When I started my career as a teacher I sincerely thought I would be teaching all the time. And at first that was exactly what I did. Mind you, we’re talking over thirty years ago now. The down side of that was that no one knew exactly what their colleagues were doing behind those closed class room doors. And no one would ever find out because nothing was written down.
Over the years things started to change. And at first most were happy. It did mean some extra work and definitely some more people peeking in your class room but hey … we did a better job. Or so we hoped.
Fast forward to the year 2013. Imagine a teacher in her class room, happily teaching her kids. Four weeks into the new school year said teacher needs to fill in several forms about all her pupils for almost all the subjects she teaches … in great detail. No problem? Of course not … were it not that all information is are already filed on a different form. She just needs to do it again … several times over. Only to file them away and not look at them till January … when she needs to do it all over again.
This week, when all this took place said teacher (me, lol) reached frustration level Z … the highest form! Not keeping updates was not the best way to keep a school running but this is administrative overload. Oh yes, and I teach all day too! That hasn’t changed!
The worst is that it’s not just my school that’s suffering from this silliness. It’s a national problem and affecting all teachers. Burn-out and sick-leave are more and more common. For some reason government has decided teachers are not to be trusted and we need to document our every move.
Again, I’m not against a system to keep track of how pupils are doing and what I need to teach. Plans and evaluations are all right. But why so many?
I don’t blame my school. They do what they can to help us, even giving hours off so we can work on all the plans. I do blame our government. They are great in talking the talk (“we will look at how we can lower the work load”) but walking the walk is quite another matter. Most of the time the work load gets heavier after these soothing words.
Maybe I’m just like everyone else … I don’t trust my government anymore. Not after thirty-something years of teaching.