Posts Tagged ‘Teacher Welfare’

Nobody Cops “Mean” More Than Teachers

January 12, 2020

 

No teacher is perfect and I’m sure we can frustrate our students from time to time, but no profession nets more negative feedback than the classroom teacher.

We get told to improve our performance from all angles. Principals, administrators, parents, fellow teachers and students all weigh in. Teachers are said to be the most bullied of all occupations. Worse than even the tax office and telecommunications employees.

Yet, for the most part, most take it in their stride and can still laugh at themselves.

That says a lot!

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

10 Tips for Teachers on how to Improve Their Work/Life Balance

December 10, 2014

 

tired

For most of my working life I have been a full time teacher and primary caregiver for my dear children. The immense workload has forced me to become more organised and has necessitated a high level of routine. Still, striking a fair balance is a problem I have yet to conquer sufficiently.

My number one rule is to avoid doing any planning, marking or reporting while my children are awake. This does mean that I push those things off until very late at night, but it is important to me that my children have my undivided attention.

Here are some other tips courtesy of theguardian.com:

 

Give students word limits to ease marking

When I taught English I found it worked well sometimes to give pupils a word limit. If they couldn’t write at too great a length, they were far more selective and thoughtful about what they included, the quality of their writing went up and my marking load went down – a win-win situation. Also, writing succinctly and within constraints is a good life skill for students to have in the future.

Jill Berry is former headteacher of Dame Alice Harpur school in Bedford and an education consultant.

If you’re fit and healthy you’ll perform better in class

Things like having a hobby or making sure you get a good eight hours’ sleep a night can make the world of difference. What makes teaching unique is that teachers personally invest in their students and the success of their school, which can make it harder to switch off. But we strongly believe that healthier teachers can lead to higher marks. Abesenteeism is costly but presenteeism is also a growing problem. So don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. If you are fit and healthy – physically and mentally – you will be able to perform better in the classroom and do the best for your pupils.

– Julian Stanley is chief executive of the Teacher Support Network.

Think about when you work best

Think about the quality of time as well as the quantity available. About 20% of a working day is prime time and, used well, should produce 80% of your best work. The rest of your time will be nowhere near as productive, so it’s worth recognising which part of the day is best for you and maximising it to get something demanding done rather than flogging yourself when you’re tired.

– Sara Bubb works in the Department of Early Years and Primary Education at the Institute of Education.

Change your mindset

Stepping out of the “victim” mindset and being more assertive about what you can and can’t do, and will and won’t do, is one way of achieving a better work-life balance.

The only thing is, there is always something more you can do. You can always put a little bit more effort into supporting a child with special educational needs, trying to close the gap between boys and girls, or pupils on free school meals and others. There is no limit to what you can do and it’s probably that that prevents teachers from switching off after work.

– Agnieszka Karch is a research team leader at The Key for School Leaders.

Don’t take your work home with you

Work professional hours (I get to school at 7am and leave around 4.30pm) and if it’s not done within those hours it cannot be that important. Have a prioritised to-do list and stick with it. Planning for progress and providing feedback to the children should always be at the top of this list. This will lead to improved outcomes for pupils and if your results stack up then the powers-that-be will have nothing to throw at you.

Joe Durham is a qualified secondary teacher and co-founder of the Timemanagement4teachers website.

Make time to socialise

When we feel stressed, anxious or depressed we may shy away from social events. However, connecting with the people around you (your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours) and actively building these relationships/creating a support network is extremely important for your mental health.

– Nicola Kershaw is a mental health and wellbeing advocate working with a number of charities including Mind and Time to Change.

Support others and be supported

Work with the strengths of the people around you and actively seek support from them, if you need it. Actively give support too: someone needs to start a change of direction and you could be the one to do it.

Andrew Staples is a primary teacher working four days a week in school with targeted intervention groups across key stage 1 and 2.

Look at things mathematically

I often look at teacher workloads mathematically. In the US, we see a lot of folks complaining about paperwork because lots of our time is occupied by things that seem unrelated to what’s actually happening in our day-to-day. For example, why have all these meetings to talk about pedagogy when we could easily grade a set of papers so we don’t have to take them home?

Remarks about “spurious data entry and analysis” are critical too; we really have to start looking at what data matters and what information we glean from it. Unfortunately, that gets lost in trying to become data managers.

– José Luis Vilson is a maths teacher for a middle school in New York City.

If you’re struggling speak out

What’s most important is that all teachers feel confident to speak out if they feel overwhelmed. Don’t shy away from showing what you fear might be considered weakness and share your concerns with supportive leaders. We need to be at our best to make a difference.

– Oliver Beach is a 2012 Teach First ambassador and appeared in the BBC documentary Tough Young Teachers.

 

Click on the link to read News Flash: Teachers Make Mistakes!

Click on the link to read Is There a More Undervalued Career than Teaching?

Click on the link to read Tribute to the Fallen Teachers

Click on the link to read  You Can’t Expect Your Students to be Flexible If You Aren’t

Click on the link to read How Many Teachers Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? (Part 1)

Click on the link to read The Classroom Shouldn’t be a War Zone for Our Teachers

Should Teachers be Videotaped?

December 30, 2013

 

chalk

 

When I was a kid I always wanted to be on the big screen, but now I’m not so sure.

Sure, private screenings with a colleague could net me one of those rather large buttered popcorn bags and a Big Gulp, but I’m not sure the rest of the process would be all that much fun.

The latest call to videotape teachers at work so that their approach and style can be scrutinised by a mentor or peer may not be as effective as it sounds. Sure, I would learn a great deal from watching my lessons back on tape and perhaps my examiner may come up with useful insights, but more realistically it would lead to tension.

If teaching was all about one style fits all then this idea is a winner, but it isn’t. The way I teach would not necessarily impress teachers who have a very different style and vice versa. At the end of the day, I am more interested in developing ways to improve student outcomes than following the herd. This process would involve trying to get teachers to teach in a singular style rather than their own natural style.

But having said that, I believe that classrooms should be videotaped.

Not for the cinematic pressure of being dissected by a peer, but for the legal protection of both teacher and student. By using CCTV cameras, there will be less cases of false teacher accusations and teachers who have committed serious breaches of their duty of care will be caught and dealt with more expediently.

But what about reflecting on your teaching? What about being assessed?

I am assessed all the time. Formally, informally, through questions without notice, bi-annual Principal/teacher conferences, surveys that are filled out by parents and students alike and who can forget about the fallout from standardised testing results.

Still, if you recreate the Gold Class cinema experience, I may join you for at least a few minutes in the screening room.  Let’s hope my production isn’t a comedy, or worse, a horror!

 

Click on the link to read Guess What Percentage of Teachers Considered Quitting this Year

Click on the link to read The Classroom Shouldn’t be a War Zone for Our Teachers

Click on the link to read Remember When Teachers Were Shown Respect? (Video)

Click on the link to read If You Think Teaching is so Easy You Should Try it for Yourself

Click on the link to read Teachers are Extremely Vulnerable to False Accusations

 

Has Teaching Become a Dangerous Profession?

November 30, 2013

 

fire

Cases like this make you wonder whether teachers are increasingly vulnerable to classroom attacks:

A Tennessee high school teacher was set on fire by one of her students, cops said.

WATE reports that Gabriela Penalba, 23, turned her back to her class on Monday morning at West High School in Knoxville when a 15-year-old male student set her hair and shirt ablaze using his lighter, police said.

Students quickly put the fire out.

Gawker notes that the student allegedly “exploited the commotion” by throwing the lighter out the window and fleeing before being captured by police.

The quick thinking of her students helped Penalba avoid any burns, according to WBIR.

The student faces aggravated assault and evading arrest charges.

His name has not been released because he’s a minor and has not been charged as an adult.

 

Click on the link to read The Importance of a Second Chance

Click on the link to read I Also Had a Student Hold a Toy Gun to my Face

Click on the link to read Who is Going to Stand Up For Bullied Teachers?

Click on the link to read 12 Tips for Managing Time in the Classroom

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Different Professions, Same Experiences

 

Standardized Testing Sucking the Love Out of Teaching (Video)

May 26, 2013

 

 

Many teachers have had their love of teaching eroded because of the emphasis on standardized testing. The teacher featured in this powerful video above, uses YouTube to resign from a profession she once loved.

I found this quote to be most compelling:

“Raising students’ test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal. And in order to achieve it, the creativity, flexibility and spontaneity that create authentic learning environments have been eliminated. Everything I loved about teaching is extinct.”

 

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Cheat are “as Dumb as Hell”

Click on the link to read Standardized Tests for Teachers!

Click on the link to read Oops, We Seem to Have Lost Your Exams

Click on the link to read I’m Just Gonna Say It: Standardised Tests Suck!

Click on the link to read Too Many Tests, Not Enough Teaching

 

Support Teachers Before they Have a ‘Meltdown’

March 5, 2013

chalk

Teacher meltdowns are often ugly and they are toxic in a school environment. When they occur, inevitably, disciplinary action must be taken to ensure that the offense doesn’t happen again.

Whilst a teacher doesn’t have an excuse when they act unprofessionally, it is vital that more support and greater welfare provisions are available for what is a highly stressful and sometimes quite unforgiving occupation.

The teacher that wrote an intimidating message on the chalkboard of his classroom deserves to be severely punished for his inexcusable actions. However, with 28 years of service, I only wish he would have been able to seek help instead of  feeling the need to vent in such a way:

A northwest Indiana teacher is the subject of a police probe over a threatening message he scrawled on the chalkboard of his classroom.

According to ABC Chicago, the teacher at Edison Junior-Senior High School in Lake Station, Ind., wrote the following message on his chalkboard following after he had a “meltdown” during his sixth-period personal finance class last week:

A.) You are idiots!!!!!!!!B.) The guns are loaded!!!

C.) Care to try me???????

Students took a photo of the message and the image was circulated on social media, prompting school administrators to take action. The teacher was told to leave the school last Friday morning while an investigation into the apparent threat is completed.

Both police and the Lake County prosecutor’s office are working on the matter, according to Fox Chicago, and charges may yet be filed against the teacher.

According to CBS Chicago, the school sent out a district-wide call to students’ parents assuring them that “your student was never in danger” and that “the staff member is currently not in school.”

The teacher, a 28-year veteran of the school, has never been disciplined before, according to ABC.

 

Click on the link to read I Also Had a Student Hold a Toy Gun to my Face

Click on the link to read Who is Going to Stand Up For Bullied Teachers?

Click on the link to read 12 Tips for Managing Time in the Classroom

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One

Click on the link to read Different Professions, Same Experiences

Click on the link to read Our Pay Isn’t the Problem

As Long as Teachers are Unhappy, Students Will Be Too

July 21, 2012

Too many quality teachers in the making are having their spirit crushed, their confidence eroded and their love of teaching taken from them:

SWAMPED teachers who quit the classroom say their passion has been “killed off” and they feel “overwhelmed and undervalued”.

And the profession has been described as “toxic” with a possible “crisis” looming.

The damning descriptions are part of exit surveys of 261 teachers and staff who resigned from the Education Department between January 2011 and January 2012, outlined in a report obtained by The Sunday Times this week.

The report also shows:

* More teachers blame poor work-life balance and workload pressures for their decision to quit, with those reasons cited in 13.4 per cent of resignations.

* Eleven per cent cited family reasons and just under one in 10 said they wanted to pursue other interests.

* Health issues were blamed by 8 per cent of those who quit in the past year.

* Staff said the department’s methods for dealing with disruptive students needed the greatest attention.

* Seven out of 10 teachers leaving the department said they would consider returning in the future, indicating most were generally happy.

There are many teachers who have not quit but are literally going through the motions. Our students require teachers who enjoy what they do. Any changes to our failing education system must address this.

Click here to read ‘5 Tips for Stressed Teachers’.

Click here to read ‘The Overwhelming Responsibilities of the Modern Teacher’

What is the Punishment for Beating up a Teacher?

July 17, 2012

The only thing worse than the statistic that more than 5 teachers are being assulted by students in public schools every day, is that nothing seems to be done about it.

Putting the obvious pain factor of being assulted aside, can you imagine how humiliating it would be to be kicked and punched by a child in front of your own students? Can you imagine what that does the teacher’s authority and self-respect?

ALARMING new figures show there were 1062 assaults on teachers in the state’s public system last year – an average of more than five every school day.

Education Department figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, also show 144 were classed as “critical” incidents.

In 2011, teachers lodged 46 compensation claims for assaults by students aged between 5 and 15 – an increase on 38 claims in 2010, and 40 in 2009.

Education leaders say teachers are at greater risk of being assaulted because students have “much more complex problems”.

I’ve been hit by students before (albeit very young students) and I’ve had objects thrown at me. There is nothing much I can do about it. I would rather get a black eye from a student than jeopardise my career by restraining him (if restraining him required force). But should I even have to ponder such a scenario?

This frightening statistic is due to 2 factors. Firstly, there is a lack of respect for teachers among all quarters of society. This lack of respect filters down to impressionable students who see how badly their own parents treat their teachers and think that tormenting the teacher is fair game. And secondly, there is a complete lack of deterrence to send the message that assaulting a teacher is unacceptable.

This whole excuse of students having more ‘complex problems’ is garbage. The truth is, schools have become soft on this sort of behaviour. They tend to be  more interested in keeping the parent body happy than keeping teachers safe.

Click here to read, ‘Teachers Stripped of the Ability to Give Punishments That Work’.

Bullying is Acceptable when it’s Directed to a Teacher

July 3, 2012

 

Bullying of all kinds is abhorrent.

When a child is bullied it is rightly considered unlawful, yet when a teacher is bullied it’s considered free speech. The only thing stopping the vulgar website Rate My Teachers from being banned is the fact that it is an American website which is allowed to operate under the guise of free speech.

The teachers’ union wants the Education Department to shut down a website it says allows students to make defamatory and slanderous comments about their teachers.

The State School Teachers Union council resolved recently to write to the department asking it to close the Rate My Teachers website that some students use to abuse teachers personally and professionally.

“The website has allowed anonymous postings for some years, many of which would be found to be defamatory and slanderous of teachers if tested against legislation,” the resolution said.

The US-based website’s rules state posts will be removed if they contain profanity, name-calling or vulgarity, but recent comments about WA schoolteachers include “She is a whore”, “He is a douche bag” and “Sadistic bitch, she is a horrible teacher”.

Other posts say teachers are “bad” or “completely incompetent”. The website emerged in Australia six years ago, but this is the first time the union has made a formal request for help from the department.

Can you imagine if there was a website called ‘Rate My Students’?

Freedom of speech? I don’t think so!

If You Respect Teachers, Please Stand Up

May 15, 2012

There is a growing hostility against teachers from the Government down, and children are picking up on it. There is little use reinforcing the message that respect for teachers is paramount to students whose own parents openly treat the classroom teacher with disdain. Teachers are not trusted to do their job, are having to write-up ludicrously long and detailed planners to prove they are covering the curriculum and are subjected to a distasteful smear campaign from elements within the educational system looking for someone to blame.

Why should we be surprised if children exploit the lack of respect for teachers within elements of society?

A STUDENT holds a replica pistol to the head of a staff member in the playground – while a Year 9 boy at another school sprays urine on his teacher.

These disturbing scenes are happening at schools across NSW, just two of 218 serious incidents logged during term four last year in reports to the Department of Education and Training.

The reports show teachers being abused, assaulted and sometimes forced to disarm out-of-control students during fights.

One student fight even featured a didgeridoo as an improvised weapon, while in another incident a pupil stole a teacher’s handbag and made off with her car.

Last November, a Year 8 student threatened a teacher with a replica pistol from the drama department at a south coast school. The deputy principal tried to intervene and was abused by the student.

Meanwhile, at an Illawarra school, a Year 9 student urinated into a bottle and sprayed it on a male teacher on playground duty.

Precise details of the schools, students and teachers involved are removed from the reports, which are published by the department with one-term delays.

A department spokesperson said nine in 10 schools did not report a single incident during term four.

“From time to time, incidents affect schools just as they affect society,” the spokesperson said.

Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said the number of violent incidents in schools wasn’t rising but were being noticed and documented “more vigorously”.

“Teenagers tend to be impulsive – all accelerator and no brakes,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

“Violence as entertainment has desensitised teenagers and made them see violence as a problem solving device.”

He said another factor was teenagers becoming disaffected with rates of family breakdown increasing.


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