I didn’t blog for SIG last week because I was drowning in paperwork, like most of us when we start work after the summer break. I was thinking about how hard I find admin week in September, even though my tasks from year to year are quite similar. I also often fantasise what it must feel like to take my summer sunshine and share it immediately with my students, without coating it in reports, timetable headaches, placement tests and so on.
This week’s Telegraph reported Nicky Morgan, the UK Education Secretary, saying “Teachers should spend more of their working week in the classroom rather than carrying out pointless administration tasks”. I agree. But surely not all admin tasks are pointless, just like surely not all admin tasks have a point. How do we decide what’s really useful from those which could be handled more efficiently?
I interviewed a teacher this week on how she finds doing administrative tasks and she responded “The start of a school year is crucial. It’s fun, exciting and sometimes a little scary. This dynamism can set the tone for the whole school year, as first impressions really count…Our relationship with students is what teaching is all about – not struggling with Excel and numbers. Relationships need time to develop. I mean, the more time we spend in the classroom, the better it is for us and the students alike – the will to learn grows, along with trust and commitment.We are teachers because we love seeing students grow and develop. We are trained as teachers and we have a vocation. We are not trained in admin – we often find it baffling”
Do you agree? Do you think that institutions need to take responsibility for training teachers to do admin tasks? Would you like to spend more time in your classroom and less time on paperwork about your classroom? How useful are admin tasks to your teaching?
If you’re a teacher who does admin for your school and wouldn’t mind being interviewed by the TDSIG please do comment on this post and we’ll be touch. I think there’s a lot of potential for dialogue around the administrative tasks that teachers need to do and how they can do them.