What do we do about the workload challenges facing Australian educators?
Firstly, let me say that Real Schools stands with the public and independent education unions who have recently instigated industrial action to demand better pay and working conditions for Teachers and School Leaders. That action matters and policy change at the top is pivotal in a practical change in every Australian school.
But a few weeks ago, a dedicated Principal asked me if I’d heard any schools doing good stuff on this problem from within their own school.
For some reason, I was transported back in time several years to a great Real Schools Partner School who did just that. The Teachers were complaining that too much of their time was being taken up after lunch following up from incidents of student conflict and poor choices.
They reported that it was a significant impost on their overall workload.
And so, the Principal instigated an informal skills audit. She wanted to know everything and anything that her staff had that we’d call “gifts” and the results were surprising. Specifically, an early career Teacher was discovered to be a guitar player – and not just any guitar player. This guy was a serious guitar virtuoso. He could play anything … and brilliantly.
The next step was sheer, simple genius. The staff highlighted that most of the post-lunch behaviour issues were on Thursdays and Fridays (well … der!) and so they shifted the virtuoso’s yard duties to the second half of those day’s lunchtimes. But he no longer did yard duty … he put on a concert.
The two other duty teachers agreed to cover his area … and kids came from everywhere. Of particular interest was the attendance of the kids who caused the most lunchtime issues.
And the volume of after lunch behaviour follow-ups plummeted.
Sure, there’s an absurd level of administrative compliance on today’s Australian educator and much of it you’re stuck with.
But not all of it.
Keep fighting that good fight,
PS. Are you in Queensland? Are you coming to see me in Brisbane next week for FOUR amazing workshops for Teachers and School Leaders? If you’re shaking your head you’re also missing a wild opportunity. Check out the chance to catch up with me in person at this link. Go on!
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