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The Teaching Space Podcast

The podcast is on pause for a year (as of August 2021) as I am tackling the final year of my masters in education (which I am doing alongside my full-time job). In the meantime, please revisit the considerable back catalogue of episodes. Also, give me a follow on Twitter, where I am still very active and sign up for my personal newsletter here. You can visit The Teaching Space website here:

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Nov 30, 2018

Episode 39 of The Teaching Space Podcast explores why we may need to evaluate our self-imposed standards.


Shocking episode title? I hope so! Did I get your attention? Did you read it wrong? No - you did not.

In today’s episode we are talking about the standards you impose upon yourself, not those imposed by your organisation or profession. 

It’s time to audit those standards if you are struggling to get everything done and must take work home in the evenings. If your work/life balance is out of whack - you need an audit.

As teachers, we are reflective practitioners. Evaluation is an essential part of the teaching, learning and assessment cycle. So let’s evaluate, or audit, our self-imposed standards.

Why do we Aim so High?

Sweeping assumption: I think your standards are high. Why?

  • You are listening to a teaching podcast in your own time for personal and professional development.

  • You take your position as a role model seriously.

Areas Where Self-Imposed Standards Might be too High

  • Assessment

  • Planning

  • Working hours

  • Communication turnaround time

  • Is it OK to Lower Standards?

    No one WANTS to do it. But it is possible to adjust your standards so that no one notices. That’s the way to do it. 

    Identifying areas where standards can be lowered without a negative effect on learning, frees you up to do other things (incidentally, that might be self care, and that’s important and will ultimately make you a better teacher).

    Ideas and Solutions

    • Are you assessing too much? What is the minimum amount of assessed work you are required to log per week? If it’s two pieces, why are you doing seven? Surely two in-depth assessment activities, combined with lots of in-class formative assessment (non-workload heavy) would be better?

    • Are you drowning in marking assignments? Do you have to mark all aspects of the assignment? Could you use peer assessment to pick up on spelling, punctuation and grammar, for example? Could you use self-assessment so learners check their work better before handing in? Why not design a checklist outlining the criteria you are assessing in learner appropriate language so they can mark their own work first?

    • Are you trying something new in every session? Well, don’t! It’s important to keep your sessions fresh and engaging, but limit yourself to one new thing a week or month. 

    • Are you responding to emails within 24 hours? Are you checking your emails at the weekend? Well stop. You’ve trained the people who email you to expect a quick response, so that’s on you. But if you managed to do this, you can re-train them. Schedule email time (check out the Inbox Zero episode of the podcast) and put an explanation on your email auto-signature. 

    • Are you making yourself too available? Define office hours - let everyone know your availability. Share your calendar. Encourage appointments. 
    • Are you spending too much time making your classroom look perfect? Stop - delegate tasks to learners. 
  • Wrap Up

    If you enjoyed the episode, then please consider leaving a positive review on Apple Podcasts or your preferred podcast directory. This helps more teachers and trainers find the podcast when they search. Thank you.