Semester 1 – nearly there!

Photo by Alexander Dummer

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
Malcolm X

Education is all too often referred to as ‘the business of education. Business, measured on a Profit/Loss statement or as a unit of productivity?’ If education describes the sum of many parts i.e., teaching, leading and managing a school, then reporting on student achievement, and meeting parents and caregivers is an important part of education.
School leaders must complete several reports across the year. Annual School report, benchmarks achieved on School Improvement Plans, teacher accreditation and increasingly, resolving complaints, to list a few. Teachers have more than a few reports to complete as well. Reporting on student achievement is very important, time consuming and time sensitive. A healthy self-care plan helps to ensure the wellbeing of teachers and school leaders, especially when reports are due. Parents and caregivers need to be informed of their child’s academic growth.

Reports and interviews frame student achievement at the end of each semester. As one part of the complex and demanding workload of teachers and school leaders, the student report that is shared can be the springboard into more effective teaching and learning, thus improving student outcomes. Drawing from the rivers and streams of data, the importance of teacher judgement should not be overlooked looked nor left as a casual observation. While parents and caregivers value grades, often the question of the child’s happiness, engagement with learning and social skills, can only be provided through teacher judgement.

The question of whether teacher judgement is more useful than the reporting of data that is represented as grades, cannot be measured. Reports that strike a balance of both can be used to inform and be a tool for planning. This is easy to say as the workload of teachers and school leaders is increasing in complexity and volume. The newly elected government in NSW has announced changes to education policies that is hoped to reduce the workload and to address teacher shortage. Time will tell if the policy changes are effective when implemented.

Planning for self-care can better manage a healthy work/life, reducing the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of working in a school. Planning a week of learning activities or completing administrative tasks should be balanced with time commitments and self-care strategies.