Paperwork & Lack of Trust Make Teachers' Lives Difficult in Slovenia

By , 03 Sep 2019, 16:28 PM Lifestyle
Paperwork & Lack of Trust Make Teachers' Lives Difficult in Slovenia Maxpixel CC-by-0

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STA, 3 September 2019 - Some 25,000 teachers teach at Slovenia's primary and secondary schools, many of whom are complaining about excessive paperwork and low trust. Nevertheless, international surveys do not necessarily always corroborate their claims about being overburdened due to time-consuming paperwork.

Nearly 18,360 teachers taught at primary schools and almost another 6,090 in secondary schools in the 2018/19 school year.

There is no lack of teachers in general, but head teachers can have a hard time hiring staff teaching IT and foreign languages, form teachers and special needs teachers.

Primary school teacher Janja Čolić says the public usually assumes a teacher's day at work ends with the last lesson in the classroom, which is far from truth.

"Planning a short lesson and filling in all related forms can take more time than the very lesson in the classroom," the head of the IATEFL Slovenia association of English language teachers, has told the STA.

She explains that apart from teaching, they have many other tasks to do, such as write reports, be on duty, take part in various projects, or accompany students at camps.

Čolić agrees there is a lot of bureaucracy: "We've tuned into administrative staff."

Former teacher Pavlina Ošlak says the problem are the many reports teachers have to write, when it is sometimes not even clear what exactly they should write.

She is convinced many reports are written for the sake of being written, and doubts head teachers really have to time to read all of them.

Čolić adds it should be reconsidered what really improves the quality of teaching and what is a mere formality.

A 2018 survey by the OECD, however, showed that Slovenian teachers use 8% of a lesson for various administrative tasks, which is in line with the OECD average.

But the Teaching and Learning International Survey also showed they use 50 minutes more a week than the OECD average for administrative tasks in general, that is also outside a single lesson.

Teachers have also been complaining about a lack of autonomy, which they see in excessive interference on the part of parents.

For instance, they have to explain the reasons for a certain teaching method, a low grade, or a disciplinary sanction, says Boris Zupančič, a former Education Ministry employee.

This often leads to lengthy procedures in which a teacher has to defend their decision, instead of being trusted that they have acted to the benefit of the student, he says.

Zupančič thus urges doing more to trust teachers. He believes a national document should be adopted expressing trust in the teachers' expertise and competences.

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