Time Tips for Teachers!
20 Years in Education as a classroom teacher, a senior teacher, and a Deputy Principal for the past 9 years, has given me a tool box of tips, tricks and strategies to save time and sanity!
And before you start thinking, 'she has lots of release as a DP', think again! I have been a teaching DP with a new entrant classroom and have learnt to be super duper efficient!
I am a passionate advocate of Teacher Well Being in Schools with the belief that ...well being is often about taking simple, yet important actions consistently. Managing your time well is one of those actions!
I believe in working smarter, not harder! It is a myth to believe that working long hours makes you productive. Overwork and stress will lead you down the pathway of exhaustion.
Time is out of our control, and we all have the same amount. The difference is in how we use that time. So it really comes down to what you prioritise in your day.
Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself.
Here are some tips for making it easier...
#1. Take time every morning to plan your day, or do it before you leave school for the next day. Every productive day starts with a plan. Put your items on the list in order of priority. eg; finish referral, finalise planning, organise meeting with parent. You'll finish each day with a sense of accomplishment.
#2. Throughout the day, ask yourself "What is my highest priority right now"? Focus on that task until it is complete.
#3. Do not make checking your emails the first task as you begin your work day. These will have you off in all directions.
#4. Keep a notebook or a device on you at all times. Each time you think of something you need to do, write it down. Better on paper or a note app than in your head taking up space. Add to your 'to do' list.
#5. With all of the paper that we get as teachers, you need to invest some weekend/holiday time to getting your filing system up and running. Ideally you want a place for each piece of paper you touch. Touch it, read it, file it.
#6. If you are typing notes for meetings, do it on the spot. Writing them out by hand and then staying after school to type them up is a waste of your precious time. Type and email them out as everyone leaves the meeting. If you are a slow typist, let people know that. If they don't like it, ask them to take the minutes!
#7. Back your parent meetings up next to a bell. For example, if you are meeting a parent and you know it could go on a little longer than you'd like, book it for 8.30am. They have to be gone (as do you) by the time the school bell goes.
#8. Eliminate clutter from your desk. Simple both oh so effective. Clutter erodes your energy bit by bit. Being able to access an item or a piece of paper quickly saves you hunting through piles of books & paper.
#9. If someone asks you to do something for them and you are away from your classroom, ask them to write it on a post it note for you. That way you can easily transfer it to your list back in the classroom.
#10. When you are at work, work! Although it's fun to hang out and chat with the staff, keep it to a minimum. Put your head down and get the job done. Every moment you spend in idle chit chat with co-workers is time taken away from the work you need to complete.
#11. In the last few days of a school term, put up your new displays for the next term. Anything you can quickly get done before or after school saves you having to come in during the holidays.
#12. If you find yourself going back and forth to the admin block, consider consolidating your trips.
#13. Set aside one day per week to work a little later (not everyday!) Time for family, friends and leisure is critical to well being.
And remember... we never get it all done. The 'to do' list goes on and on!
I always say with teaching, that you could work in your classroom 24/7 and you'd still find work to do!