It’s mid-term reporting season in many districts.  We all know how much time and effort report cards consume – everyone knows this whether you’re a novice teacher, an experienced teacher, an administrator….so why do we pile on extra work during an already busy time?

Whether or not you are writing report cards this week – I wanted to share a few experiences of the kinds of workloads I’ve seen piled on teachers during this already stressful time – and workloads we pile on ourselves ….and see if we can do it a bit differently…

Why would a Arts Team at a school choose to schedule the school musical (in which the whole school and all teachers take part) so close to the report card due date that dress rehearsals and finalizing reports happens in the same week? Does any teacher really need to be doing two high stress activities in the same week?

Why not schedule the school musical a couple of weeks after reports are finished so teachers can focus on one thing ‘big ticket item’ at a time?

Why would an administrator choose to have the goalsetting and paperwork for a novice teacher mentoring program be due the day before report cards are due?  Isn’t report cards enough of a steep learning curve for a beginning teacher?

Why not let the paperwork be due the week after  – that way some of the learning around a teacher’s first reporting experience can be used in their long term learning plan.

Why would a teacher choose to begin teaching a prep-heavy and marking-heavy section of a unit during the crunch time of report cards? Couldn’t that kind of intensive teaching be saved for another time?

Why not arrange programming so that during reporting crunch time (high teacher work load)  the important pedagogical pieces of group or individual presentations, peer and self-assessment, or independent student research (activities that require less intensive prep and teaching) is covered. Then during times of lower teacher work load (i.e. – outside of the report card crunch) program lessons and classes that have more intensive prep, assessment, and instructional face time. That way you will have time and energy to put the extra effort into the prepping and teaching of these lessons, but won’t have to run yourself ragged by doing in during a time of year when you are already extra-busy.

I’m not sure if teaching can ever be totally stress free, but we can make it more stress-less.