Time management strategies are important for all teachers to have. Here are 5 tips on how to manage your school day and be productive.
Time Management Strategies for Teachers
Time management strategies work wonders in the classroom. Teachers have so much to do in the school day. Between creating lessons, grading assessments and everything else that needs to happen for a successful day, teachers can become overwhelmed if they don’t have the proper time management strategies in place. Here are just a few tips for teachers to develop time management strategies that will lead to success.
Time Management Strategy #1: Set Goals
Each week, spend a few moments setting goals that you want to accomplish. Goals can be simple, such as grading a stack of papers or finding a new center activity. If you’re not sure what goals to set, think about whatever you need to do in order to make the week successful and add that to your list. If you want to be more specific, you can assign each goal to be accomplished on a specific day, helping with motivation.
Once you have your goals written down, check them off as you accomplish them. As your list gets checked off, you will be encouraged to accomplish the rest of your goals, even on the days you don’t feel the motivation to do so! Once you’re in the habit of setting goals and accomplishing them, you’ll notice that these tasks will go smoothly, making this an effective time management strategy.
Time Management Strategy #2: Organize Your Lessons
Teachers spend a lot of time lesson planning. Although this takes up time in the beginning, organizing your lesson plans saves you time in the long run. To implement this time management strategy, decide what type of organization will work for you. Ideas can include the following:
- Binders – Fill a binder with plastic sleeves and labeled tabs. Put your lessons, along with any printables or worksheets, in with the lesson and organize by week, subject, or any other way that makes sense.
- File folders – Find an empty drawer for hanging files or purchase a hanging folder organizer and get organizing. Simply label the folders with the subject and lesson, and pull it out each time that you need it.
- Digital Files – Go paperless and organize your lesson plans and materials in file folders on your computer. Label each folder with a different subject. Inside the subject folder, have sub-folders for each activity or theme you teach. Place lesson plans, digital resources, and anything else you need to teach that topic inside that sub-folder. There are also many ways to categorize your digital files, too.
Once you organize your lessons, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to plan your week. Simply look through your lessons and pull the appropriate activity for the desired skill. Since the lesson includes the master copy of any worksheets or printables, your lesson prep time will be minimal.
Time Management Strategy #3: Assign Classroom Jobs
There’s no reason to use what little free time that you have with things that kids can help with. Make use of your students and assign classroom jobs that will make your life easier. Kids can help with cleaning up centers, organizing supplies, handing out papers, alphabetizing completed assignments and assessments and much more. Ask them what they would like to do and create the jobs together!
Simply think about those little things that take up your time and decide whether it’s appropriate as a classroom job. If it is, add it to the list of jobs that kids can help with! When you have a lot of helping hands, clean up and prep work go from taking up a huge chunk of your time to going quickly.
Time Management Strategy #4: Grade Wisely
Grading takes up a huge chunk of a teacher’s day, and can even overflow into the weekend. Instead of letting grading take over your life, make a conscious effort to grade wisely. Get in the mindset that not everything needs to be graded for the grade book!
To implement this time management strategy, take a look at your goals and lessons for the week. If you are administering any assessments, such as quizzes or tests, put those on your “to be graded” list. If you are assigning practice pages or homework, you can take those off your grading list. Instead, simply check over these types of assignments to gauge student comprehension.
Time Management Strategies for Grading
When it comes to that actual grading pile, there are many tips you can use to make grading go faster.
- Self-grading – Kids can grade their own assignments more quickly than you can individually grade each paper. Have kids switch from a pencil to a colorful pen. Walk kids through the answer for each question and have them mark their pages. Modeling the proper way to do things while grading will also serve as a mini-lesson for kids. Kids who don’t understand the material will be able to see how to answer each question, and how to get to that answer.
- Trade and grade – You can also have kids trade papers and grade a classmate’s answers. This will serve the same dual purpose as self-grading since children have the opportunity to see the answers modeled correctly. This technique is best for homework assignments and small, “low-pressure” assignments. Some teachers don’t like this method because it may cause embarrassment, so use your judgment about when to use it.
- Parent volunteers – If you have any parent volunteers set to come in, feel free to give them a stack of papers to grade! This works best for assignments that have simple right/wrong answers, such as math, spelling or multiple choice. Volunteers can mark the incorrect answers and you can scan through to see which students will need additional instruction.
Time Management Tip #5: Be Mindful
When it comes to time management strategies, being mindful is key. Know what you want to accomplish and think of the most efficient way to accomplish it.
Do you need to streamline your communication with parents? Use a weekly planner.
Does your prep time get interrupted? On days you need to focus, shut your door and turn off your classroom light to minimize disruptions.
Want to find new and exciting lessons? Post on social media and ask for tips. Be mindful about your time and find creative solutions that will get things done efficiently.
These time management strategies help teachers use the little “free” time they have effectively. Even saving a few minutes a day can add up and reduce stress for teachers.
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