Less is more in the battle for quality time

13th February 1998 at 00:00
Articles in The TES (January 30) headed "Teachers' spouses' have their grouses" and "Timewasting's only a keystroke away" immediately appealed to me. I have just discussed with a National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers' conference delegate colleague the numerous motions still being proposed which feature workload - at heart, a time-management issue.

As Hilary Wilce predicts, teachers will, in the very near future, be required to guide students in efficiently selecting from a welter of information, and managing their time.

We concurred that many of those same teachers drive themselves and their hapless spouses and families to despair over the seemingly relentless encroachment upon their time by the many school-related tasks - marking, preparation, administration and so on.

Over the past few years, with a growing family of my own, plus a worthwhile marriage and other "normal" interests to attend to outside working hours, I have systematically and carefully cut down the time I devote to work.

Far from falling behind or neglecting students' work, I concentrate my efforts into fewer but vastly more effective hours and rarely take jobs home - thus sparing my nearest and dearest from the common syndrome of a grouchy, uncommunicative parent or partner, wading defeatedly through mountains of paperwork in a state of fatigue or frustration.

Moreover, because I'm not getting fed up with the grinding monotony, I don't have to sneak days off here and there to catch up on sleep, or just to recover from stress.

As a health and safety representative, I recognise the supreme importance of teachers sustaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle in the workplace itself, but also in their outside lives: a great contribution to the rising era of students in the hi-tech generation would be a widespread in-service education and training dedicated totime-management - for teachers!

GEOFFREY BAKER HYTCH

Branston Community College Lincolnshire

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