Statutory Duty

Getting past the teacher workload barrier

Thursday 23rd April 2015

Teachers are busy people. Most are hard-working, conscientious and concerned not only with the data but also doing the best for the young people that they teach. There comes a point where everyone has to say, No more, I can't do any more. The last 10 years of my teaching life saw the teacher workload spin totally out of control, I'm well aware that teachers have more than enough on their plate. So I'm hardly surprised when I talk to teachers about careers education that the most frequent response is....

It's not my job, they go to a careers adviser for that!
Just stay with me for a while, I'm honestly not trying to give you extra work, I'm just trying to show you a different way of working that will, in most cases, save you work filling in incident slips and phoning parents about behaviour.

When I talk about careers education in subject lessons, I don't mean devoting a whole lesson to careers using maths/science/PE. Your job isn't to know about all the various careers that might spin off from an enjoyment of your subject. It's a 2 pronged offensive:-

1. Showing your pupils where the theory you're trying to teach them fits into the real, scary world. That way, there is a point to what they're being taught.

2. Opening their eyes to the jobs they don't encounter on a daily basis. If you teach RE for instance, you might say well how many of them will become priests, vicars, imams etc. How about advice worker, charity worker, civil service?

My daughter never thought in a million years that she'd use the maths skills she learned in KS3 every single day of her working life but she is. (She works for Carpet Right) Nor did she connect the team working skills she learned in PE to managing a team or the communication skills she learned in drama to dealing with difficult customers. Maybe if she had, she'd had worked a little harder at school and I'd have a few less grey hairs.

My son never thought he'd be a forensic computer programmer, he'd never heard of the job much less thought about how he could become one.

OK, I see the point but I've still got loads and loads to do & time is short...

Simple quick ways to introduce careers learning into your classroom

  • It's simple to Google careers using your subject and you'll get some great ideas. Get pupils to do this and design posters for your classroom showing the careers they can access using your subject.
  • Use Careersbox or iCould to show the career journeys of related careers
  • Just mention a skill is used in a certain occupation or situation perhaps even get somebody in to talk about their working life.
  • Access the resources on my subject teacher Pinterest boards something is bound to be useful

Simple quick ways to introduce careers across a subject area

  • Allocate the post of subject careers leader to a member of the team - use 6th formers if possible - their job is to keep their eyes on news feeds for articles & videos related to careers using your subjects Use RSS feeds to save time.
  • A departmental careers using notice board - a good place to put some of the articles from the RSS feed.
  • Use the VLE/Staff drive to group together careers resources for the whole department to access easily

Simple effective ways to introduce careers across the school

  • Allocate a governor/SLT member to line manage careers
  • Adopt a careers learning logo to be used on all flipcharts, resources & displays which include careers references
  • Make careers learning a whole school issue in the same way as literacy or numeracy is. Have a standardised approach
  • Have a system for referring students to a careers adviser - giving pupils advice about career options isn't a teacher's job, with the best will in the world they don't have a wide enough knowledge base and even the newest teacher is at least 4 years out of date with information about job choice.