Working as a teacher requires excellent time management skills. Between writing lesson plans, grading exams and actually teaching, teachers often feel that it is impossible to fit everything into the allotted time frame. However, with effective time management skills, teachers can increase their productivity and provide a better education for their students. Here are five tips from Scholastic on how teachers can improve their time management skills.
1. Take Advantage of Every Minute
Teachers will often find themselves with several 10-15 minute chunks of time during the day that are unscheduled. Instead of simply wasting away these minutes reading the news or visiting the teachers’ lounge, teachers should compose a list of activities they can accomplish in these short spurts of time. Some examples of tasks that can be completed in this amount of time include grading the multiple choice sections of tests, printing worksheets, sending and reading emails and writing outlines for an upcoming lesson plan. A teacher will be amazed at how much can be fit in when every minute is accounted for.
2. Teach in Solid Blocks of Time
Instead of having several shorter segments of teaching time throughout the day, a teacher should try to schedule longer, uninterrupted blocks for teaching time. A lot of time is wasted simply moving students to and from different areas of the school. Teachers should work with their principal to try to schedule all classroom activities around the same time. This will not only provide longer stretches of time for teaching, it will also provide the teacher more personal time in classroom. The teacher should also communicate with parents what times are set aside strictly for teaching. They should encourage parents to schedule any appointments for the child around these times.
3. Delegate When Possible
If a teacher has a teacher’s aide, it is important not to ignore this aide’s abilities to help out in the classroom. Teachers should take the time to get to know their aide’s strengths and take advantage of these assets. There are many different tasks an aide can accomplish just as well as a teacher and delegating these tasks to the aid will give the teacher more time for teaching. For example, aides can read to the class, create games or other learning tools and even grade multiple choice or fill in the blank tests.
4. Organize and Simplify
A lot of time is wasted in the classroom when students have to get up to grab supplies, especially if all of these supplies are in one location. By separating the classroom into sections, and keeping each section’s supplies in different locations, the act of getting supplies will take much less time. Instead of a long line in one location, students can be dispersed throughout the classroom gathering what they need. Materials should also be organized in a way that students can go right to supply required, instead of having to search for it.
Perhaps the most important skill teachers need to master is the ability to prioritize. The items at the top of the list should be completed first. A day in the classroom is unpredictable. Prioritizing ensures that at the end of the day the most important items are completed. For example, the math and reading lessons should be taught at the beginning of the day. Save the art activities and free time for the end of the day, just in case time runs out. However, it is a good idea to prioritize the “fun” activities at the top of the list every once in a while so that students get a well-rounded education.
While it may seem impossible for teachers to be able to get everything done, there are ways to fit everything in. By having clear priorities, reworking the schedule, taking advantage of every opportunity and delegating when possible, teachers will find they have a lot more time to get things. Following the steps above are sure to help teachers develop the skills needed to manage their time well. (Source: education.cu-portland.edu)