A RAND study from this last year confirmed what many teachers already know: that teacher workload spiked in the spring of 2020 and for many hasn’t stopped spiking since. Specifically, the study found that teachers have settled into working 6 hours more per week on average since the spring of 2020 and nearly 25% of teachers now work 56 hours or more a week, up from only 5% pre-pandemic who worked that much.
Accompanying this additional workload, the researchers also reported what others studies have consistently found, that we are facing a crisis of teacher morale and mental health, and with it a potential crisis of teachers leaving when the profession is already stretched too thin and facing critical shortages.
As fellow educators, I likely don’t have to tell you this, as many of you live the extra workload and burnout and worries about the future every day or know plenty of others who do. But I wanted to lead with it because, even when we know something is rotten in the state of Denmark, it is still useful at times to get confirmation. Further, like Marcellus in Hamlet after he offers that famous line about Denmark, once we acknowledge the larger systemic problems out loud, it can be easier to take action about what we can control.*
Specifically, while we can’t do much about staff shortages or contact tracing protocols or new time-intensive learning management systems, we can take action in regards to how we run our classes. That is why my first posts of this new year will all be focused on what I am doing to cut down my workload to maintain my sanity and some semblance of balance while also striving to maintain (or maybe even improving through working smarter instead of harder) the quality of my classes.
The first post is on a topic that I have written and thought about a fair amount recently, and yet, truth be told, I’m still not as good at it as I should be: Revisiting information multiple times to increase the likelihood it will get committed to longterm memory.Continue reading “How I’m Trying to Do More With Less in 2022: Part I”