Teaching Profession

7 Duties Teachers Would Gladly Stop Doing

By Elizabeth Heubeck — August 09, 2023 2 min read
Photograph of young woman teacher sitting at her school desk scatters documents by tossing them over her head.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Heading into a new school year, it’s hard to forget the toll the last one took on teachers.

Eighty-five percent of K-12 educators surveyed during the 2022-23 school year said they were considering a job change, and nearly half pointed to outsized responsibilities and workloads as the reason, according to a nationally representative Education Week Research Center survey of approximately 1,200 K-12 educators. More than 4 in 10 teachers in that survey said their teaching and professional growth suffered because of the state of their mental health.

These sobering statistics bear exploring. And there’s no better time to do it than before teachers find themselves deep into yet another school year.

So we reached out to teachers on social media and asked: If you could take one thing off your plate this school year, what would it be?

Perhaps not surprising, the responses we received centered largely on non-teaching responsibilities. We received many duplicates; for instance, “lunch duty” clearly stands out as a sore spot among teachers.

Here’s a breakdown of responsibilities that, in an ideal world, teachers would like to relinquish this upcoming school year:

Lesson plans

“Lesson plans that have to be submitted, simply to be on file. Takes nearly all of my time! Do you want me wasting time writing lesson plans or actually teaching?!?!”

—Shawn R.

Lunch and recess duty

“Lunch duty! We have it for 1 hour and 5 minutes!! On those days, we have no planning, no lunch, and no bathroom break!!”

—Melanie CK

Grading

“Grades. Let’s. Just. Learn. Let’s play, let’s experiment. Forget the pressure of an arbitrary evaluation system that most times doesn’t reflect the mastery of the subject until many weeks after the units are completed.”

—Amanda G.

State assessments

“If we could just focus on spending more time teaching our kids and less time on tests not even made by people who understand education we could make more of an impact. Genuinely get to the heart of teaching.”

—Erin K.

Professional development

“Useless PD that some legislators thought was great.”

—Beth M.

Managing disruptive behaviors

“Dealing with behaviors that are beyond the control of the classroom. Have others take accountability for those behaviors so I can teach the other 24 kids and make sure they have a good day.”

—Kristin M.

Meetings

“Useless meetings—meetings for the sake of meeting.”

—Anne VL

What’s the solution?

Simply willing away these less-than-desired aspects of the teaching profession won’t make them disappear. But, as previously reported, administrators’ willingness to consider practical ways to support teachers and re-allocate responsibilities could go a long way to starting the new school year off strong for educators.

Donna Christy, a school psychologist and the president of the Prince George’s County Educators Association in Maryland, suggested that administrators ask themselves: “What’s a must versus a want in terms of what you’re asking educators to do?”

“What’s burying [teachers] is all this work that they shouldn’t have to do—just let them teach,” Christy said. “And everybody outside of the classroom should be thinking, ‘What can I do to support what’s going on within those four walls of the classroom?’ ”

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Teachers’ Careers Go Through Phases. They Need Support in Each
Teachers experience a dip in job satisfaction a few years into their careers.
5 min read
Vector illustration of a female teacher at her desk with her head in her hands. There are papers, stacked notebooks, and a pen on the desk and a very light photo of a blurred school hallway with bustling students walking by in the background.
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Download Downloadable: 5 Ways Principals Can Help With Teacher Burnout
This downloadable gives school leaders and teachers various ways to spot and treat teacher burnout.
1 min read
Silhouette of a woman with an icon of battery with low charge and icons such as a scribble line, dollar sign and lightning bolt floating around the blue background.
Canva
Teaching Profession Massages, Mammograms, and Dental Care: How One School Saves Teachers' Time
This Atlanta school offers unique onsite benefits to teachers to help them reduce stress.
3 min read
Employees learn more about health and wellness options during a mini benefits fair put on by The Lovett School in Atlanta on May 8, 2024.
Employees at the Lovett School in Atlanta meet with health benefits representatives during a mini benefits fair on May 8, 2024.
Erin Sintos for Education Week
Teaching Profession Opinion How Two Teachers Helped Me Weave a Dream
A journalist and debut book author dedicates her novel to two of her high school English teachers.
Anne Shaw Heinrich
3 min read
Image of nurturing the craft of writing.
Francis Sheehan for Education Week with N. Kurbatova / iStock / Getty