A plea for advice on managing workload

Teachers, I need your help. It’s not even Christmas yet and I’m going under.

First, some context. I’ve been teaching for just over five years. This year, I teach three subjects (history, politics and classics) with only one hour of my 21 teaching hours being KS3. All three subjects involve extended writing as a form of assessment.

It’s the first year that I’ve taught politics, at AS and A2, so the reading, planning etc for that is naturally taking up lots of time. I appreciate that this is normal when you begin teaching a new subject.

BUT… I can’t cope. I can’t cope with the planning, the marking, the parents evenings, the shitty, shitty paperwork I have to do as a Year 12 form tutor, or the pressure of doing all this in what the Telegraph recently branded the fifth most ‘socially exclusive’ school in the country.

I’ve had some success in time-saving by using David Didau’s idea of ‘marking for planning’, and building pupil reflection and improvement time into my lessons. But if anyone has ANY helpful, proven time-saving marking or planning tips I will gratefully look into them and try them out.



8 thoughts on “A plea for advice on managing workload

  1. drdawnie

    Hi there. Have you tried writing a sheet of numbered targets as you mark your essays? Then you just write the numbers at the ends of students’ work, rather than having to hand write the same targets over & over again. You can then teach to the key targets and, if necessary, copy & paste some of the targets as you mark the next set of work if you find students making the same errors/needing the same support again.

    1. danpo_ Post author

      Hi. I have, possibly even at your suggestion previously on twitter! It wasn’t great, as the number of repeatable targets was very low: each pupil seemed to need very different, precise feedback. I could try making them as generalised as possible (e.g. ‘more examples’)? Ta for the help!

  2. Jill Berry

    I do sympathise, but rather than suggesting specific ‘tips’ for managing workload I’d recommend you need some coaching, time with someone who you respect and who values you to help you look at the Big Picture. You might be able, with the help of this coach, to consider how you’re allocating your time and how you can get best value for the time you’re spending on planning/marking/parents’ eves/tutor admin etc. Is this a possibility? Could be someone outside school or even the kind of online coaching organised by @ASTsupportAAli and @danwilliams1984. What do you think?

    1. danpo_ Post author

      Thanks for commenting. To be honest it’s not time management that’s the issue, I’m ok with that, it’s simply the amount of stuff that I have to get through. I’ve been trying out different marking techniques and it is making a difference, maybe naterial for a follow-up blog.

      1. Jill Berry

        Glad things are better.

        Just one tip, then – sometimes giving pupils a word limit when you set a written piece can be helpful. Writing succinctly is an important skill. It should make them focus, watch relevance and think more carefully about what to include and how to express it. It’s easy to check word count if they’re word processing, and it should mean you have less material to wade through and it’s of better quality because more thought has gone into the process.

        Good luck!

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