As the decade comes to a close, there is no better time to reflect on the ghosts of lessons past, identify any bad habits that you’ve formed, and make a personal improvement plan for the 2020s.
Whilst every school teacher and educator will feel differently about their own challenges and goals, there are some common themes that have emerged from our State of Technology in Education report.
So, should any of the following feature on your list of New Year’s resolutions?
1. Find ways to manage your workload
One of the biggest challenges raised in our annual survey is teachers’ workloads. In fact, 8 out of 10 teachers believe workload is contributing to high levels of stress in schools. Almost the same number worry that their schools will lose valuable teaching staff if the excessive workload doesn’t improve.
Unfortunately, teaching staff can’t easily change the amount of work that needs doing, that has to come from a senior leadership level, but you could find ways of streamlining your admin, planning and assessment processes.
Tip: audit your weekly workload, see which tasks are taking up the bulk of your time and decide whether they warrant it. Next, check if there are any free online tools, apps or platforms that can shortcut these processes so you can dedicate more time to higher priority items, or yourself.
2. Make your voice heard more often
How do you feel about your school’s strategic plans? Are you involved and on board?
This year, our research highlighted a decline in the number of teachers taking part in their schools’ strategic visions. That could mean that key challenges in the classroom are being neglected when it comes to budgeting, goal setting and forecasting. Your opinion is important, but you may have to offer it proactively if your school isn’t naturally collaborative.
Tip: don’t just raise problems you’re facing, but suggest ways the school could overcome them—whether it’s with training, online tools or better processes. Consolidate them into a concise format to discuss verbally or digitally with your senior leaders.
3. Boost your school’s collaboration
Most schools have a number of busy teachers, and tasks could be duplicated across different departments, who are working in silo. Do you and your colleagues regularly share lesson planning ideas, assessment practices and resources?
If not, catch up with your colleagues about their projects and tasks, and look for ways you could work together. By sharing ideas you could potentially half the time it takes. Even if the subject matter is different, the methodologies and pedagogical techniques could be similar.
Tip: look at the edtech available in your school. Are there collaborative technologies that you and your colleagues could work on to create resources together? There’s probably a wealth of knowledge in your school that could be shared. You’ll feel a greater sense of teamwork and accomplishment, too.
4. Make time for training
Training is a tricky objective for teachers; you probably wish you had better training on various subjects like pupil safety, modern learning techniques and personal development. Problem is, you’re also incredibly stretched for time. Finding the space in your schedule for training can be challenging, and perhaps the courses put forward aren’t always relevant to your job.
If your training was targeted to your needs, however, you may see a better time to value ratio. Why not make a note of what training would really benefit you, and put it forward to senior management?
Tip: have you considered a teacher-led training approach? For example, if there are technologies in your school you’d like training on, check if someone internally can deliver it. If a colleague is confident, they may feel happy sharing their knowledge with other teachers.
5. Become a champion
Are you passionate about next-generation teaching methods, interactive learning or digital pedagogy? Is there a tool, platform or device that you can’t do your job without? Then tell your colleagues.
Often, the most inspiring educators have a true passion for something on top of their subject expertise. They are tech-champions, delivering a teaching experience above and beyond the majority, and their pupils are motivated, engaged and excited to learn.
Tip: Harness your enthusiasm to inspire your colleagues. Could your school benefit from a wider approach to technology or interactive learning? Get everyone excited about it; your school and your pupils will thank you for it.