At the moment I have, for the first time in ages, access to my own blog and so I did what all narcissistic, self-obsessed bloggers do and went and read some of my old posts. Towards the end of my time in England, after I had left South Birmingham College but before I had secured my job in China, I posted a couple of rants about the state of the UK education system.
(It was something I was rather prone to.)
In the comments that followed one I mentioned that I expected the burdensome paperwork would be a feature of my life wherever I ended up.
In China this has not proven to be the case.
Now it's true that Chinese teachers have a lot of it but they also have a correspondingly light teaching load. For me, though, the teaching load is a little heavier but the paper work is...
Well, actually, that's the point. The paper work isn't. I could probably get away with none if I really put my mind to it. I was asked at the start of the term to provide a scheme of work but a bit of questioning revealed that all they wanted was a single sheet list of my planned topics. Took me nearly two minutes to dash that off.
I do write lesson plans but they are the kind I've always wanted to write - bullet point lists of what order I hope to do things in along with reminders of anything I might forget. They are to help me organise my lesson which is what lesson plans ought to be for.
Nobody but me sees them (well, apart from another teacher that I swap ideas with), nobody takes them, files them, annotates them, uses them in evidence against me or whatever.
Registers? Never seen one.
Individual learning Plans? I teach about 1200 kids a week. The idea is too ludicrous for words.
Health and Safety Assessments? In China? A country that routinely leaves open manholes in dark alleys? Really?
Evidence that I have met the Government agenda flavour of the month? (Yes "Every Child Matters" I'm looking at you.) Doesn't exist here.
All in all I'd say that I couldn't have less paperwork if I lived alone on a desert island.
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