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  • Writer's pictureGuru Press Staff

Balancing Teaching Load and Added work – The Challenge of Being a Teacher

By: Gary John M. Caling

In the Philippines, basic education teachers do not just teach, they also do admin work, domestic cleaning, and other chores for their classrooms and the school, do errands, participate in community service or engage in action research, as well as at times work as a guidance counselor visiting students. There are of course other things teachers do that may be thrown at them as the need arises.

In some unfortunate cases, teachers have to use their personal resources to carry out their jobs, which include but are not limited to spending their own hard-earned money.

Basic education teachers certainly can resonate with the volume of work one has to juggle and fulfill, especially relating to requirements and documents for regular submissions as well as the not-so-regular ones like reports from attending a seminar, holding activities, and running programs. Teachers have become multi-taskers with multi-functions. While this elevates teachers into somewhat above-normal human workers, it doesn’t necessarily translate into quality education.

Imagine a teacher teaching six hours a day, 5 days a week, handling at least 2 to 3 sections. That teacher needs to prepare at least 3 lessons a day and correct papers or assignments of about 300 students daily if not at least twice a week. If the teacher attends a seminar, does community service, or participates in research or activities, that teacher has to squeeze in the work during work hours. So, one has to take home much of the work.

It is difficult to master something if one does many things at the same time.

As a basic education teacher, I am left with no choice but to evolve to survive and still provide a level of acceptable quality of teaching and learning environment to my students. I found the importance of skills and knowledge of management, organizing, process, and collaboration.

Basic education teacher has to be good managers – assessing their resources (time, supplies, skills, students, networks, etc.) and working with what they have. Being good at managing made me good at allocating resources and budgeting time. This comes with organizing. If we want efficiency, we have to organize our schedules, our stuff, and even our networks. When we have everything in a category or timeline and order of priorities, things become less hard.

Process is important in management and in allocating resources as well as in organizing. The processes of how you do your work can help you cut down time and cost. If you can shorten your process, why finish something in 5 steps if you can do it in 3 steps?

As teachers, we need to accept that we are not all-knowing and omnipotent, we have our flaws and lackings. These could be helped by having networks or people we can collaborate with. Working with experts in various fields will help us finish our job faster and better. There is always some room for evolution and learning.

While it is not easy to be a teacher, if you chose to be in this kind of work, you will still be successful if you evolve and transform. There is not much money in the teaching profession that can make you rich, but there is a sizeable wealth of contentment. Managing our workload entails new skills and new ways of doing things. Evolution is much needed to become a more efficient and effective teacher.


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