Working as a teacher requires excellent time management skills. Teachers need to balance the long-term goals of the classroom, the immediate educational needs of the students and the large volume of paperwork that comes with every assignment. Between writing lesson plans, grading exams and actually teaching, teachers often feel that it is impossible to fit everything into the allotted time frame.
Although the career path seems to have too much work for the number of hours in a day, it is possible to manage the situation and clear extra time in the classroom and outside of class. With effective time management skills, teachers can increase their productivity and provide a better education for their students.
Here are five effective time management tips teachers can use every day.
1. Organize the day by priorities
Teacher time management must start with setting priorities and organizing the day around the most important tasks. Setting priorities can help keep teachers on track throughout the day, even when the unexpected occurs and the workload can seem overwhelming.
Effective prioritizing is about arranging workload based on both the importance of the tasks as well the resulting impact of the completed tasks. Teachers must be able to assess whether projects can be put on hold if the outcomes are not as impactful as others.
Priorities are not as black and white as “putting math and English first and getting to arts projects if time avails.” This kind of thinking can lead to class burnout–for both teachers and students. Within certain contexts, an impactful art or outdoor activity can be just as stimulating as academic lesson plans.
2. Strategically plan homework assignments
Both teachers and students may find that assignments that require repetitive practice is better suited for the home environment. Although in-class practice helps when framing and structuring problems, repetitive practice during class may not be the best use of time. Assignments that simply ask students to complete a set number of problems for practice unnecessarily consume valuable class time.
3. Avoid “loaded” procrastination
According to Pinell, teachers find it more efficient to break up grading materials into small groups that are graded each day than to work on grading the work of the entire class on the same day. Avoid piling on loads of grading assignments, and try to knock out batches at a time. A small pile each day is easier to manage and allows a teacher to properly evaluate the assignment and offer feedback to students. Teachers can experience a sense of accomplishment from each completed batch.
4. Plan for potential crises
It is better to plan ahead for potential problems before facing them in the classroom, as urgent crises can distract teachers from their goals within the classroom. Although some problems have limited options, such as natural disasters, teachers can plan around the needs of students. A crisis that relates to student behavior is better to avoid or handle before it reaches the peak to avoid wasting class time. By learning about students before they enter the classroom, teachers can create a plan of action to avoid triggers and stop distractions early.
5. Set aside personal time
A teacher has many tasks that require attention and often focuses on the needs of students and their parents. Although it is tempting to put more time into grading, feedback and managing student needs, it is also important to set aside personal time to keep the priorities in proper perspective.
Prioritizing time for personal needs is necessary to effectively implement and execute the plans for educating students. When teachers are exhausted due to lack of personal care and time, it is possible that the classroom becomes less effective and efficient. Implementing time-saving plans only works when a teacher is energetic, healthy and refreshed.
Teachers need to take measures to properly manage time for an effective classroom environment. By working through teacher time management strategies, it is possible to keep up with the educational needs of every student, manage urgent situations immediately and avoid falling behind when unexpected events occur. Time management is an important part of providing quality education and meeting the needs of every student.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- Gay Su Pinnell, "Nine Ways to Save Time in the Classroom," Scholastic
- Linda Shalaway, "Time-Boosting Strategies That Add Precious Minutes to Your Day," Scholastic