My teaching colleague, working on a report about our school, lamented, “I didn’t become a teacher to do paperwork!” I am guessing most of us would say the same. Although necessary, the paperwork can pile up. It can seem overwhelming and even appear as a distraction from student learning.
Technology has helped some teachers. Others still struggle with paper and pen, perhaps. No matter the mode, the paperwork can seem daunting and, in some cases, pointless.
Yet we are required to submit all manner of documents. How can we do it in ways that keep our eyes on the goal of learning and might even bring us joy?
First, don’t let it pile up. Tackle it when it comes. That can diminish our sense of being overwhelmed. Second, remember the purpose of each paper-task. Diocesan surveys may result in advocacy or financial support; parish council reports or website articles can bolster peoples’ sense of ownership of the school. Parent-teacher communication can help us focus and be sure we don’t omit whatever good news we can share with parents.
The purpose of our lesson plans is obvious; because their immediate connection to the goal of learning is evident, we may find these plans less burdensome. Comments on student work are key to learning – offering affirmation and pointing to growth.
To Do: Recall how each piece of paperwork serves a larger purpose. Give thanks to God as you complete each one.
To Pray: Jesus, grant me patience with paperwork, and help me to recognise its value and purpose. Amen.