“The hours are good and holidays are great” is why I thought I wanted to go into teaching. “Forget 9 to 3 and forget half terms. You’ll be too busy marking” was the response I got. From that day on I promised myself I will not be a teacher that leaves at 6 nor will I bring work home.
I went through my training course teaching minimal classes so plenty of free time to mark, plan and do assignments. Upon starting as an NQT I was doing everything within school hours. I couldn’t fathom why others from the department were taking boxes of books home for the weekend. Then I realised it was two things: personal preference and being smart with time. There were times I’d spend catching up with colleagues and get a bit of work done. There were others times I would sit in my room away from everyone and mark non stop. I developed ways of making marking easier and having a generally less packed out week by doing the following:
• Pre printed stickers with the most common WWW and EBI and highlighting the statement that reflected their work the most. This meant less writing comments on my part saving time.
• Walking around the classroom during lessons with a red pen to correct misconceptions there and then resulting in instant corrections to their learning. This also means ticking off the standards for school marking policies as you are showing progression in their work and understanding.
• Using “free” periods efficiently. If you’ve just had a test and a free next lesson, mark it and get it out of the way!
• Plan to collect homework on your lighter days or when you have a free next lesson.
• Go through homework corrections on your heavy days. This means less planning and allows you to organise your day better.
Your work/home life is dependant on you. If you don’t want to take work home, use the time you have before and within school hours to get everything done. Have a list of tasks you want completed and just like students need to be motivated and determined, so do we.