In the film ‘Lincoln’, Abraham Lincoln tells the story of a preacher who delivers really long sermons. When asked why they were so long, he said ‘I could write shorter sermons but when I get started I’m too lazy to stop.’*
Here are some examples of an individual teacher increasing their workload in minor ways: when marking, writing five comments instead of three, or one, per book; when doing a card sort, cutting everything out beforehand rather than giving the sheets to the students to cut out; when making powerpoints, ensuring there is a picture on every slide, and changing the font to make it more engaging/emphasise certain things.
Now, my marking is sparse in the extreme, generally just the circling of SPaG errors. Not so long ago, I used to go red-pen mad all over students’ books – my annotations on their work would dwarf their annotations in their copies of ‘Othello’. If I’d thought about it, I perhaps might have considered opportunity cost, and efficiency, and whole-class feedback. But once I’d started, I was too lazy to stop.
*I don’t know if this story owes anything to fact.