Being a Teacher is a constant juggling act. You have papers to mark, lessons to plan, photocopies, Parent meetings and the list goes on. Often it can seem like there simply isn’t enough hours in the day. Planning out your time effectively is the single most important thing a Teacher can do. Here are 10 different methods you can try out to help reduce the stress and hopefully free up some time.
1. Separate home from work
It can be easy to say you’ll relax once you’ve done this marking or completed the lesson plans. The only issue is that means you could end up working all the time except when eating and sleeping. This will most definitely lead you to a burnout which is something you do not want. No matter how much work you have it is important to take time for yourself and try to keep marking at work. If you must take them home, plan out a set time for marking and stick to that time. Also try not to work right up until you go to bed, make sure you give yourself time to wind down before bed.
2. Use the on-touch rule
A good way to avoid the dreaded to do list pilling up is to try the on-touch rule. If you open an email, rather than respond later, do it straight away. If you need photocopies, go and get them done now rather than later that day or tomorrow morning before class. This method helps reduce stress as you aren’t going about your day with this huge list in your head.
3. Use your mornings wisely
Your brain is at it’s most active in the morning, use this to your advantage and try to get as many tasks done before school starts. Rather than sleep in and only have enough time to get yourself ready in the morning, use the extra time to organise your materials and the tasks you’ll be completing that day. You’ll feel more relaxed and feel like you are well prepared for the day ahead. This will also help stop the mad dash to the photocopier 5 minutes before your class is meant to start.
4. Have a good organisational system in place
It may take a bit of time working out what works best for you, try out a few different ways of organising where everything should go within your classroom. Every classroom is a different size and has varying storage facilities. Spend a few hours after school or even a weekend to properly go through organising where everything should go. Once everything has been designated a space make sure you keep to it.
5. Learn to say no
Especially when you are starting out it may feel like you can’t say no. But it is important to know your boundaries and when you are overstretching yourself. Administrators, parents, students and teachers will all ask you for things, and it isn’t a bad thing if you say no. You are only one person after all. If you do feel like you are overstretched ask a fellow teacher for advice, experienced teachers know what to say yes and no to and will help advise you on what to prioritise.
6. Clear your desktop and desk
An organised desk makes an organised mind. Having a clearly organised desktop and desk will save you heaps of time when completing tasks. You don’t want to spend precious time trying to find that file you need for class. A few ways you can organise your desktop is either colour coding, by subject, theme, or year group. Also create a work desktop and personal desktop so that there are clear boundaries between work and home, it also helps avoid anything personal popping up when using your laptop in class. For your physical desk try using an inbox/outbox system for all your daily items that arrive on your desk. Create labelled trays for completed assignments and homework. A good old-fashioned filing cabinet will also help organise those folders which you need but may not need right away. Lastly store away any items which you don’t need till later in the year or possible the next year such as holiday items in clearly labelled boxes. By spending a small amount of time sorting things away now, it will save you a lot of time in the future.
7. Organise your room
To continue the theme of organising. An organised room can actually help reduce disruption in the class. Simple to follow systems and minimising the distractions around the students will help them concentrate on the task at hand and help reduce disruption.
8. Sticky note warnings
Dealing with a disruptive student can easily eat up a lot of your teaching time, which can make your carefully organised lesson plans run over. At the beginning of the lesson place three sticky notes of different colours on each desk. If a student is being disruptive, remove a sticky note. Once all the sticky notes are gone there is a consequence. This method is a quiet way of correcting behaviour without disrupting the entire class. If taught beforehand, the students will know what the sticky notes mean and the possible consequences if all are gone.
9. Wall folders to check assignments
Another organising method you can use is wall folders. If you have the space, hang a folder for each student to hand their homework in when they enter the room. This allows you to see straight away which students have handed in their homework and which have not. If you prefer the digital method, it is exactly the same but with digital folders the students can access.
10. Email template
As a Teacher you’ll end up spending a lot of time replying and sending emails. If you find yourself typing out the same message over and over, create a standard template for the common questions you get asked. This allows you to simply cut, paste and customise it quickly. It may only save you a few minutes but over the course of a day those minutes soon add up.
Do you have any helpful tips to help teachers save time? If so, comment below or Tweet us @Staffroomed