Tackling excessive teachers workload-A A +A
Thursday, September 13, 2012
TALK to most teachers about what would make the biggest improvement to their professional lives and they will say reduce their workload.
Teachers' workload has been a constant theme of discussion. I recall my early years as a teacher in public school, apart from my six teaching loads which consisted of two different preparations; I was also a homeroom adviser, teacher-librarian in-charge, adviser of the school paper as well as the English Club all at the same time. The succeeding years were also equally difficult as I handled new appended duties in place of those that were given to others, like being the prefect of discipline, PTA secretary, and what not. Wheew…just like many others I once took the superwoman role, too.
Faced with a similar predicament some teachers got burned out on the job and no longer teach. Teachers’ workload is a common reason for teachers leaving the profession. Many teachers feel demoralized and overworked and face constant criticisms and are bombarded with unrealistic expectations from demanding and insensitive parents.
On my part though, not once during my stint in the annex did anyone hear me grumble about my work. In fact when a new teacher was enumerating her ordeals concerning her vast workload, one of our discerning colleague (and very responsible if I may add) commented by saying, “ni Tess to pay ket never nga nagcomplain samantalang every year piman nga maikan ti adu nga load.” Thanks Ma’am Carol M. of Fort del Pilar. Totoo naman talaga yon.
I may sound like I am singing praises for me but this is very true. Looking back, I know it was hard but those early years honed me to be more versatile. I regard those early years as having given me a good professional experience. Even with the struggle of dealing with an excessive workload I never rated my morale as low or very low. Instead I was grateful I have a stable job in times when seeking a job has become a crowded and ultra-competitive race. I just felt it was useful to see my condition from another perspective.
I am aware that fortunately now several measures have been put in place to ensure that teachers’ time and energies are focused on the key tasks that require their particular professional skills, expertise and judgment, and thus to reduce the overall workload by redistributing or eliminating other tasks. This investment to cut teachers workload is expected to have great impact specifically in terms of effectiveness and efficiency in teaching which is teacher’ main responsibility. As it would cut on teachers’ stress levels, changes made to the school workforce make it more possible for teachers to deliver at their best.The significant reduction in the working hours of teachers will allow them preparation, planning and assessment during the school time. Persistent long-hours culture will no longer be an issue.
These major reforms designed to reduce administrative burdens on teachers will not only assure maximum benefits for students. What makes it compelling is the fact that attention to teachers’ workload is one key factor that makes an education system successful.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 13, 2012.