same recurring themed headlines throughout various articles: Excessive workload and working hours are taking their toll (Teaching Today 2014). Some of the points conveyed are truly worrying as this issue is now causing teachers to consider quitting their jobs due to an increased workload. Approximately six out of ten teachers express this view.
THAT’S NOT ALL:
- Eight out of ten teachers say their job has negatively affected their HEALTH and WELLBEING.
- Over HALF have reported job satisfaction has declined over the last 12 months.
- Resignations from teaching are UP and applications for teacher training are DOWN.
It seems that all enthusiasm for this profession has taken a turn for the worse due to the increase in workload. For me, the expectations for teachers are, the majority of the time, too high. Certain teachers have certain strategies for dealing with aspects of their workload such as marking. I remember on my last block practice, the amount of marking I had to do for just ONE lesson was substantial. It took me a good hour to mark about thirty books. To put it into perspective, most schools that I have been in timetable about 5-6 lessons on average each day. Five lessons equals up to five hours of marking (depending on lesson content). This is on top of 5-6 hours of teaching time so we already have up to 10 hours of work in one day. This is without taking time to plan lessons and fulfill wider responsibilities. Most teachers plan at weekends and use the last weeks assessment to inform next weeks planning. I could carry on talking about this issue FOREVER but I won’t, maybe in future posts I shall revisit the subject.
And you wonder why teachers have long holidays? To make up for all of the weekends they have lost due to their massive workload! So please… next time you hear someone moan about all of the time teachers get off each year, please give them a message from me: “Please, don’t”.
ANYWAY… now to the better, less dreary, subject.
If you are like me and also subscribe to various teaching magazines, you are very smart. Not only do these magazines provide you with fantastic ideas for your lessons as well as up to date news in the world of education, they also give you FREE STUFF!!
As a student, I am able to become a member of all three teaching unions for free: NUT, ATL and NASUWT. Sometimes they team up with businesses to bring you certain offers at a discounted price or on the rare occasion, for FREE.
In November’s issue of NASUWT’s ‘Teaching Today’ you receive a free ‘Gourmet Society’ membership card which has a normal value of £69.95!! This membership card (once activated) allows you to get up to 50% off at your favourite restaurants!! Mine being Bella Italia.
So no, I am not providing anything directly for free and I do apologize but I hope that I have now made you aware of these services by the teaching unions. I highly recommend becoming a member of at least one union, not just for the free stuff, but if anything ever went wrong on placement or at school once you have qualified, they have you back. You can sign up to unions via their website. I also recommend subscribing to TES, it allows you access to FREE resources, lesson plans, lesson ideas, behaviour management strategies, you name it! Well worth a look into. http://www.tes.co.uk
Now people are starting to arrive for the firework display and I should probably go and join them out in the cold. Thanks again to anyone who is reading my blog, I know it is only a very select few in these early days but stay tuned, I have a lot more to blog about in my journey to becoming a teacher!!