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Report Cards/Admin work in class...
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Is it a bad thing to do administrative tasks, such as writing out grades or filling out other required forms during classtime with students?
Yes! Every moment in the classroom should be spent tossing pearls of wisdom before the hungry students! They are here to hear my voice, after all....
15%
 15%  [ 4 ]
In general yes, but if the administration specifically asked you to fill something out in class, then it is ok.
11%
 11%  [ 3 ]
Adminsitrative paperwork and grade reporting -- whut dat?
3%
 3%  [ 1 ]
If the teacher has designed a sound lesson that allows for time to do some administrative tasks, more power to 'em!
50%
 50%  [ 13 ]
Teachers are over-worked and under-paid, and the boss should be happy we are filling out the report card at all!
19%
 19%  [ 5 ]
If I could leave my students alone to work on something for 5 minutes, I'd rather pop out for a smoke than fill out a report.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 26

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thegadfly



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:36 am    Post subject: Report Cards/Admin work in class... Reply with quote

OK, while I agree that in SOME cases teachers will use too much class time to do administrative tasks, but on the other hand, there ARE some tasks that MUST be done in class, and a decent teacher will learn to plan lessons that incorporate this necessity. In my own case, we were asked to write up a 3-5 sentence summary of the student's work in class, every 2 weeks. This bi-weekly report was sent home with the students, on a form that was in the student's possession (i.e. it could NOT be filled out anywhere else BUT class DURING class). Thus, on the day it was due, I always scheduled an activity -- a quiz or reading assignment or something -- that would take about 10 minutes of individual work. I collected forms, handed out the assignment, and I busily wrote while my students were busily writing. Not only do I see nothing wrong with that, I see it as an effective display of time management and class preparation.

In another thread, a teacher mentioned getting yelled at by a boss for filling out report cards while students worked on another assignment...and some posters agreed with the boss that this behavior was wrong. Without hearing the particulars of the situation, I would disagree with folks that think it wrong -- it goes by many names : time management, multi-tasking, efficiency, effective planning....

One of the things I was taught when working on my teaching degree is that in a 50 minute class, one should plan about 10 minutes worth of assignments that "free up" the teacher to do administrative tasks. Another thing one is taught is to space out homework and exam due dates, keeping grade reporting dates in mind...and to plan lessons near grade time that free up more admin time in the classroom.

Of course, having students work alone on something in the typical ESL classroom may be more difficult to arrange than I have presented -- how do you give a written quiz to students that can not read on their own, for example -- but the point is that a teacher would NOT be doing the admin work in a class in which students could not do an assignment alone...it would be done in a class in which it is educationally sound to expect a student to complete an assignment of some sort. In fact, to really evaluate how well a student has learned, it is NECESSARY to have a student work entirely alone and unaided at times -- so if a student MUST work alone on challenging assignments some of the time, in order to gauge progress properly, isn't it more of a waste to have the teacher just stand there during that time, looking at the students?

Easy compromise -- get a clipboard or hard-cased folder and do your admin work while standing or walking around the room instead of sitting at the desk. I have noticed that a lot of people equate standing with teaching and sitting with being lazy. I know teachers who have taught sitting down, and I have known administrators that hated it, both in the US and in Korea. If you are standing, even if it is right by the desk so you can check the answers in a book, that may be enough to mollify an overly sensitive boss....
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Skarp



Joined: 22 Aug 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strictly speaking it is wrong to do admin in class time. We often have to but I hate it and so do the students.

Enough 'spare time' should be programmed into the day/week to allow this to be done outside of lessons. The unprofessionalism and penny pinching in education management (worldwide) means teachers have barely enough time to prepare lessons.

2-3 minutes to give out a form/notice etc is OK - but it's best if even this can be done at the end of a lesson - after the time is up.


Skarp
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William Beckerson
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What? You so important that you cant stay for 30 minutes after work and fill out some reports?
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thegadfly



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I'll bite Skarp -- why do you think that "Strictly speaking it is wrong to do admin work during class time?"

Actually, "strictly speaking" you are only PAID for your time in class, right? So, strictly speaking, the only time you should be REQUIRED to do work IS during your paid time, right? All kinds of folks find unpaid, compulsory overtime to be wrong. If you get paid for 8 hours work you should do 8 hours work. It is just as wrong to get paid for 8 when you only put in 4 real hours as it is to be paid for 8 when you actually work 12. If they wanted you to stick around filling out paperwork for 30 minutes a day, shouldn't they PAY you for those 30 minutes? Some people have jobs that are composed ENTIRELY of paperwork, so obviously the paperwork IS work -- heck, it even has work in the name!

Please, no PERSONAL attacks against me -- you don't know me, you only know what I choose to say here. Point out the flaws in my argument, propose alternate views, give a different basis for comparison, do anything to advance the discussion, but no broad brush strokes and no black and white assessments -- I put this up because I am sincerely interested in different views on this subject, and the rationale behind those views.
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Skarp



Joined: 22 Aug 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The students (or their parents) have paid to be taught.

Teachers have been paid to teach.

Teachers shouldn't be so overworked/the school day so overstretched that class time gets used for admin.


I know it's not like that in the real world. Hence strictly speaking.


If your employer obliges you to do admin in class, in the end it's their fault. Sadly, the students will blame the teacher for being lazy or disorganised when I know for the most part teachers would like to teach well.

So - it's wrong - but I don't blame the teachers.

OK?

Skarp
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only time I have done administrative work in class is during a reading and writing exam where I have nothing to do but sit for 45-90 minutes anyhow while the students are writing.

Your time in class, when students are busy working on activities alone, should be spent monitoring students and helping as need be.
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matthews_world



Joined: 15 Feb 2003
Location: Coming to a norae-bang near you!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Yes! Every moment in the classroom should be spent tossing pearls of wisdom before the hungry students! They are here to hear my voice, after all....


This is my vote, but damn, how strongly worded is this.

This isn't certainly my philosophy or method of teaching.

Are you stating that teachers are babysitters? In my teaching students actually work and learn.



Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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steroidmaximus



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Location: GangWon-Do

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Kimcheeking. . .I have at times done administrative stuff in class, but you should be circulating and helping the students out. Just standing? uh, no. Most teaching contracts that I've seen mention teaching hours as being x amount, and that prep and admin are the teacher's responsibility and need to be done outside of class.
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thegadfly



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Steroidmaximus and Kimcheeking:

Can't a teacher monitor and offer help while checking a paper or writing out a report? Sure, one has to stop writing to ask or answer a question, but isn't having the teacher staring at the students a distraction? Are you suggesting that no "real" learning can take place when a student is supposed to work alone?

To Matthews_world:

Yes, I worded it intentionally strongly in an effort to engender discussion. There are teaching methodologies in which the teachers strives to provide the bare minimum input, answering no questions whatsoever. The teacher observes, asks leading questions, perhaps jumps in if a behavioral problem presents itself, but basically tries to fade from view as the "focus" of the class.

No single methodology is effective for all teachers in all schools for all students in all situations, but I started this thread because I heard teachers echoing the sentiment of some misguided administrators I have encountered -- namely, that if the teacher isn't talking, the students aren't learning. There are times when it isn't just ok for the teacher to be doing something else, there are times when it is NECESSARY for the teacher to seem to be doing something else.

I do know that the times I have had to muddle through to the answer on my own, when I DID get the answer, I had truly learned it -- I had "figured it out," and so I had learned not just the answer, but a process whereby *I* personally could come up with an answer...learning as a process as well as learning as an outcome....

If the teacher seems busy or distracted by something, students do not feel as watched, and will relax a little. Their behavior and methods will lapse into the patterns they adopt when you are NOT watching like a hawk. The thing is, it is entirely possible to keep an entire class under supervision, answering questions and addressing problems if you wish, while filling out paperwork. When driving, one keeps one's eyes on the road, but is supposed to check the mirrors and gauges...and you can drink your coffee and change the channel on the radio. It is true that some people divide their attention too far and become worse drivers because of it, and some things I would agree are too much of a distraction (cell phones, for example), but if you were to say that cars should not have radios because if people are listening to music they are not driving as well as they need to be...well, I would suggest that is going a bit overboard.

Admin work is part of your duties as a teacher, so it must be done. If your contract spells out that it is NOT to be done during class time, or if you already have a clause about required prep time outside of class, then I would be inclined to agree that it shouldn't be done in class. But as Kimcheeking pointed out, there are times when a teacher pretty much HAS to do something other than watch and sit on his/her hands in class (such as while administering a long exam), because to do otherwise is a waste of time.

I have worked at schools where it was expected that I talk to the students for the entire time, or nearly the entire time. Lecture IS an effective teaching method, but not necessarily the most effective method, nor even the only method that SHOULD have been used. It was, however, the method prefered by that school's administrators and so it was pretty much all I did. I CAN teach that way, but I know to use only one method is not as effective as using a variety of methods...and my surprise at hearing teachers espousing the same beliefs as misguided administrators (that lecture is the only "real" teaching) caused me to try to stir things up a little....
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thegadfly wrote:
To Steroidmaximus and Kimcheeking:

Can't a teacher monitor and offer help while checking a paper or writing out a report? Sure, one has to stop writing to ask or answer a question, but isn't having the teacher staring at the students a distraction? Are you suggesting that no "real" learning can take place when a student is supposed to work alone?


No.

A teacher needs to be listening to students as they are working on assigned tasks so that common errors can be reviewed at the end of class. The teacher also needs to correct important errors immediately and be there to help correct misunderstandings. That is students think they are doing it right but are not: Students won't ask you a question in a situation such as that.

Teachers in order to be effective should also be participants in the classroom whether passive or active. Even when being passive you need to be 100% on task and not distracted by paperwork.

Additionally if you are doing paperwork, how are you going to be aware of what is going on in the class. Both the paperwork and the students will suffer as a result. You are in the classroom for the students - paperwork and administrative stuff should be done outside of the classroom.
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ulsanchris



Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Location: take a wild guess

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 5:56 pm    Post subject: hmm Reply with quote

My thoughts on this are pretty much in line with Kimcheeking's. While in class a teacher's attention should be focused on the students and the students shouldn't feel that they are bothering the teacher in order to ask a question.
During an exam no "teaching" is going on so its ok to do administration work.
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Skarp



Joined: 22 Aug 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can be useful to take your attention off the students sometimes...and the ruse of doing admin could be useful here. Leaving the room also has it's merits as does staring pointedly out of a window or pretending to focus on one student while actually listening to another........

But actually concentrating on the admin is not really fair.

It all depends how serious the school is too.

In another post, someone got 'yelled at' for doing reports in class time and ended up fired...

The yelling and the firing are both 'wronger' in my opinion. But I gather typical enough Korean management strategies....


Once when I was teaching a large class of students in my college job (in the UK), my boss (as she thought) came in 10 minutes before the end and started handing out letters to some of the students. I threw her out.

Skarp
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skarp wrote:
Leaving the room also has it's merits


I often do this just to give students 30 secs to get started without pressure. This is often under the guise of going to the washroom or buying a drink from the drink machine.
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thegadfly



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Kimcheeking:

No to which question? No a teacher can not concentrate on two things at once (to which I would be forced to disagree, though different people have differing multi-tasking skills...perhaps it would be safer to simply assert that some teachers CAN pay attention to two things at once, and that perhaps this is a skill that grows with experience), or no, you are not suggesting that no learning can go on when students work alone....

Wow, long sentence....

Also, I guess I am assuming that the admin work to which I refer is something that CAN be left and picked up without too much concentration -- grading a multiple choice test or spelling quiz, filling out a brief (5 sentence or less) reporting form, that kind of thing. Grading essay tests or commenting on student writing is more demanding of the teacher's attention, and so would probably take too much attention -- the cell phone while driving in my previous analogy....

Also, I disagree that to be effective a teacher needs to be a PARTICIPANT...I find quite the opposite, actually, at least in Korea. Before I can get some of my Korean students to take risks, I have to remove myself from the lesson -- the drive to emulate the teacher or to give the teacher what he wants can hinder learning. When I talk, my students shut up and listen -- which is wonderful in a lecture class, but brings a discussion to a grinding halt, for example. There are times when teacher participation is necessary, but there are times when it impedes learning.

Now, I agree a teacher should always be aware of what is going on, and should be in control of the class...but control can be passive and unseen...I know that by merely glancing up from the paper and making eye contact with a student, I can correct behavior...and by going back to my "paperwork" I can cause my students to relax again.... Keeping students on task or behaving properly has never been a problem for me in Korea, whereas getting them to speak up, take risks with the language, and try things out HAS been quite a challenge...many of my students would refuse to speak, simply for fear of mispronouncing a word...so seeming inattention actually acts to encourage them...they feel freer to try when the teacher isn't paying attention....

And doing some admin task in class provide this opportunity to appear inattentive...and have the added bonus of being time efficient.

I am not defending any teacher that ignores a class to do admin work. I am not defending a teacher that is unable to pay sufficient attention while doing admin work. I am not defending teachers that give poorly designed assignments simply to buy some time to check papers. I am talking about a controlled situation, planned in advance by the teacher, and educationally sound. Ideally, you should have about 5-10 minutes of this kind of time planned in to every single lesson....

If you are checking tests and someone throws a wad of paper across the room, and you don't know who it was, then yeah, you shouldn't be doing admin stuff in class. If you know who it was, well...why not check some tests then?
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only time I do anything remotely "administrative" in the classroom is grading papers. I've tried doing it outside of class, and it gets really confusing for me, really fast. I don't like grading 1,200 papers.
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