People tend to forget that teachers have many responsibilities to attend to. Most teachers are likely to teach several different classes and probably a few other subjects too. They have to keep many students in mind, keep track of their academic performances and in-class behaviours, prepare teaching materials, mark homework, and prepare themselves for upcoming classes.
Much work goes unnoticed by most people who usually assume teaching to be a relaxing and easy job. With all that in mind, time management is one of the most crucial skills for a teacher to survive. With the help of my own experience and what I have heard from my colleagues, I will share some of the proven and practical time management tips for teachers below.
A 20-Second Summary
- Making lists and ticking off tasks you have accomplished makes you feel successful and helps you continue finishing work on time.
- Getting rid of as many complex and annoying tasks in the morning as possible is a great idea because that is when we are most productive, and we can be more relaxed for the rest of the day.
- Having a planner helps us keep our events and reminders organised.
- Having all the materials in one place and organising them through filing and colour coding helps ensure that you always have what you need and will not forget them.
- Many teachers think of technology as their enemy, but it is their friend more than anything.
- Having students help you with small tasks makes them feel responsible and respected. It enables you to focus on the more critical tasks.
- Please do not ignore your personal life because you cannot do it forever.
Make A List
It sounds obvious and maybe even childish to most, but making lists is one of the easiest ways to ensure time management. You can create lists on a notepad or your smartphone – even if it is just brainstorming for now! Note down everything you have to accomplish in a day, and take it a step further. You can also set deadlines within the days for those tasks. This will help teachers prioritise and figure out what should come first and what can wait.
Use this list as your guide throughout the day, and when you complete the task, give a little tick or cross out the task. The feeling is highly satisfactory and honestly a little addictive. This will help you want to do the tasks in the right amount of time.
Another top strategy teachers can use to make lists is breaking down large tasks into manageable chunks not to seem so overwhelming.
Tip: Avoid Multitasking: Do one thing at a time! Multitasking may seem like the way forward, but teachers will find that doing this can lead to missing important tasks and feeling overwhelmed with everything they need to get done in a day.
In The Morning
Whenever I have a meal, and there is a bit of variety in the dishes, I try to finish the dish that I dislike first. This way, I can enjoy the rest of the meal with just the dishes I love. This might be a weird metaphor, but it works, I think.
The whole idea is to take your entire day and think of everything you must do. Then, try to complete the most stressful and difficult things first. Preferably, it would be best if you did it in the morning because that is when most of us can be our most productive selves.
Getting done with the difficult tasks upfront means that you can feel way more relaxed later in the day and focus much better on other important things.
Tip 1: Avoid using social media in the mornings: You do not want those alerts popping up as you are getting ready, planning or trying to focus on something important. While it can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, too much Facebooking or Tweeting has been shown to have negative effects on productivity levels. Furthermore, teachers who use social media spend an average of 55 minutes per day distracted from their core responsibilities. You can either turn off notifications or set timers on your phone/watch to avoid distractions so that you can use your time more effectively throughout the day.
Tip 2: Try time blocking technique: This strategy allows teachers to schedule their day according to how much time they have and work on tasks in blocks of 30-60 minutes before taking breaks or moving on to another task. If you do not finish a task on time, move on to the next one as planned. Make sure to allow breaks in between tasks so that you may return to the unfinished item during your breaks or at the end of the day to complete it.
Plan It Ahead
We are not Gods. We cannot remember everything all the time. We need help. Using a planner can be very helpful in the life of a teacher. You can choose manual or digital planners based on your needs and preferences. Some of the planners are time management apps you can use on your phone.
Whether it be a physical one or a digital one, note down all your reminders, tasks, and events into one destination and regularly update it.
This way, you will not have to worry too much about forgetting something and look it up in your planner. This is where I suggest putting your tasks list as well. Having a nice planner allows you to know exactly what events you have and when.
Tip: Create a weekly planner: Another time management tip for teachers to schedule their time is to create a weekly planner where you can move events around according to time availability. For example, teachers who have to attend meetings and/or parent-teacher conferences will want to move those events around so they do not interfere with their other tasks.
Keep It Organised
As a teacher, you will have a ton of materials: your teaching materials, students’ homework, tests, and just a bunch of paperwork. Having your materials scattered all over the place, separated between your house and your office, will only make it detrimental to your time management.
The best thing to do would be, like having a planner, keeping all your materials in one place so that you minimise your chances of losing or not having any material when you need them. Also, of course, when you are dealing with many papers in one place, it is important to keep them organised. This can be done by labelling, colour coding, and separate filing.
Having a clean desk with everything in its place will help teachers to feel less stressed about getting things done because they know where everything is, making it easy for them to find what they need when they need it.
Use The Technology
One time management tip teachers can use at work is to embrace technology. We live in a way more advanced generation in terms of technology now than ever. While many teachers do complain about the complexities of technology, it is more of a missed opportunity.
Teachers who stay on top of the latest developments and trends in their field are likely to feel more productive than those that resist new technologies because they do not understand them or are not confident using them.
With technology comes many ways to make lives and to teach more efficient. Whether managing schedules, storing teaching materials, or even implementing them in the class itself, try to be as tech-savvy as you can use this to your advantage.
Utilising apps such as Evernote and Dropbox will help teachers stay on top of their plans, lesson notes, student information etc. These days, teachers can even share lesson resources with students using apps like Quizlet that allow teachers to create online quizzes for homework or review purposes quickly.
Delegate Work To Teachers & Students
Teachers: Find a fellow teacher that you can partner with for larger tasks. Ask other teachers or administration for help with specific tasks (i.e., special events).
You could even suggest hiring an assistant or intern for effective delegation of work. By collaborating, you can create a positive working environment and share the workload.
Students: This might be a bit of a cheat, but it is not a bad idea at all. Sometimes, it can be handy to use some of the students you trust to help you out. This does not include any of the heavy liftings, of course. It just means that you can ask them to help you out with menial tasks like handing out and collecting worksheets and maintaining the classroom, their bulletin boards, and diaries.
This allows you to put in a bit more focus on the more important teaching tasks or planning lessons, marking work etc., while also giving your students a sense of responsibility which they need. It also makes them feel useful and appreciated, so it is a win-win for everybody.
Remember Your Life
Do not keep your personal life on the back burner. Many teachers, and just busy people in general, seem to have this idea to ignore their personal life and solely focus on their careers.
However, the truth of the matter is that you can never ignore your personal life for too long, and the more you ignore it, the more things pile up. Then, there will be way too many distractions at the back of your mind to accomplish anything on time.
Teaching, especially, is not a job that you can log numerous hours heartless into. It requires a sense of empathy, sensitivity, and heart, and if you are not in the right mind, it will not do you any better.
Below are a few additional time-saving strategies teachers can use to help them stay organised and reduce stress.
- Avoid Procrastination
- Learn to prioritise
- Set daily goals
- Avoid time-wasters
- Keep time logs for a week to zero in on a pattern
- Do not multitask
- Avoid distractions (phone, TV etc.)
- Make use of apps, technology to automate repetitive tasks
- Practice making to-do lists and fulfilling it
- Delegate work to students
- Make friends with other teachers
- Organise your space
- Take a break, and take care of yourself.
Although teachers face many challenges and demands on their time, there are ways to reduce stress and increase productivity. Implementing even one of these tips will help you feel more organised and control your workload.
This list is not exhaustive, but we hope it has been helpful! If teachers can stay productive, they will accomplish more and get the support they need.Please Share:
This article was published on October 26, 2021.