I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. Peter de Vries, a Dutch investigative journalist and crime writer (1910-1993), said these words and they appeared on my WordPress screen.
I love being a teacher. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. I’ve just made a note of the things I have to do over the next few days to prepare for our mock inspection. Only one item relates to lesson preparation in terms of resources, the rest are paperwork related. This document, that document, tick this box, tick that box. Wouldn’t my time be better spent on designing effective lessons with innovative and engaging resources? Yes, it would, but I get the feeling that’s not really the focus. The whole emphasis is on pristine paperwork.
Surely, in this technological age, we should be aiming for a paper-free society. Instead, we seem to churn out more and more of the stuff, and success is measured by the paper trail we leave in our wake. No account is taken of certain achievements that happen as a result of what goes on in the classroom because they’re not measurable, no concrete (ie paper) evidence can be provided. For me, one of the greatest successes is when a student tells me they feel much more confident in their everyday life because their English has improved. But how can we measure this confidence? We can’t, so it is discounted.
I feel really strongly that we need to escape the tick-box culture that has been created and focus on what really matters…and that’s not the paper, it’s the people.