I’m a little addicted to TED talks. You start with one which leads to another and then before you know it you’re listening to a man talking about procrastination and the irony completely escapes you. I happened upon one talk by a man named Matthew J Dicks, professional story teller and teacher, who is brilliant. He is engaging, funny and actually really useful. With a surname like Dicks he had to get popular quickly and he certainly is that. The link to the point I’m making is here…
If you don’t have 17 minutes to listen to the talk the basic idea is as a teacher time is precious equivalent to hen’s teeth. It makes you laugh, questions your sanity and makes you wonder if it ever really existed. Dicks therefore has come up with a top tip for teachers.
Expect more, do less.
This is a suggestion to redirect the workload so that you don’t kill yourself trying to achieve the impossible. Let’s face it, teachers need an army of robots to get through a term. If not robots at least a group of people invested in the learning process with some subject specific knowledge and enthusiasm with an ability to apply instruction. Sadly these are not available over the counter but they do enrol them every September.
Dicks talks about the moment he realised he could get the students doing his grunt work. He explains it in a much more amusing way than I am currently, it really would be a good listen if you have 17 minutes, but the point is he gave out roles to the students and expected the students to be accountable whilst simultaneously being able to place his energies elsewhere. From prop manager to milk monitor this guy has it covered.
Challenge accepted. If he could get elementary school kids running his department I would definitely be able to cash in on it. And cash in I have.
Last year I needed time off. My manager assured me he would arrange cover and I told him I had a better idea: the students. Reluctantly he agreed and I primed the students with resources and tasks ready to run their session in my absence. They did brilliantly.
It was so successful I told other teachers in our area about it and now they’re cashing in on it.
I’ve since had the students run homework tasks, do their own marking, lead revision sessions and today I had a student teach Shakespeare whilst I conducted 1:1 feedback sessions on a recent assessment.
I love my job. Ask anyone who knows me and they will repeat that information back to you. I love my job even more now the pressure has eased off and I’m confident will continue to do so because, in case you don’t realise, teaching is a team effort. For a long time I thought that meant colleagues but in reality it is the students and I have the best team in the land.