Teacher sleeping on his desk surrounded by books

What Impact Does Advisory Have on Teachers' Time? – Pt I

Thursday, July 23, 2015

'Teachers have plenty of time! Why can’t they just add more to their workload?’, said no one ever. The truth is that teachers, especially in today’s society, are flooded with increasing and ever-changing stresses. If things weren’t bad enough before, an abundance of information, technology, new ideas and pending educational reform may leave many educators feeling exhausted and frustrated.

With so much to do and so little time, what teacher would want to burden themselves with additional work and stress? While the answer may be no one, change is inevitable. As ‘edreform’ pushes ahead, the way students are being taught, and the way school is structured will change. Many educators long for this change, as it will enable students to truly learn and grow, but they fear it may require even more work on their part.

One such change comes in the form of an advisory, or intervention block. This is a time many schools have set aside in their schedule, during the school day, for students to receive extra help or enrichment opportunities. This time period allows students to master subjects they struggle with, learn something new, or pursue an activity they really enjoy. It may build a sense of community in school, and even help students to bond with their teachers.

While this sounds all butterflies and rainbows, it may lead to questions about time and money. How will this advisory block effect a teacher’s workload? If things are already tight, will they be able to fit an advisory block into their schedule, or school budget? To start with, let’s think about what this block really is. 

Is an Intervention Block Another Class?

 ‘Am I going to be required to teach another class if my school implements Intervention Blocks?’ It’s a reasonable question for a teacher to ask.

Let’s think about what we mean by adding another class. Let’s say that we’re talking about a math teacher being asked to teach an additional Algebra I class. What would be required?

In this scenario, the teacher is being asked to teach material that they are already prepping for another class. So additional prep time would be minimal, nothing would be added to the curriculum.
However, there is clearly additional work involved.

  • This adds to the total number of students being taught
  • More parents and students to interact with
  • More grading of papers, exams etc.
  • More clerical responsibilities

How are Intervention Blocks Different?

The purpose of the Intervention Block is to help those students that you are already working with. It sets aside a block of time, during the school day, allowing you to interact with the students that you are already working with.

So, unlike the above scenario, where the teacher is being required to teach an additional class, we find with Intervention Blocks that the teacher is simply being allowed to spend more time with their students.

  • No additional parents and students to interact with
  • The number of papers and exams to grade has not increased
  • No additional prep time, as there is no additional material being taught

However, we all know “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” What are the additional “costs” associated with Intervention Blocks? We’ll answer that question in our next article.