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Can You Get Teachers To Love Admin?

I recently discussed a recurring issue following this question from an employer:

“My teachers do an excellent job in the classroom and feedback from students is positive. But when it comes to administrative duties, I find they are lax. Registers are sometimes forgotten, lesson records are sketchy, and reports on students are late and not very full. How can I make teachers understand that these duties are as much a part of their job as teaching?”

Oh dear, I've heard this so often and I can understand why teachers prefer to concentrate on the business of teaching rather than fill in forms! Anyway, the advice I came up with was this:

You have taken the first step by acknowledging the problem! It's a fact of life that teachers usually hate admin. But you could ease the situation by building admin time into the timetable. The reluctance often stems from teachers being obliged to complete admin tasks in their own time. Since classroom pressures are usually stronger, they not surprisingly prefer to spend additional time planning lessons and organizing materials. If you build in fifteen minutes a day, or twice a week, when teachers meet in a designated admin room to complete their tasks, they will find it easier to accept that this is part of their normal responsibility.

For this to succeed though, you will need to involve them in the planning. If they see this as extra time tacked on to the working day, it will probably be met with resistance but if you can devise a plan whereby it fits into the existing work hours, it will have a greater chance of success. This may mean scheduling time when students work alone—using self-access materials, interviewing each other or doing other interactive projects. Alternatively you could shave five minutes off lessons to accumulate the time needed. Let the staff work out a system acceptable to all so that they feel they own it. Once admin features as a regular and obligatory slot on the teachers' timetable you should find the situation improves.

Submitted by:

Brenda Townsend Hall

Brenda Townsend Hall, a contributing editor to ESLemployment, is a writer in the fields of English for business, cross-cultural awareness and business communications. Interested in receiving TEFL job listings weekly for free? To learn more visit TEFL Jobs.




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