Why TES is my best friend – reducing teacher workload

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As teachers, our role encompasses so many different aspects. It isn’t just about planning and delivering lessons; we are also expected to provide a safe space for pupils, fulfil our pastoral duties, analyse data, set targets, give good feedback, undertake our own CPD, mentor other teachers and all the while document everything and keep on top of the associated admin to ensure we have evidence should OFSTED turn up.

Like many others, I am a teacher because I am passionate about learning. Imparting knowledge on others and helping them to understand is, for me, the most rewarding part of the job. However, in today’s schools, it feels like it plays such a small part of the profession.

As much as I hate to say it, we all know that lesson planning time is limited, we need to use it efficiently and make lessons that we can deliver as well as possible in as short a time as possible.

This is why I befriended TES. I know that if I sit down and think for long enough, I can come up with a creative, innovative idea for a good (sometimes amazing) lesson but it is unfortunately at detriment to either my wider professional roles or my personal/social life.  So now I turn to TES; there are so many talented teachers creating amazing lessons and a quick search is nearly always fruitful.  For those that don’t know, TES is a platform for sharing lessons and resources: teachers upload resources they have created for other to either buy or download for free. It is testimony to the good nature of teachers that there are so many willing to put up resources for free.

So many teachers have good ideas and often very similar ideas to my own, it’s always worth checking to see what is already out there. I do go through the lessons and alter them where needed; there is nothing worse than being in the middle of teaching a lesson and having no idea what is coming next. I also often merge lessons together to make one that suits me.

However, TES is not just good for finding lessons to teach. It is also great for checking you are teaching the right content – especially if you are a new teacher!

Having been in several roles right from the start of my career where I was thrown into the deep end and was responsible for the development/teaching of various GCSE curriculums: I have found it a great way to develop my own subject knowledge. Looking over other people’s lessons and ways of explaining concepts is a great way of getting myself to understand them. Furthermore, it acts as a sort of regulatory service, providing me with standards as to what needs to be covered.

At a time when teacher workload is high and can often feel impossible to maintain, it is important that, we do what we can to reduce our own ‘to do’ list. There are lots of aspects that we have no control over; the number of times books need to be marked, the number of lessons we have to teach, data drops, interventions etc. So where possible we must take control and find quick ‘hacks’ – anything to save a bit of time.