'Photocopying? No thanks!' Teachers 'work to rule' in force

'Photocopying? No thanks!' Teachers 'work to rule' in force

Since 1st December, teachers in the NASUWT have been on a 'work to rule', engaging only in tasks within their job description in an attempt to tackle workload issues.

Since last Thursday, NASUWT members are supposed to be enacting a 'work to rule'. This came about as a separate item on that unions November 30th strike ballot.

Teachers work long hours, doing a stressful, high-pressure job and as a result many don't have any sensible 'work-life balance'. The work to rule advises teachers not to undertake a variety of tasks, normally admin tasks, that fall outside a teacher's job description. Typically these include things like photocopying, data-entry, phoning kids about attendance, processing paperwork, all of which should really be done by the school's admin team, who are normally overworked themselves already!

I've teacher friends who've had breakdowns because of the job, fought with their partners when stressed, or not seen their kids nearly enough because of the shit being thrust on them by the deeply reactionary and unhealthy obsession in schools with, targetting, setting, league tables and performance management. Some friends just quit the profession altogether because they'd rather work for less money and not have an incompetent manager bully them.

In my own school it's so far had a positive effect, people are openly talking about it, whether they're NASUWT or not, and are refusing to do cover, refusing to do additional photocopying, and leaving at a reasonable time!

I've no idea what impact it's having nationally yet, and I'd be really curious to see how it has been received in academies, but any sensible teacher, NASUWT or not, will be observing this action, and clawing back a little bit of their lives everyday. Management should not know what union you are in, and they've no business asking.

This is still a drop in the open, but so far it has people at my school talking. 'I didn't know that wasn't in our job description, I quite like this work to rule'. Importantly it should hopefully create a culture of saying 'NO' to additional tasks that dump shitloads more stress on already run-ragged workers in schools who are smothered in a plethora of bullshit paperwork everytime a new faddy assessment measure, or fashionable teaching tool comes in.

Teachers are often made to feel like they're 'not taking one for the team' if they don't say YES to every management whim. So next time I'm asked to do a fucking last-minute cover-lesson, I know what I'll be saying 'sorry, you know I'd reeaaaalllly LOVE to do it... but, work to rule and all'.

Posted By

Choccy
Dec 7 2011 17:27

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Chilli Sauce
Dec 7 2011 17:45

I'd be curious to know how this is affected relationships with support staff? I know there's often a divide there, are non-teaching staff supportive or do they see this as teachers pushing more work on them?

jef costello
Dec 7 2011 18:23

I hadn't even heard about this. If anyone at my school is doing it they haven't told me!

Railyon
Dec 7 2011 19:05

Good stuff. I have a friend who's a high school teacher, and what he tells me about his workload sounds absolutely awful!

Maybe I should turn him on to ideas like these.

Choccy
Dec 7 2011 21:59
Chilli Sauce wrote:
I'd be curious to know how this is affected relationships with support staff? I know there's often a divide there, are non-teaching staff supportive or do they see this as teachers pushing more work on them?

So far I've not heard many grumbles as the main one in our school has been refusing to do cover, I do know that the reprographics people are also overworked, like us all. So the next step should really be talking to them and encouraging them to refuse any workload above their remit.

Clearly management will use this to divide workers, when in fact, admin staff being overworked is a symptom of there being too much fucking work full stop, as opposed to lazy teachers! wink

I'd be curious to hear how others are experiencing this. It's intrerested that Jef hasn't come across it. I know that NUT locally are discussing their response. The NASUWT may well poach people from NUT as this is a fairly bold step off the back of joining the pension strikes.

Choccy
Dec 14 2011 01:51

According to this week's TES it's had a fairly shite uptake, especially with NUT dragging their heels on workload issues. Even still, in my school everyone is refusing cover, which is good, but it sounds like nationally it's a damp squib. I'll post more tomorrow.

Harrison
Dec 15 2011 13:17

The amount of lessons at school i remember couldn't have functioned without photocopied handcouts...

Caiman del Barrio
Dec 15 2011 19:07
Harrison wrote:
The amount of lessons at school i remember couldn't have functioned without photocopied handcouts...

LOL if this were applied in TEFL, I think the entire industry would collapse by 8.15am Monday! smile