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Crazy about Work


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Here I go talking to myself again...and we all know what that means

The John Illingworth survey:

"I often wake in the night and can't get back to sleep because I am thinking about work"

Agree: 59%

No view or disagree (obviously) 41%

1) See if you can get a similar survey in your school or in your area

2) A useful outcome would be if any "initiatives" had to take account of the increased teacher stress as well as the possible benefits to pupils, parents or administration.

3) No new initiatives which increase teacher workload in one area can be brought in without initiatives which reduce teacher workload in another area.

The survey, including the questions, can be downloaded from

http://wsta1.org.uk

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The John Illingworth survey:

"I often wake in the night and can't get back to sleep because I am thinking about work"

Agree: 59%

No view or disagree (obviously) 41%

1) See if you can get a similar survey in your school or in your area

2) A useful outcome would be if any "initiatives" had to take account of the increased teacher stress as well as the possible benefits to pupils, parents or administration.

3) No new initiatives which increase teacher workload in one area can be brought in without initiatives which reduce teacher workload in another area.

The survey, including the questions, can be downloaded from

http://wsta1.org.uk

I wake up thinking about work every morning. I also did that when I was a teacher. However, I do not see this as a problem. The reason being, I now work for myself. It is the relationship to production that is the main problem. I can control my work situation. As a teacher I could not. Yet when I started teaching in the 1970s I did feel in control. The problem dates back to the 1980s when Thatcher's government tried to take complete control of what went on in the classroom. Blair has continued this policy.

The other factor is the changes that have taken place in the attitudes of students and parents. For example, the vast majority of students and parents respected the teaching profession. Now, only a minority do. As a result, teachers have undergone a drop in self-esteem. Only those teahers who do not spend too much time worrying about what they are doing, seem to be able to cope with the situation. When I joined the teaching profession I felt like I was working in a creative profession. I left thinking I was working on a production line. As I spent the first six years of my working life in a factory, I do know what I am talking about.

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I agree and would also add the change in management style and relationships with bureaucracy. Here about 10/15 years ago, principals used to be very much more their own person, the independent leader of their school who would bravely stand up against bureaucratic cr*p. Now they are often forced to be lackeys of the department and slaves to bureaucracy which takes them away from their core job of ensuring their school is well run, well organised and a satisfying place to work.

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Actually my head seems to be quite supportive as far as is possible and thinks that supportive colleagues are the key to mental health among staff.

Our deputy thought that the strains on other occupations were similar in every area of the UK as we have fewer holidays and in many ways longer hours than anyone else in the EU. He also recommended extending the survey to TAs and Cover Supervisors which is a good idea.

So the John illingworth survey could be a trigger for a fight back against the stresses of teaching. And other occupations could follow suit.

And John (as ever) is 100% right - the alienation of teachers from the process of teaching with increased interference from OFSTED and what have you is one of the biggest problems.

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  • 1 month later...

OMG. Well we have just kicked OFSTED off the premises (metaphor) and no sooner had we done so than County came to tell us all about performance management and colleagues were working out how far away from retirement they were!

The whole emphasis was on "you must do this"; "this is not negotiable"; "you will be penalised if you don't do that".

The idea of performance management was to set targets like 99 percent of your pupils will get A-C at GCSE and then determine whether you go onto the upper pay spine on that basis. Payment by results in other words.

Continuing Professional Development? Not mentioned.

Coming up with interesting and innovative ideas. Not mentioned.

This is a policy written by people with no idea of how teachers think or what education is about.

It was depressing and stressful and well just like f***ing OFSTED really.

Edited by Derek McMillan
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