How to manage a teacher’s workload

Focusing on what teaching techniques are proven to make the most difference to students, and making the best use of teacher time, are the most effective actions to reduce workload. These also go hand-in-hand with encouraging better teaching. So what are some ways this can be achieved?

How to manage a teacher’s workload

Focus on oral feedback

Reduce the amount of time spent giving written feedback, this can free up time to focus on other tasks. The goal should be quality rather than quantity, and an overall reduction in how much work is expected to be assessed in detail. Students' work can be analysed for common errors, and then instead of written feedback, the next lesson can be focused on helping students with these misunderstandings.

Collaborative planning and shared resources

Sharing the planning process with other teachers and assistants will reduce the workload. Inset days can be utilised for collaborative planning, ‘two brains are better than one’, preparing lessons jointly, sharing resources between teaching staff and stored in a central place, means that everyone can spend less time on this and reduce their workload.

Making use of existing resources

The task of preparing resources for lessons is often greater for students or newly qualified teachers, who do not yet have a bank of resources already built up. There are many textbooks, websites, libraries, and other sources which have plenty of resources for use in teaching. Reduce the amount of time ‘reinventing the wheel’ and use existing resources instead.

Over the shoulder marking

Formative (or 'real-time') marking, where you provide continuous feedback, aims to monitor student learning in an ongoing fashion. Often, written comments don't help students to completely grasp the idea or mistake you are commenting on and need further explanation. Additionally, a single comment is often very easily actioned without thinking (such as a spelling correction), which may not be as effective in helping a student learn. This method can help reduce time spent doing written marking, and help students correct mistakes whilst the work is still fresh in their minds. 

The Department for Education has released advice to schools to create great working environments for teachers.

Flexible working

The move towards flexible working is vital for many teaching staff, particularly for parents, carers, and those with commitments outside the classroom. Offering flexibility in the way teachers can work - whether that be part-time, flexitime, job-sharing, or reduced hours - is important when supporting teachers to perform to the best of their ability.

Ofsted has also moved towards a student enrichment curriculum, rather than one that is measured only on outcomes, which will be a positive adjustment for teachers.

Chose the right teaching degree course

Developing impactful strategies on a teaching degree course will focus on making your teaching vocation rewarding.

The Institute of Education at the University of Cumbria is one of the most successful in the UK, with 97% (DLHE 2018) of our students being employed or in further education just six months after graduating. 

Routes into a career in Education: study at the Institute of Education, University of Cumbria

The Institute has been inspiring teachers through training and professional development opportunities for over 100 years, and the courses are heavily placement-based, supporting all students with first-hand experience from over 1,500 partners.


Enrolling in teacher training at the University of Cumbria provides all students with the skills and confidence needed to become a professional teacher, and our tutors are active researchers in education, so all learning will be up-to-date and fresh with the latest thinking, technologies, and practices.

Kath Norris, Principal lecturer in The Institute of Education responded to the changes from Ofsted and DfE ‘I was pleased to read the recently published guidance by the DfE on addressing teacher workload in initial teacher training. I agree with the key principle of establishing good habits in our trainees that are not overly burdensome.  I believe that the culture shift happening in schools, moving away from excessive planning, to making the best use of teacher time to actually teach.’

Speak to an existing student to get the low down on studying for a teaching degree at the University of Cumbria

 

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