No to Excess Paperwork

January 16, 2018

0 minute read

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to my blog. I won’t even say how long it has been since I have last posted, suffice to say it has been too long!

I have been thinking lately about paperwork and teaching. I get a lot of messages asking for advice and support on this. Honestly, I can’t believe the amount of time people spend on paperwork, I thought I was bad. I have collated a few ideas to help cut down on unnecessary time spent on this.

First of all, teachers need to go back to basics! Just use your imagination! The best lessons I have taught have been ones I have thought of myself which suit my class and my teaching style. I used to spend so much time searching the internet for ideas on a certain topic without even trying to think of ideas myself. And guess what? It is the biggest waste of time ever! The internet has lots of great material, but I find for every one suitable art lesson or resource, you have to wade through twenty useless ones.

If you are having a mental block, just use your teacher resource books and the many art books I am sure you having gathering dust in your press. Remember it is not about who has the best art display in the school (though I know some schools unfortunately encourage this). It is about the children learning and enjoying the process, even if they don’t have a perfect piece of art for you to hang on the wall at the end of the lesson. It takes far less time to find an art lesson in a resource book than searching online. If you do search on-line, don’t fall down the pinterest hole. There are loads of new teachers on instagram and facebook who have set up blog pages and are sharing excellent ideas, many of which I have used myself. Unfortunately no names spring to mind at the moment but I’ll share them if I think of them. Also many Irish teachers like myself who have blogs share many free resources, just download them! They may come in handy some day. The biggest stumbling block people seem to face is the gathering of resources which is crazy. That can be done quickly and efficiently.


I personally think the best way to save time in planning is to write detailed long term plans. This takes a little longer at the start of the term but it saves so much time throughout the school year. If your plans are super detailed , you can just copy and paste the objectives for your fortnightly plans. This saves ages! Also, if you know roughly the four art lessons you are doing each month you will be subconsciously thinking of ideas for your lessons which also saves time. It’s all in the detail.

A brilliant NIPT mentor I once had told us not to overload your class with written work. If it is written work it HAS to be corrected. This takes a lot of time. Obviously a certain amount of written work in necessary each day but not for every single lesson. There are so many other ways to assess lessons!

Try not to bring too much work home with you. I will be four years qualified this March and it is only now I am realising this. I usually get to school at around 8:15 so I have a good forty minutes to plan for the day ahead which is essential for me. I could never do any work of substance in my classroom after school. It is just too busy and my head is too busy to focus. If you must, set aside one evening a week or a morning at the weekend to do your paperwork. I usually do my fortnightly plans on Saturday morning/afternoon and corrections etc are done in the morning before school. I have a very demanding little dog to look after and attend to so I simply cannot spend hours on my laptop in the evenings!

When we think of paperwork, we think of long term plans, fortnightly plans, cuntas miosuils , resources and assessment. We also however have the huge amount of paperwork aside from this, such as student support files, note keeping, incident recording, differentiated learning packs, and as much more beyond. When there is so much paperwork which is mandatory, I wouldn’t waste time on searching up ten different writing templates for procedural writing. There’s a lot to be said for going back to basics.

I do create my own resources but that only happens when the creative streak strikes and I actually enjoy making them so it is not too bad.Also, it takes me less time to make my own resources than to google them.

It can be hard to cut back on paperwork when our educational system keep throwing new initiatives at us , but do try not to let it get on top of you.

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