The important issue of teacher well-being was the hot topic upon Nicky Morgan’s introduction as Education Secretary. In fact it was highlighted to fanfared concern and a workforce survey. The DfE trumpeted concerns are now just three key commitments;
- More time to prepare for any changes to accountability, the curriculum or qualifications – meanwhile teachers are busy delivering new specifications / curriculum.
- Sharing examples of successful practices schools have used to deal with teaching tasks that can cause unnecessary workload – now I may have missed these examples, but I do not think the three working groups (marking, planning and data management) report until next March? Meanwhile teachers are busy marking, planning and responding to the the curriculum and qualification changes notes above.
- Tracking teacher workload by running a large-scale survey every 2 years starting in early spring 2016 – a relatively plausible suggest. We have a benchmark, meanwhile we will have to wait until the 2016 feedback to know if we are addressing the workload issue. Meanwhile… you get my drift.
On October, the DfE went on to publish
As a result of the workload challenge, Ofsted committed to clarifying the guidance that explains what inspectors do and do not expect to see when they inspect a school.
For reference, Ofsted made this commitment well in advance of the survey.
Fanfare without action (at best delayed change) ironically highlights the insincerity of the fanfare. Fortunately, there is no recruitment crisis, otherwise faltering retention within the profession would be an even greater concern. Thank goodness for the hands-on, right here, right now, undeterred, in full regalia promotions of work-life balance from teachers like @MartynReah. Dare I say it, Martyn has given teachers permission to enrich their own lives, to put their wives, husbands, partners and families first. (The last time we heard a similar message, John Tomsett’s blog post was inundated with a deluge of comments of self-reflection and thanks.) The #teacher5aday hashtag is quietly causing a wellness wave of goodwill and with every #teacher5aday contribution, so the “karma club” grows, and the voice of common sense gets a little louder – before you can take care of your teachers, your department, your students, you must take care of yourself.
Over the October half-term my Twitter timeline was spattered with the creative work of a teachers sharing their #teacher5adaysketch (sketches). To be honest, some were as impressive as others were diverse; water-colours, cats, Disney, ink, digital, felt-tip pens. The mutual respect and encourage we heart warming. “It is half-term, stop working,” I told myself and I went and sat down at the kitchen table with my five-year-old daughter Freya, who was getting all “crafty.”
Definition: Crafty -license to cut, stick, draw and make mess without getting into trouble.
Her stock pile of craft items carefully tough precariously balanced. The smile she shared in those opening moments reward enough for putting down my work.
What did we create?
Martyn’s quite revolution and humility had really real struck a chord. So Freya and I planned and designed Martyn his very own 5aday logo out of Hama beads. It took us half an hour to plan it (testing out both square and circle bases for the Hama aficionados) and conservatively two hours to create it. We made numerous mistakes and had plenty of conversation discussing our design. The time spent together was priceless, if fraught at times. Artists can be a little precious, can’t they? We ironed it, realised we had the five back to front, and I posted it to Eggars School c/o Martyn Reah anyway. Martyn’s response was forgiving and worth the effort opening up a new professional connection and a Hama-meet for our daughters to get together.
So Martin put forward the idea of #teacher5adaycraft. In the mean time, I sent emails and made calls until Clive and Nicola at hamabeads.com stepped up with an offer of support. A special “teacher5aday” Hama pack – heavily subsidised, including post and packing anywhere in the UK that only cost £1.99. Clive has also included a voucher code to receive 10% off our Teacher Classroom Pack as an incentive to take things further. Why not create your very own Christmas tree decorations or classroom name plate or create a gift – of course sharing your creations with the hashtag. I can attest to the fact that Hama bead creations take a lot longer than you think, relaxing, rewarding and great time-filers for children when parents have “other” duties to attend to. More on #teacher5adayhama very soon.
Mean while, enjoy reading about the 5aday hashtag. That alone will help keep your spirits up.
— Becky (@shadylady222) December 13, 2015
A shorter post was shared over on Staffrm and I was quite taken aback and thankful for the comments there. Really, it is Martyn that deserves the credit and of course, Clive and Nicola at Hamabeads.com for accepting my leftfield request for help in the first instance. More on #teacher5adayhama soon.