"I'd love to go but I have so much marking."
"You know I have my Y9s on Mondays."
"We have Ofsted."
I've heard enough. Excuse after excuse. Line after line. We never work hard enough. We can't possibly work hard enough.
Recent surveys have confirmed: teacher workload is at an all-time high. Most of this workload is not related to classroom teaching; nearly all of it is "accountability." We mark for Ofsted. We plan for Challenge Partners. We moderate for the county. We prepare for "visitors."
We rarely teach.
We take piles of work home.
We are performance managed against "free time."
We double or triple our contracted working hours. For free!
We never say "no."
We bring it on ourselves.
Teachers: look in the mirror. The biggest impediment to reducing teacher workload is staring you in the face.
Your predecessors and your unions and your friends and parents and partners and reps and your colleagues have campaigned for this moment, this simple moment, where you say "enough is enough. I don't work for free."
You feel competitive because now your salary depends on it. You need a mortgage. Performance-related-pay has thrown out the collaboration and invited the competition. You can't get that house if the teacher in the class next door is outstanding too.
Teachers: stop. Yes your students' future is important - critical even - but this is not sustainable.
Union activists: stop celebrating our workload victories from behind your desks at work until night had fallen and your dinner is cold and your family is sleeping.
Don't give up on those days out that inform your teaching and help you convey the love of learning that is so central to our current framework.
Stop saying no to your friends and loved ones. Stop ignoring your passions and hobbies and small victories.
Renegotiate your workload with yourself.