Saturday, September 3, 2011

Making best use of teachers

Teachers are required to complete a range of duties other than face to face teaching time. Assignments and tests take time to be written and marked, programmes take time to be written, lessons need to be planned for, revision materials gathered, student teachers mentored, behavioural issues resolved, discussion is needed between moderating partners, coordination required for consistent judgements of student work. The first three alone take much of the time. You can normally spot an overloaded teacher because they are starting to wing more lessons and reduce the amount of assessment done or are reusing materials without tailoring them to the cohort.

Classroom first was a policy that quarantined teachers from duties other than that directly required by the classroom. It was a push back onto admin. It seems that that push back is starting to unravel and DOTT time is again being used for a raft of other things. The latest salary negotiation seems to be wrestling with getting teachers to do more.

You can't get blood out of a stone. We have high utilisation of teachers compared to OECD countries (see here page 406, albeit more appropriate statistics exist). Better lessons, better outcomes are not achieved by pushing untested rollouts, extended workdays, ill prepared curriculum directives and larger class sizes. It's done with effective management, good marketing and long/medium and short term planning with strong leadership and good morale.


  1. Hi Russ
    Interesting comment about high teacher utilisation compared to OECD.
    I was wondering about the source of that statement?
    Interesting blog. You comments often reflect what I am experiencing in the classroom, especially in regards to the rollout of it into the classroom.

  2. I wish I could remember.. I was doing my masters last year and it would have been one of the bits and bobs I read..

    A copy of the OECD stats book is at UNDA library. I'd check there first. It's most likely there that I read it, albeit it could have been somewhere equally obscure like the C/W middle school report.

    I'm glad you like the blog! It keeps me from getting over excited about little things and allows me to challenge and investigate behaviours further in a non threatening and personality free environment.

    Sometimes I think we may live too much in the bubble of our classrooms and sharing just a little can help us see that we have similar solvable (or easily solved!) issues.


Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.. it's good to hear what people think!