Does reporting to parents really have to be so onerous?

For the past month I have been posting pictures on my social media accounts of myself doing work on the weekends. I have been calling it mark-report-check-repeat and using the #TeacherLife hashtag. 

This week, a non-teacher follower asked me me why I was doing this and if I liked my job. The answer is, I love my job. I didn’t think I was being negative in my posts. I was just trying to be factual. I was trying to make the non-teachers in my life aware of the work load.

I was trying to allow others to appreciate the efforts we go to. In term 2, I can work 60 to 70 hours per week. I consider the mid-semester break to be time in lieu rather than a holiday.

But her comment got me thinking. For some time, I have been asking myself if this level of work is necessary? The workload around reporting has definitely increased. My school reports from the 70’s and 80’s have nowhere near the level of detail that current school reports do.

My kindergarten report had 2 semesters on 1 page, A5 size.

My Year 11 Semester 2 report was a 1 page A4 document.  My maths teacher didn’t even write a comment.

The reports I am currently proof reading for Year 11 have an A4 page for each subject but are they any more meaningful than the reports from the past? Has anyone measured the impact of this increased work load and detail in reports on student outcomes?

My hypothesis is that teaching and learning suffers during reporting times. Teacher stress levels increase and student anxiety increases as everyone tries to fit in some summative assessment during this period.

Don’t get me wrong, communicating with parents and carers is a vital part of being a teacher, but does it have to be this onerous?


One thought on “Does reporting to parents really have to be so onerous?

  1. Kelvin Furze October 7, 2016 at 5:31 pm Reply

    The short answer is ‘No’. The report, in its current form is a hangover from the early 20th century. With digital technology there is so much that can be done around ‘live reporting” to make written reports completely unnecessary.

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