Episode 117 - Be a counter cultural teacher
Dan: Hi, and welcome. Thank you so much for coming and joining me before we get started. I wanna let you know that in a couple of weeks, I am gonna be running a three part video series all about how to be an effective teacher. I'm gonna talk to you about how to reduce your workload, how to create. A really simple system for creating units that are amazing. And I talked to you about some key aspects that teachers need in order to really be effective as a teacher. So if that sounds like something that might interest you, please head over to teacherspd.net/etseries for effective teacher series. Make sure you subscribe there and I'll make sure you get the email so that you can come and watch this three part series of videos that are designed to help you become an effective teacher.
Dan: Well, today I'm also gonna help you to become an effective teacher. As I talked to you about being counter-cultural in your [00:01:00] teaching, you see for teaching, there is this culture where we just, we pride ourselves on being busy. In fact, sometimes it's a competition.
Dan: Sometimes teachers start comparing with each other who is the busiest, who has the most workload, who did the. Over the weekends who stayed up the latest in with their marking or who has the most number of reports to write. And this kind of competition in being busy is very unhelpful for us as teachers.
Dan: I don't think it should be fashionable for us to be busy. In fact, I think busy is terrible. I talk about it a lot in my book. Uh, work, less, teach more. I talk about a lot about how not to be busy, how to reduce your workload and. Culture is really part of what's causing a lot of the issues within education as a whole, uh, outside of education.
Dan: I don't know if it's kind of, kind of into education yet, but the hashtag hustle idea, you know, uh, it's [00:02:00] really about working lots, you know, your work really, really hard, and that means that you are more valuable. It means that you should get paid more because you're doing all this extra work and you're hustling and getting all the little things done, but really all that is, is code for being a workaholic.
Dan: Right. A culture that's set up to cause teachers to be workaholics. And I think it's ridiculous that this is the culture that we have created for ourselves. You know, we all complain about being so busy and having too much work, but yet there's an element of it that seems to take pride in this. And so today I'm talking about being counter that, and I wanna start by telling you that a bit of the root of where this comes from you.
Dan: schools and education all started with. Yeah, it was all female teachers. The women of the world were our main educators. And so the system was very much set up to take advantage of women and to just, um, you know, pull all the right chords to make the [00:03:00] women do as much work as possible for as little pay as possible.
Dan: And that's the foundation of education basically around the whole world. And it's part of what has caused the problem is that yeah, the misogyny that you still exist, but, you know, uh, was very much more obvious in the past. , they were very clearly taking advantage of female teachers that weren't allowed to go and have a boyfriend without the principal's permission, all kinds of stuff.
Dan: And it's just continued to be part of the culture now and the societal expectations of teachers. You know, we talk about doing anything for the kids, and I think that. It's silly. I I'm ridiculous. It's we should not be doing anything and everything for our students. Right. That's not gonna teach them to be independent.
Dan: It's not gonna help us to actually be able to teach for a long period of time. We're gonna burn out super quick. If we are doing anything for the kids. Right. And. We see this argument coming in all the [00:04:00] time with teachers, oh, can you do this? Or why won't you do this for the kids? We have parents call us and say, why won't you do this for my child?
Dan: You know, it's all about the kid, right? And yes, we love the children. We value the children. We want them to be successful, but reality is they're gonna have 13 teachers in their lifetime at least. And I don't need to. Everything for this student. I don't need to be the one who absolutely transforms their world.
Dan: I mean, I'm gonna do that anyway by being effective and not busy. And so this is the difference in what I am promoting across. Everything that I do is that I want teachers to be effective teachers where they're having a greater impact on their students, but with less work and more about reducing work so that you can be more effective because busy and hashtag hustle is not.
Dan: Effective. It's actually the opposite of effective. There's plenty of research that says that if you [00:05:00] work more than, I think it's something like 46 hours in a week, then actually your hours that go on top of that, you become less effective. You actually get less work done in more time than you would if you had less time.
Dan: And so this is part of our problem with culture. And so we need to. Focusing on things that will actually help us. We need to work smarter focusing on the things that really matter in education, not on, you know, administrative tasks and submitting variations to routine and marketing roles and entering data into spreadsheets.
Dan: And I find it all. Extremely frustrating. Uh, that, that is how our system has been set up just to give us more and more work, to be in a thousand meetings that just waste your time as a teacher. So it's time for us to start looking after ourselves with a balanced lifestyle. And I want us to start supporting each other to have a balanced lifestyle and not get cranky with each other be, oh, they say no.
Dan: [00:06:00] Oh, they went home at three 30. My goodness, how can they possibly go home at three 30 and leave their computer here and not. Working at late until nine o'clock every night. Like I am, you know, this is, this is not the culture that we need to create. We need to create a culture that supports teachers that helps them to have a balanced life so they can go home and be with their children.
Dan: They can go and have an enjoyable night out with their friends. They can leave their work at school all weekends, and then come in and get their work done at school. There are lots of ways to do this, but. Just wanna address the cultural issue in this episode, our culture at schools, and we are that culture, right?
Dan: As teachers, we are the culture in our schools and we need to start. Taking action and being counter-cultural being counter or against the whole culture of being busy and the whole hashtag hustle culture that exists that this whole system that was established to take advantage of [00:07:00] women and turn them into workaholics and to kind of own them as a school.
Dan: And that I think. something that we need to push beyond in education. We need to get rid of this idea that the school owns you, that they can tell you what to do with all of your time and that you should do everything that you possibly can for the kids that is not true. All of that needs to be fought against.
Dan: And so this race episode it's gonna be, this is pretty short, just am talking about the culture. I wanna help you to start taking actions against this culture. And so your action, this. This week when you are at school, I want you to find something that you are getting asked to do, or you are asked to do and say no to it.
Dan: Okay. If someone calls you up and says, can, please can't be a part of this meeting. I want you to say no, I just wanna say, no, sorry. I'm busy doing this and leave it like that and see what, see what happens. Okay. If you have a principal that get, kind of says, you gotta get here or you're fired, right then sure.
Dan: Go, don't get. But [00:08:00] then go and look for a job elsewhere. um, you want people who are gonna support you in getting the things done that matter. Okay. And that is what we're gonna do as teachers. Right. I wanna start a bit of a movement where teachers care about each other and help each other to do less work.
Dan: That is what I want. I want teachers who. Can focus on what really matters in education and not get so caught up. And if you're an admin, you know, a principal, a deputy principal, a head teacher, if you are adding work to anyone underneath you, that is not work that they have to do, that they legally is required or anything like that.
Dan: If it is just work, you're giving them to make your life easier. Please get rid of that work. Okay. Find another way to get that to happen and reduce the workload. Okay. So if you are in an admin. or leadership role in the school. I want your action this week to somehow reduce the workload of the teachers around you.
Dan: It could be as simple as sending an email instead of running a whole staff [00:09:00] meeting. Okay. Mostly I find whole staff meetings, ill waste of time. Find another way for your announcements. Just simple like that. Right? Tell 'em to reply and say, I've read the email. That's fine. Okay. And you. Quickly archive all those emails and go awesome.
Dan: They all read it. Okay. You don't have to have everyone in a meeting for an hour and have 600 questions from one person and the rest of the people, teachers in there go, I wish I wasn't here. Let's do things as teachers to reduce the workload of those around us. Okay. Schedule some time. But for all teachers, no matter what position you're in schedule some time now for some recreation, with your.
Dan: Or with your family. Okay. Just schedule time in your diary, pull out your diary, your calendar, right on your phone, something and just book in some time where you are not working, where you are doing something that is recreational, right leisure. I want you to do something that's leisure with friends and family.
Dan: A whole chunk of time where you are [00:10:00] not teaching is time to look after you and be a counter-cultural teacher and for us as teachers to change our culture. But if you would like to go deeper with this kind of idea of working less teaching more, or you just wanna become. A more effective teacher. Don't forget to come and sign up for the three part video series on effective teaching.
Dan: We're gonna talk about how to reduce your workload. We are gonna talk about what it looks like to be an effective teacher, how to design lessons, what should happen in your classroom, that kind of stuff. And I'm also gonna talk about the four key things that teachers. To be doing, to be involved in all that kind of stuff for them to be effective and to be effective long term.
Dan: And part of that is this whole being countercultural and reducing your workload, cuz you cannot be an effective teacher, long term. If you are working busy and just working 50 hours a week and that kind of [00:11:00] craziness that's gonna burn you out, that's gonna get you really frustrated and stressed. Anxious and annoyed at the whole system.
Dan: And I want you to be counter that and so come and find out the effective teaching series, go to teacherspd.net/etseries sign up there. I hope to see you otherwise, I will send you another podcast episode next week.