Effective time management. It’s something we all aspire to and very rarely manage. Yet effectively managing our teaching, planning and personal time can leave us all feeling less stressed and more productive. Here are 5 great hacks to help you restore that work-life balance and be your best in the classroom. After all, teaching in the UK is a hugely rewarding profession, but don’t forget your friends, family, exercise and sleep!
1. Get organised
This isn’t just about calendars and wall charts, but about looking objectively at your classroom and understanding the way it can best be organised. Decide on the most logical layout and then look at labelling and storage so that the day-to-day running of the classroom takes care of itself. By spending a little time organising the classroom, you’ll win time to devote to teaching.
2. Maximise your planning
Follow the 80/20 rule and you’ll soon be maximising your lesson planning. 80% of your lessons will be the mainstay of your teaching practice, and planning these should take up 20% of your time, leaving you with the ability to plan one-off lessons in far greater depth and detail. Let technology take the hard work out of planning by using online resources and lesson plans. Reusing and sharing your most effective resources are useful ways to use your time effectively.
When your older students are working on independent study, take the time to plan a lesson or mark some books. It’s amazing how much time you can reclaim by tackling everyday tasks when you have a few spare minutes.
4. Do it now
Just 10 minutes spent concentrating on marking and planning can increase your motivation to get the task done. Making this commitment will stop you procrastinating and wasting precious time. Accomplishing a task now, rather than putting it off for the future, is one of the keys to effectively organising your time, allowing you to get creative in the classroom.
5. Keep it clean
Your laptop desktop may be immaculate, but what about your teaching desk? Sorting through piles of paper trying to find a form or someone’s homework is incredibly inefficient. Instead, make sure you have an inbox and outbox on your desk and clear them daily, filing away useful items that you may not use on a regular basis but will need later. Have a separate homework submissions tray and show students how to use it. Then use the minutes you save to spend time teaching!