[Offtopic] Facebook and staff productivity

Stephen Digby digby.stephen.p at edumail.vic.gov.au
Tue Apr 22 11:40:17 EST 2008

Dear Jim, 
Still stirring the possum.
I am sitting here in a legal limbo - at school but on strike ! (Home to far
away - waste of time and planetary resources to go there).

So let's ramble....

Many teachers do indeed have a slack approach to the working day.  We forget
that lunch is 30 min, morning recess has no status as a break, attendance
requires us to be at school till about 4.36 each day... And that 7 weeks
paid holiday is a lot Etc.
Many of us compensate for this through a guilt that permeates the evenings,
weekends and sometimes holidays and results in an overcompensation of time
committed.  Many others don't.  
Thus what can be done during "normal working hours" is not a true measure of
what can be done.
Thus curriculum managers, administrators, ministry boffins are free to
develop policies, procedures and blueprints and such that have no hope in
hell of being implemented within a normal workload - this is even AFTER
putting in those extra hours at home.
This is not unique to teaching. Many jobs have been redefined over past
decades without completion time estimates. Performance measures increasingly
imply that tasks need to be completed by an employee "whatever it takes".
Failure to complete initiates a cycle of staff evaluation and eventually
replacement with someone that won't complain that the demands are
unreasonable (or indeed that the procedures ineffective, the policies stupid

As teachers we would do well to build more and more of our work into the day
and less and less into the nights, weekends and holidays.  We would do well
to accept the diminution of our holidays as long as the job made only
reasonable demands on our time during the working weeks.  Schools would be
more effective places if teachers stopped patching the incredibly
ineffective and inefficient curriculum structures, administrative procedures
and policy mazes.  We do not serve the profession or ourselves by
continually allowing the role of teacher to be widened.  In this wider role,
the parts that parents use to evaluate us attract less and less of our time
and energy. The parts that our paymasters use to evaluate teachers and
schools become larger and correlate less with the parent view. 
Serve both and you will lose more and more of your night.
Serve parents and you will be continually disappointing the paymaster's
performance targets.
Serve the paymaster and the parents may reconsider their enrolment......

Stephen Digby, Learning Technology Manager
mailto: digby.stephen.p at edumail.vic.gov.au  
Cheltenham Secondary College www.cheltsec.vic.edu.au
Ph: 613 955 55 955  Fx: 9555 8617 Mb: 0431-701-028

New York now leads the world's great cities in the number of people around
whom you shouldn't make a sudden move. David Letterman (1947   ) 
-----Original Message-----
From: offtopic-bounces at edulists.com.au
[mailto:offtopic-bounces at edulists.com.au] On Behalf Of Jim Maunder
Sent: Monday, 21 April 2008 8:52 AM
To: Information Technology Teachers' Offtopic Mailing List
Subject: RE: [Offtopic] Facebook and staff productivity

At 09:21 AM 08/04/2008, you wrote:
>Thank you very much, Geoff.
>In one way it is annoying that tech staff make judgments on teaching 
>staff productivity.
>In the end, we should all be able to choose how we use our 'free' time.
>As Ros succintly put it -- should be ban newspapers, sudoku, visiting 
>domaindotcomdotau or doing email activities?

I've already sent this - just added a bit to clarify things.

Ohhh - I can't let this go by without a comment (even though it impacts on
my productivity)!
Adding: I write this a 'tech staff' person who sits in a workshop next door
to the office of my boss, who the finance manager often pops in to visit
unannounced (I can't see him until the workshop door opens). I have a fairly
constant stream of customers (I'm the only laptop tech for 500 laptops) and
a small pile of lappies needing my attention. Fortunately I do have the
freedom to organise my own work, but I suspect many tech staff do not, and
could be somewhat envious of the freedom teachers seem to have.

My guess is that many teachers have never had to work in a normal office in
a typical non-school enterprise - they have not had to sit within sight of
'the boss', waiting like Bristow for the dreaded
yell: 'GET BACK TO WORK!!!'. A typical office worker does not have the
freedom that teachers have to organise their own time. I once worked in a
drawing office where to even raise your head to think about a design problem
would invite a comment from the Design Engineer.

Do you permit your students to read the papers, check their MySpace, sit
around drinking coffee and chatting in class like teachers might in a
typical staffroom?


We have to use this Disclaimer

Views, opinions, etc. expressed reflect those of the author and not Ruyton
Girls' School

Jim Maunder
Ruyton Girls School
Melbourne, Australia

offtopic mailing list
offtopic at edulists.com.au

Important - This email and any attachments may be confidential. If received in error, please contact us and delete all copies. Before opening or using attachments check them for viruses and defects. Regardless of any loss, damage or consequence, whether caused by the negligence of the sender or not, resulting directly or indirectly from the use of any attached files our liability is limited to resupplying any affected attachments. Any representations or opinions expressed are those of the individual sender, and not necessarily those of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

More information about the offtopic mailing list