Managing Workload Pocketbook
By Will Thomas
Teachers' Pocketbooks pound;6.99
The Pocketbooks series marches on. Rightly so, because there's much to be said for short, easily handled books that cut straight to the chase with the aid of bullet points and neat graphics.
This one starts with some facts that we're supposed to know but probably don't: in 2002 teachers had an average of five-and-a-half days off, and stress-related illness was the fourth most frequent official reason. (The implication being that stress probably lies in the background of other official reasons.) One answer, says the book, is to get a life: to manage the working day, week and year well enough to start feeling in control. Important here, for teachers, is the idea expressed in the chapter "Saying yes when you should say no". Teachers are, surely, programmed to be obliging and co-operative, and this accounts for a good deal of the stress they're under. There's a time, says the book, for making assertive choices. "Say no assertively, or if it helps in your mind, say, 'I'm saying yes to saying no'."
All that's needed now is for more heads and governing bodies to read the book and to take a similarly assertive attitude to their local authorities and the DfES.