Five essential tips Managing workload & enhancing well-being

As a provider of educational software, we take pride in understanding our industry and being able to exert a positive influence on the teaching profession. We work with a number of improvement experts and here we identify a series of tips to help effectively manage teacher workloads and promote well-being in your school.

Tip One: Consider the Ideal Outcome

A happy teacher is well motivated, hard working and values the school that they work for. They are dedicated, meticulous and possess a genuine passion for working with young people. Staff rooms should be a buzz of ideas, initiatives and collegiality. Inevitably there will be colleagues who grumble; however, lazy teachers are always in the minority.

Teachers have chosen to work in an education environment and impart knowledge, guidance and inspiration to their charges every day. The reward of seeing young people progress illustrates that teaching is a vocation and not just a job. However, do not take advantage of these facts. Always be measured and aspire for your staff body to continue working hard and to make a genuine difference. Remember that the ideal outcome must be realistic.

Tip Two: Why we do things - Good Practice

Staff meetings are often held at the end of a busy day and teachers are constantly juggling priorities. Selling new initiatives often can promote sighs and discontent. However, professionalism and good practice are values that cannot be denied and are a good point of reference. INSET days are increasingly being used to carry out performance management tasks and represent a great opportunity to increase focus. Always consider timing as a factor when asking your staff to do more.

A culture of aspiration is highly desirable. Financial constraints make it hard to continually up-skill the staff body. Scarce resources and competing needs cannot be fully overcome. However, the appraisal process should drive improvement forward. If colleagues have outlined what training they would like to receive, facilitating these requests is a motivating factor. If resources are not available, consider what internal good practice could be shared to enhance their development. Differentiating CPD is valuable means of engagement and avoids a one size fits all approach. Continually challenging why your school does something helps to steer outcomes towards good practice.

Tip Three: Decision Making and Empathy

Elvis Presley sang ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’ and this phrase is always worth considering when making decisions that will affect a wide number of colleagues. Empathising and considering their capabilities and limitations helps to understand what is feasible. This can address the pressure that teachers are under and avoids generating tasks where teachers are fruitlessly busy. This mindset enhances planning and makes implementation smoother.

Mentoring is an effective tool for empowering capable colleagues and providing support in a subtle manner. A culture of mentoring creates a supportive atmosphere in a school and is a useful way of drawing on the experience that you have available. Working parties are another great way of involving and empowering colleagues. When making decisions always consider collaboration and how your decisions will play out amongst your staff body. A leader who really knows their staff well will know what they are truly capable of and plan accordingly.

Tip Four: Time Management and Sustainability

The very best professionals are highly productive and time efficient. The start of term sees everyone with a real spring in their step. However, the end of term can see colleagues flagging. A two week October half term is an increasing trend to help manage the often tiresome Winter term. Reports are often the bane of teachers’ lives. A time efficient reporting system is a must to reducing workloads.

Identifying pressure points during the school year and appreciating staff will not always be at their very best represents latitude. Within departments, mutually agreed deadlines are a means of offering some flexibility and involving teachers in the decision making process. Signposting of deadlines and dialogue beforehand is highly recommended to avoid any problems. A robust appraisal system is a necessity in effectively managing staff throughout your school. This will ensure that there is regular dialogue where any concerns can be addressed.

Tip Five: Listening and Appreciation

Ignorance is certainly not bliss. Whilst school leaders are consistently busy, simply patrolling the corridors, greeting other colleagues and watching sporting fixtures sends a powerful message. Impromptu interaction is a great opportunity to say thank you to colleagues and listen to them. Whilst this might not be time efficient, it is a great way of reminding every member of your school community that you genuinely care. Also, it is means of finding out the impact of the decisions that you are making. Returning to tip one, the ideal outcome is content teachers who are striving for improvement and regular interaction helps to assess their well-being.

A firm quality of an outstanding teacher is the ability to communicate. This does not only mean they are just great orators. They are also superb listeners and they pick up on what their students say. This is true with their interactions with leaders. Make every effort to single out unsung heroes and remember that there are two words that carry significant meaning. Saying thank you is paramount to building loyalty, trust and well-being throughout your school.

Conclusions

This series of tips is not intended to be a definitive guide, we hope that the tips are thought provoking and they offer some salient advice. There are no silver bullets to solve workload concerns. The work life balance is a topic that will always be discussed by teachers.

Our performance management software SchooliP provides an effective structure for the appraisal process and helps to monitor the demands that are placed upon teachers. We pride ourselves on removing the administrative burden and SchooliP (CollegeiP for colleges) is proven to enhance teaching and learning and drive improvement. Collaboration and communication are at the heart of SchooliP and its intuitive nature means that it helps to foster a culture of consistent dialogue amongst colleagues. There is also a MAT view which can enables Multi Academy Trusts to observe progress in all of their academies.

SchooliP makes performance data collection considerably easier and saves significant time for school leaders. This allows more time to be devoted to leadership and ensure that school improvement and staff well-being are the core areas of focus.

If you would like to drive school improvement and save hours of professional time, please make contact with our sales team. Call 0333 0433 450 or email: info@derventioeducation.com to receive a demonstration of SchooliP. Alternatively, click here to arrange a no obligation demonstration.

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