Do you want to admit it?
If you are, I expect to see you lying on the floor exhausted.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about … keep reading:
Here are three ways you can discover if you are one of the 25% AND what you can do to change it:
- Watch my video below (20 minutes); OR
- Read the blog post below (5 minutes); OR
- Download my free guide “5 Secrets to Leaving School Before 5pm” by clicking here. (30 seconds)
The Guardian recently reported findings from a study conducted by the UCL Institute of Education. It reported that teachers, on average, work 47 hours per week in England.
And guess what?
25% of teachers in England are regularly working 60 hours a week or more.
Let me say that again….
A quarter of us are working 60 hours a week or more and that figure hasn’t changed historically.
This is a long term survey and a long term study. Our workloads are not getting easier despite the efforts of the last three education secretaries who have committed to try and reduce workloads through planning and collaboration with teachers.
It’s just not getting better.
The study says that just over 20 hours a week is allocated to lesson planning, administration, classroom management and so on. Another 22 hours is allocated to contact time in class.
And whilst the government are apparently making efforts to try and reduce our workload, it’s not making a difference.
So what can we do?
When I started Guzled back in 2014, my motto was to “Teach Great Physics Lessons”. But as Guzled evolved, my mission has become supporting physics teachers and teaching more efficient physics lessons.
- I want you to get home by five o’clock.
- I want to get home by five o’clock.
- I want to see my kids,
- I want to hang out with my friends.
- I want to have a life.
And whilst we do have these extended teacher holidays, it doesn’t make our workload any easier during term time.
So here at Guzled we have come up with five instantly actionable strategies that you can employ to try and reduce the time spent at school.
Strategy number one is to do with MARKING.
My advice? Don’t do it
The Department for Education suggests that the old-fashioned way of marking is a complete waste of time. I’ll quote from the 2016 report it says,
“If your current approach to marking is unmanageable or disproportionate, stop it and adopt an approach that considers exactly what the pupil needs to achieve.” – DfE (2016)
If you HAVE TO take a class of homework home for marking, quickly scan the whole class of homework and check for common errors. Then address those common errors in class. Do not spend your whole night marking the everyone’s homework individually. It’s not worth your time. If there really are a few pupils that need some prompts, then give those prompts to a few pupils.
Self-assessment for homework and marking is key. We all know that physics is a problem-solving subject and students can’t improve their problem-solving skills unless they begin to practice that skill. It’s more than reasonable for you to put the solutions of the homework up on the board and let the students market themselves.
Before I finish strategy number one, I need you to do one thing.
I need you to be brave, okay?
By releasing yourself from traditional marking, you might have to really stand up to the more traditional structures within your school (headteacher, Director of Studies, Parents, Head of Deoartment).
There may be a marking policy that you’re going to have to stand up and say, “Is this the best use of our time?” Let’s say that you spend 20 minutes on each pupil’s homework and then write extended comments….. do you really think the pupils are going to sit down and give you that equal amount of time and attention on the comments that you wrote? And then do you really think that they’re going to strive to not make those mistakes next time?
The answer is no.
STRATEGY 2: TOPIC TESTS
Strategy number two is topic tests.
I really do believe that you should mark topic tests.
Wait a minute, I’ve just told you not to do any marking…. Well, topic tests are different. I think they give you some clear results that you can write reports from. They give you some very clear benchmarks and ideas of what your student is struggling with. So I do feel that topic tests are important, but they can be done very quickly.
I do not want you to give any feedback or any corrections on topic tests okay!?! You simply give them the mark for the question and you move on.
So I know what you’re thinking. Well, how will the student learn from this?
Well, this is my magic marketing grid. It is a way for students to receive personalized feedback on their performance in the topic test without you having to do a thing. You simply give this marking grid to the students.
There’s more information on how to use the marking grid in my free CPD webinar (click here to register)
When using this magic marking grid, the pupils will come up with their own areas for development and exam techniques that they need to improve. They will do it all for you.
While strategy number one was NOT doing any marking, strategy number two is yes, please do mark topic tests, but please do nothing else.
STRATEGY 3: DEFINITIONS
Strategy number three is help those students increase their grades by 8 to 11%.
You do nothing. NOTHING!
Well actually that’s a lie. You have to make sure that your pupils have access to a phone or a laptop or a computer (with Internet) in your class.
Let me clarify. Most exams, particularly GCSE, A-Level and IB, allocate 8 to 11% of those exam papers to the basic recall of fact. It might be definitions or basic descriptions ( For example, the pressure in a gas or the definition of simple harmonic motion). Your students have to get these facts and memorise them.
You cannot do that for them.
You can teach them the topic, but you cannot then make them memorise.
Luckily, there is a tool that does that for you and it’s called Quizlet. It’s free.
Quizlet is something I use once a once a month with all my classes. I book an ICT room or I ask them to bring in their phones, which they like (if it’s allowed in the school). I set them a task of learning definitions and basic recall of facts using Quizlet.
There are really great little games they can play against each other. You could do a test at the end of the class to test them on their learning and, of course, they would peer mark that test.
I really recommend Quizlet in terms of reducing your workload, increasing their effectiveness and exam results AND giving you time while they are working on the computer to get your marking or reports done.
STRATEGY 4: PRIORITIZE LEAVING WORK
I actually sit an alarm on my iPhone.
I leave work when that alarm goes off. I make it a reasonable time. If the school finishes at 3:30pm, I don’t make it for 3:31pm! It depends on childcare.
Do you know what I don’t do? I don’t go around the department and say “goodbye” to everybody because, whilst it’s really sociable and I value my colleagues as much as possible, that adds on a good 20 minutes to my departure. There’s always something that people want to discuss and I find that a great thing to do over lunch, so I don’t say goodnight to everybody.
I literally get up and leave.
STRATEGY 5: PLANNING
The Department for Education (as stated in their report in 2016) are trying to reduce workloads, in particular they’re looking reducing planning time.
The Department for Education have Five Principles that they use to ensure that your planning is productive and manageable.
Let me talk you through those five principles.
- Plan a sequence of lessons is more important than writing an individual lesson plan. So when you sit down to plan lessons, do not start with an individual lesson plan. You will get sucked in. The first thing you should do is plan a sequence of lessons based on a topic that you are currently teaching.
- Schemes of work should be in place for all teachers to use. I know that’s not the case. I know that. In many schools, you are a single physics teacher fighting to get a scheme of work in place.
- Planning should not be done to please outside organizations. So if you have any form of inspection coming up, they do not expect to see a lesson plan. SPREAD THE WORD!!! it is not expected to happen. Ofsted have confirmed it. The Department for Education have confirmed it. You don’t need to provide lesson plans.
- Planning should take place in well-defined blocks of time. Perhaps you’ve got two free lessons on a Tuesday morning. That time should be blocked out and you should be planning during that time
- The most important principle (according to Guzled)…..effective planning makes use of high quality, externally produced teaching resources
Guess where you can get them?????
But before we talk about Guzled
I’m going to ask you four questions.
- Do you really think that spending 45 minutes creating a bespoke worksheet for one class is worth the time and effort. (No)
- Has any bespoke resource significantly improved learning in class by any measurable amount? (Maybe?)
- Say you’ve found a resource online. Maybe it’s not quite at the right level or it covers a question that you’re not ready for your class to tackle yet. Does it matter (No)
- Do you really enjoy making resources? Do you know what? That’s why I have a resources business. I love making my own teaching resources, but could this be a task for when you’re less busy perhaps over the summer? Is it NOT a task for when you’ve got reports, when you’ve got five classes a day at the start of term? (No, I’m afraid it’s not.)
If I were you would take the advice from the Department for Education and I would use high quality, externally produced teaching resources, AND…
You can get them from Guzled
Finally, I would highly recommend engaging in collaborative planning with your colleagues. Collaborative planning ensures consistency throughout the department. So if you do have colleagues, if you plan collaboratively, what that means is each class is getting the benefit of the expertise from everyone in the department and that just feels very good. If you don’t have the collaboration in your department and you are stretched for time like the 25% of secondary teachers in England who are working 60 hours a week or more, I recommend you give Guzled a try.
I have worked extremely hard in the last five years to make Guzled as cost effective as possible for you.
I’m not a millionaire. I don’t do this to make profit. I do it because I love it.
So please don’t be one of these 25% and I know that one of these 25%.
So I hope you found this useful. I have linked the article from the Guardian about our teacher workloads below.
If you would like to learn more. I have a free guide called “5 secrets to leaving school before 5pm” and I invite you to download this here.
Have a great day!