As a teacher, enjoying my long summer holiday, I start looking forward towards the new academic year with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.
In about May we get told which year group we will be having the following September. We move year groups about every three years so that we can face a new challenge and to make sure our ideas don’t get stale by staying in one year group. Shortly afterwards we find out which class we will get; I work in a school with two classes in each year group and each group has very different academic and social characteristics. As a result of moving year groups and having a different class there may be a need to change classrooms for the accessibility issues of some of our children.
This year I have a new year group, a new classroom and a new year group colleague so there are lots of changes as I look forward to next year. I was initially quite nervous of some of these changes. I’m moving back up to Year 6 which is the final year of primary education. This means I have all the normal issues with a class together with the pressures of SATs and the changing feelings of pupils who are preparing for the transition to secondary school. I’m looking forward to working with a new colleague; last year I didn’t have a permanent year group colleague due to staff maternity leave and it was very hard work to support a range of different teachers in addition to doing my normal job.
All these changes take time and energy to prepare for. Last year I didn’t do much preparation over the summer holiday as I was away on my honeymoon and I paid for it during term time. My classroom never felt like it was organised and I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work that I had to do at home during the evenings and weekends. So this summer I’ve already made a start and organised my classroom and begun to plan activities for our new topics. This year I’m determined to make a resolution to limit the amount of work I do. As a teacher employed in a state school I’m contracted to work for 1265 hours per year and I don’t think I’ve ever managed to work that few hours. I knew when I entered the career twelve years ago that I would have a certain amount of work to do at home but I feel that work has taken over my life and I don’t ever stop during term time.
I made a resolution back in January that I would spend more time on creative projects at home (hence this blog) but I’ve still found that school work has limited the amount of time I can spend. So this year I’m trying a little experiment – a Teacher Timesheet. I’m going to record the number of hours I work each day and the types of task I’m completing so that I can look at how many hours over that contracted amount I work and how many of the tasks actually come under my job description – many of the tasks I complete have no impact in the classroom, I often feel that I end up doing paperwork just in case we get a visit from Ofsted which has no impact on the children I teach.