a really big to do list

Things I need to do, or are being done to me, over the current few weeks:

  • year 8 full reports
  • year 10 full reports
  • other peoples report checking
  • updating reports with corrections
  • year 12 and 13 practical assessment moderation
  • coursework catch up for a year 11 student after school
  • year 12 after school revision workshop
  • 3 sets of book scrutiny for different year groups
  • a week long sixth form learning walk
  • after school digital team meeting
  • after school 60 minute detention duty
  • organising a STEM enrichment activity for year 9
  • intervention comments for all years onto database
  • doing the AfL for STEM MOOC I’ve started

Phew! There’s the normal, everyday planning and marking as well. I only work three days a week. This is an unusually crazy workload. Some of the things are voluntary (enrichment activity and digital meeting) and some I’m just unlucky with the timing (detention duty). Though I think two sets of reports one week after the other could have been timed a little more kindly. 🙂

So why am I wasting my precious time writing about it? I find that all those things swirling about inside my mind make me panic, feel overwhelmed and unable to settle down and sleep properly. Writing them down helps me to organise them, categorise them and it seems more manageable.

Firstly, I can identify the things that I have no control over and mentally put them into their own list of things I just need to do or be aware of and generally forget about.

Then the rest needs prioritising. What are the deadlines on these bits of work? Are they real deadlines? (reports, yes they need printing at a certain time. Moderation, needs doing asap, but can it wait for a few days? probably).  Can the work be slightly put off until the pressure from elsewhere is off slightly? Not much from my list above, but I do have a whole peripheral to do list that continuously hovers outside the main one waiting for that mythical ‘when I have a bit more spare time’. This includes:

  • organising my paperwork
  • updating my displays
  • reading some teaching books
  • planning for new A levels in September

Teaching must be a nightmare at times like this for true perfectionists. There isn’t the time in the day to do it all. Sad, but a fact. We all have other things competing for our time outside of work. For some people this is children, some have relatives to care for, others do volunteer or charity work.  Some teachers train for marathons and triathlons and go mountain climbing.

Never mind if the other things in a teachers life are considered worthy, some might just want to socialise or sit at home and watch the new Game of Thrones or read for fun. In fact, however you spend your out of work time it’s important to make time for relaxing. Never switching off can not be good for anyone.

I was very glad to listen to a More or Less podcast recently about 7 hours being the optimum amount of sleep to get (21st Feb episode). Here’s an article on the same subject.  It certainly made me feel better about the amount I get!

That links in with another timesaver I have. I use my commute to listen to podcasts. Mostly BBC Radio 4 and NPR ones. I catch up with the news (friday night comedy podcast is a legitimate source of the weeks news isn’t it?), sometimes learn things (In Our Time on Eunuchs last week) and some are just for fun (pop culture happy hour).

I discovered a fantastic app a few years ago that helps me organise myself. It’s wunderlist. I highly recommend it. You can easily set deadlines, change them, or just have lists without deadlines on. It allows you to have different lists and also can be accessed from different devices or online. Magic!

As a teacher, you always have enough to do to fill all the available time. There are certain times when extra things appear to make the workload appear unmanageable. Or you worry you aren’t working hard enough and your time away from work is threatened with disappearing completely. I say this is normal for teachers, but there are things you can do to manage it. And when in doubt, count down to the next holiday! It’s never far away 😉

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