As teachers, our to-do lists are never-ending. Some might even say … impossible. It’s inevitable that we have to cut corners somewhere, and in a recent Reddit thread teachers are sharing all the ways they find creative workarounds to the endless pile of responsibilities. From eyeballing assignments to ditching formal lesson plans and even putting the kibosh on parent calls, these corner-cutting hacks are nothing if not relatable.
“C’mon. I know Y’all do it,” Dizzy_Instance8781 begins. “Teaching is a job that’s so intensive and has so many moving parts to it that you almost have to cut corners here and there to make it sustainable. I want to hear from you, where do you cut corners?”
The thread is filled with savvy teacher hacks, but also exposes a heavy dose of reality and cynicism about all teacher burnout and why so many are leaving education altogether.
“If you put a stone in turbulent enough water, eventually all the corners are gone,” said Thougtfulprof.
Other teachers quickly chimed in too, confessing their own hacks for cutting corners in the classroom.
Phone calls are out. Emails are in.
Teachers in the Reddit thread validated what many of us have already known: calling parents is a waste of time. Instead, they agreed emailing parents has been more effective than calling. Templated, cut-and-paste emails aren’t just a time saver; they also help keep a record of parent communication, explained MonsterByDay.
Sometimes, it doesn’t even make a difference how we reach out. Whatever method of communication we take, the response rate can be disappointing.
“I send out mass BCC ‘your child is failing’ emails once a quarter about a week before grades are due with a list of things the students can do to bring their grades up,” said UniqueUsername82D. “I would say less than 10% of emails even get a response.”
Axe formal lesson plans.
“No formal lesson plans. Ain’t nobody got time for that,” said mdmull4.
Regardless of if we have time for it, formal lesson planning is still a requirement in many school districts. Some brave teachers confessed they repurpose old lesson plans to skirt around this rule. (Insert three-finger salute of solidarity.)
“I have simply taken old ones and slapped different dates on them,” said Swaglfar. “When you’re a choir teacher, you can fit what you’re going to do on a post-it note.”
Grade to the beat of your own drum.
Blanket grading, sight grading, completion grading, call it whatever you want. Teachers in the thread shared that grading work is one of the biggest time sucks (shocker, right?), and they had unique approaches for how to get it done without working into the wee hours of the morning.
“Taking the time to read 5 periods with 36 students each,” said Content-Parsnip5533. “I would never have time to do anything else if I did not.”
Teachers like chaomera888 grade based on completion, “You either are getting the practice in, or you’re not, and that’s gonna show very obviously when the exam rolls around.”
MTskier12 had a similar approach, “I only grade tests/quizzes/projects. I don’t grade quickly at all. I have 150 students they get done when they get done sorry folks.”
Even after cutting corners, teachers are still leaving.
Sadly, there just aren’t enough corners to cut, and for many teachers the pressure is forcing them to resign. Morbid_Explorerrrr minced no words when they shared they planned to resign in three years “like any other good naive teacher who goes into the profession against the warnings of others.”
“Sometimes I envision how happy I’d be grinding these hours if I was making bank … I’d feel prideful over my work,” they said. “Instead, I just feel embarrassed that I am letting society take advantage of my efforts and time.”
We want to know, how do you cut corners?
As OriginalCDub put it, “I cut so many corners my work is now a circle.”
Are you a corner-cutting teacher, or do these confessions make you cringe? Please share in the comments or in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
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