The trials and tribulations of paperwork

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 28th February 2012

When I went slightly mad a few years ago and decided to try my hand at teaching (I was useless), the main thing that made me throw in the towel was the endless paperwork.

For every lesson I taught at my local FE college, I had to fill in reams and reams of forms. There were the schemes of work to plan out lessons for the whole of the academic year, the lesson plans covering every single second of every single lesson and something called “reflective practice,” where I had to analyse everything from what teaching principles my lessons demonstrated to whether the class seating plan was up to scratch.

Admittedly, I was a trainee teacher so seasoned pros probably don’t have to bother with the reflective stuff, but even so, I was delighted to read in the Huffington Post this week that teachers’ paperwork is being cut right back.

According to the HuffPo report, the government has scrapped hundreds of pages of guidance issued to teachers. Schools minister Nick Gibb said in the House of Commons on Monday: “I am aware that many teachers are doing enormous amounts of overtime and that is a tribute to the professionalism of teachers in our schools today. What is important is that overtime is not spent filling in voluminous forms or reading huge arch lever files of guidance.”

Quite. For every second I spent agonising over my forms I reckon I could have taught my A level English sets the entire works of Tolstoy. Twice over.

PS. When we lived in France, my son loved Golden Grahams (above)But when we came back to the UK I couldn’t find them anywhere. But now they’ve miraculously appeared on supermarket shelves again. Result? One very happy teenager…

2 comments so far

  • I can’t help but smile every time you mention your despair at the reflective practice bit of the course! Partly because I remember the morning before my tutorial with Trevor, finding a variety of paper pads and pens, so I could claim to have written my reflection at the time, not all on that day!
    I have to say that Uni teaching is much less paper heavy – or should I say ‘was’? With new KIS reporting and requirements for everything to be available online, the situation is worsening … 🙁

  • I know, Linsey. Even all these years later I still have nightmares about reflective practice. I hope that university teaching doesn’t go down the same path…

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