A Secretary For The Teacher

Here’s a unique idea. As of yesterday, teachers in England and Wales are not required (not allowed?) to do most of the administrative or clerical tasks most of us in the classroom always accepted as part of the job. The plan was devised to reduce teacher workloads and includes a list of specific tasks that must be done by other school staff. Among these jobs is photocopying, collecting money, ordering supplies, checking on student absences and even giving exams!

I can’t even wrap my warped little mind around how much time this plan would have allowed for other things during the school day. Stuff that would normally have gotten done in the late afternoon, at night or on weekends. No, not sitting in the teacher’s lounge, drinking coffee! How about collaborating with colleagues, doing research and preparing lessons?

So the teacher’s unions in England but be ecstatic over this plan, right? Well, not all of them.

It was signed by the government and most of the education unions – although notably not the biggest, the NUT. Its main objection is that in reducing teachers’ workloads, more is expected of classroom assistants – meaning, it argues, classes will be taken by people not qualified as teachers.

The NUT? National Union of Teachers. I can’t tell you how much I love that acronym!