Marking and workload: what teachers really think

Marking is a relentless, time-consuming and seemingly soul-destroying aspect of any teacher’s job

Here at Flohh, we wanted to find out what teachers really think, so we surveyed a whole bunch of them.

It’s probably no surprise that many are at risk of reaching burnout, but we think we have a solution.

Read on to hear the teachers’ opinions and find out how Flohh can help.

The overriding feeling for teachers in schools is one of frustration

Teachers genuinely want to do their jobs properly – to give their students ‘timely’ and ‘supportive’ feedback ‘that will actually help’.

Truth is, they just find it impossible.

Sadly, some of them struggle to find any positives about the marking process.

Not surprising really, given the time, energy and thought it takes. Teachers say it’s a ‘relentless’ and ‘thankless’ task. Worse still, they believe

‘not much attention [is] paid to the feedback or even the mark.’

Never Enough time for teachers

Because there’s never enough time, teachers have to streamline their feedback and sometimes even leave out the part where they ‘give a positive comment’.

Can students really be proud of their work when teachers are forced to cut the compliment out of the compliment sandwich?

Pressure on teachers to prove they are doing their jobs

Teachers say they feel the pressure to add value to their students and justify their marking because ‘students and parents may question [it].’

One teacher even sees marking as a way of proving to management that they are doing their job.

Bafflingly, while detailed marking should improve school performance, it actually takes away from ‘planning, professional development and classroom teaching’.

The bid to make marking meaningful is a double-edged sword

Teachers who refuse to cut corners are bearing the brunt of their heavy workload. After a day of teaching, sitting down with a pile of essays really is too big a mountain to climb.

The problem is, it simply has to be done. And diligently, our teachers ‘just buckle down and do it’.

Is marking an occupational hazard?

This is a seriously unhealthy situation. Our survey found that marking creates a feeling of genuine ‘dread’ in some teachers.

Worse still, some talk of an impact on their mental and physical health. One teacher is ‘frustrated’ and feels ‘a certain degree of inadequacy’ when students don’t meet expectations. While another says it is ‘degrading [their] eyesight’.

If teachers’ health is being damaged, how can they deliver lessons effectively?

And surely their health should not be put at risk by their job?

Are we dealing with an occupational hazard here?

A devastating reality for teachers

We are heartbroken by these stories, here at Flohh.

We believe teachers are entitled to a healthy work-life balance and shouldn’t have to live with ‘dread’, ‘frustration’ and an ‘excessive workload’.

The elusive state of marking Nirvana

Thankfully, the survey wasn’t all bad news – there are aspects of marking that some teachers like.

Such as, they are clearly an all-round wonderful bunch of human beings – smart, professional, and keen to help others. 

What teachers enjoy is ‘seeing the students take control’, ‘clear improvement’ and ‘signs that a student has taken on feedback and adjusted their writing accordingly’.

When this happens, the elusive state of marking Nirvana is reached: students benefit from teachers’ knowledge, teachers feel they are ‘genuinely guiding [students] to improve’ and schools perform well in results tables.

How Flohh can help teacher marking workload

So, what can we do to move forward and make this a more bearable and beneficial aspect of a teacher’s workload?

Here at Flohh HQ, we think we’ve found the solution. We’ve developed a powerful suite of simple-to-use tools that help make marking more efficient and effective.

We’ve built Flohh to specifically address the heavy workload, monotony and time loss, while making the job of marking more efficient, effective, and – dare we say – enjoyable?!

Flohh ensures that students meaningfully engage with teacher feedback to improve, which helps teachers to get closer to the marking ‘nirvana’ state mentioned above.

Getting started on Flohh is simple.

Head over to our website. Here, you’ll see how Flohh can help reduce essay marking time, streamline the process and ultimately improve results. Then, all you have to do is create your account, set your students a task and get ready to boss your marking like a Flohh pro.

What are you waiting for? A better work-life balance starts now.

Ange Alcock

Ange is the Founder of Flohh. She is a teacher and head of English at Mac.Robertson Girls' High School. Ange is developing the Flohh suite of Educational Tools because she is passionate about reducing teacher workload so there is more time to focus on the needs of students, generally and individually.

TEACHERS – GET FLOHH FREE

Are you interested in new and innovative tools to make your job easier? Are you a secondary school teacher in Australia, currently teaching English, History or any essay heavy subjects. FLOHH HAS BEEN CREATED FOR YOU!

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