The only solution to teacher workload is to structurally invest time. Any other spending on education without investing in structural time costs less but is not cost-effective because it doesn’t enhance the provision of education. The provision of education can only be enhanced by recognising and resourcing the central resource to teaching: the teacher. The principle resource a teacher needs to do her job is structural time. The job of a teacher is a holistic job which incorporates many aspects. The individual teacher must manage those aspects pro-actively, not in crisis, and certainly not compromised into a situation of being exploited. The teacher does not need to be managed by a system which doesn’t recognise the holistic nature of her job, nor by anyone who is not directly involved in her teaching. When the job of teaching becomes divided, time-managed, finance-managed, politically-managed, pressure-managed, productivity-managed, then the workload becomes too much. The cup is not even half-full it is leaking very slowly through numerous hairline cracks and the sellotape used to mend them.
Teachers need to be managed as a human resource rather than as an a-human means of productivity. When this is done the ethos of teaching will take care of itself.
I see these two strategies (management of human resource; nurture of the ethos of teaching) as being symbiotic: having additional staff to teach the same number of classes will mean that each teacher will have more time to prepare, assess and feedback on the lessons they teach. It is simply no use at all giving a teacher a full timetable and no structural support time to deliver that timetable. When no structural time is given to the preparation/feedback of lessons it is left to the individual teacher’s sense of professionalism – in their own, unpaid, time – to provide that preparation/feedback. If the management of teaching comes to rely on – and expect – that level of professional commitment without either paying for it or supporting it, then it is exploiting teacher’s professionalism.
You would need to halve every teacher’s timetable (// double the amount of teachers) in order to support professionalism rather than exploit it. Only then could you expect (and receive) true, clear attainment in a school, a year group, nationally and for each individual without at all having to manipulate statistics. Yes you would have to double expenditure on education but it would be the only cost-effective way of spending that much money. Saving money by spending smaller amounts on peripheral items of education (yes even on new buildings, computers, status) makes little difference and is soon used up. A teacher is integral to teaching and lasts for 30-40 years if well-maintained.
The national government ought to do its job (define the Education Act, provision/entitlement – not to stick pins into the system while seeking some other goal); the local government ought to do its job (provide the resources to schools with which to serve the provision/enablement and not have to find ways of saving money but simultaneously expect the same service); and the schools can then do their job: enable. If this happened there would be no exploitation of teacher professionality, education would happen and there would be no need of bolt-on interaction between governments and schools. And teachers would work primarily – and happily – with the true sense of professionalism (i.e. vocation) rather than the peripheral effect of professionalism, committed (obliged) hours of (result-only-measured) work.
managerialism & money wormhole: Put service back into people rather than productivity
performance wormhole: Continuing / Professional / Development
politics wormhole: management and managerialism
professionalism & workload wormhole: Professionalism … in teaching
resource wormhole: teaching performance
teaching craft wormhole: Put service back into people rather than productivity
value-led education wormhole: I think I know why I don’t like teaching, even though I quite like teaching and am quite good at it, even if I do have to say so myself