Proof that teachers are not being listened to (aka 'no one gets it')
A study by the University of Sydney has warned, "The paper side of teachers' jobs has increased exponentially, and has become quite threatening to their capacity to do the core quality job of teaching"
As a result of the study's findings the NSW Teachers Federation has called on the Department of Education to give teachers more time to plan lessons and attend to the needs of their students.
But what was the DoE's response to this call for reduced paperwork?
A spokesperson for the NSW Education Department said ... "The NSW curriculum review, now underway, will focus on how to de-clutter the curriculum so it is easier to understand and more workable for teachers".
"The department looks forward to the heavy involvement of teachers in the process so that the curriculum provides the best possible support for them as they teach the next generation."
Sigh. No one gets it.
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'We're not being trusted': Teachers drowning in paperwork at expense of teaching
Like most head teachers, Brian Webb works up to 60 hours a week. Teaching students is the best bit; the paperwork is by far the worst.
Like many of his colleagues, he struggles with the increasing amount of time he is being asked to spend on data entry. It's a quagmire of buzzwords; evidence gathering, validation, and the long, after-school meetings about school plans.
He's still not sure about the point of it all. "We are reporting simply for the sake of reporting," said Mr Webb, speaking as a member of the Teachers Federation executive. "We are not being trusted as teachers to make judgments."
A University of Sydney study commissioned by the NSW Teachers Federation, based on survey responses from about 18,000 teachers, found they were were drowning under increasing amounts of paperwork.
"Immediate action is needed," the report said, "as the weight of evidence in this report makes it clear that negative impacts on students are likely to ensue if current trends continue unabated.
"Demands upon teachers are very substantial, potentially debilitating, and growing - particularly in administrative work."
The NSW Education Department is moving towards data as a way to build a profile of each student and sound the alarm as soon as one begins to fall behind. But the Teachers Federation argues it is putting too much pressure on staff.
Teachers who filled out the survey said their work hours had increased significantly over the past five years. Some 97 per cent reported an increase in administration, and 89 per cent said their teaching was hindered by it.
The teachers surveyed said they worked about 55 hours a week - more for a head teacher like Mr Webb - and 11 of those were at home at night.
"The paper side of their jobs has increased exponentially, and has become quite threatening to their capacity to do the core quality job of teaching," said one of the report's authors, Associate Professor Susan McGrath-Champ.
"There is real concern that [the paperwork] is not just going to continue but keep escalating. Some data is really helpful to teaching. [But much of this] is about providing data that sits around in case it's needed."
The Teachers Federation called on the NSW Department of Education to give them more time to plan lessons and attend to the needs of their students.
It also asked the department to consult them about protocols for data collection to ensure it's necessary and useful.
"Teachers want to reduce or eliminate the administrative, compliance and data collection requirements which create obstacles to teaching and learning," said the federation's vice president Joan Lemaire.
A spokesperson for the NSW Education Department said the department understood concerns about teacher workload, and agreed they should be teaching, not spending time on administration.
It said the NSW curriculum review, now underway, would focus on how to de-clutter the curriculum so it is easier to understand and more workable for teachers.
"The department looks forward to the heavy involvement of teachers in the process so that the curriculum provides the best possible support for them as they teach the next generation," the spokesperson said.