Time management is important for teachers and we know you want to be the best teacher you can be! Part of managing time well is understanding how to prioritize the important things, label tasks according to time sensitivity, and delegating tasks that other individuals can help complete on your behalf. We know it can be tough to figure out where to start, so we’ve compiled some time management tips so you learn to manage time like a boss!
Categorize & Group Tasks
First, you should develop a way to code or label tasks. One way to do this is to label tasks according to their level of importance. For example, it is more important to respond to a concerned parent’s email than to enter in participation grades for the day. Consider adopting a 1-2-3 system where tasks labeled a “1” take priority over “2” and “3” labeled items. You may also want to code your to do items according to the time of the day you will complete. For instance, it’s better to do tasks earlier in the day that require more brain power and easier tasks that require less thinking later in the day when your energy is low.
Create a Plan & Stick to It
It’s a good idea to create a plan for your week in advance. By creating an outline or plan for how you will use your time, it will become much easier to follow through and complete your tasks. Plan out how you will use your time before school, during your free period, during lunch, and after school. Do your best to execute the plan with discipline, keeping in mind that by developing discipline, you are creating more space for freedom. At the end of the week, you will be glad knowing you accomplished the items for which you planned. Remember to celebrate the small victories as you work up to completing more and more tasks from your plan!
Communicate Clear Expectations
It’s important to set boundaries and enforce them with others. Make time to write down your specific goals for time management. If you have set aside time to work on a specific task (i.e., grading student work) and a colleague drops by unannounced, let them know that you are in the middle of grading and can talk with them later when you have time. Other teachers appreciate colleagues that have clear expectations and communicate them. Relaying expectations is especially relevant when it comes to your students and classroom management. You will save time in the long run when you are consistent with your expectations and consequences whether with colleagues or in the way you run your classroom.
Another way to manage your time well is to employ others who can help you accomplish specific tasks. One of the best things about being a teacher is that you have a small army of students who are developing their own responsibility and ownership. You might give students classroom jobs or smaller tasks to help accomplish goals as a class. You will be fostering a sense of community, as well as pride and accomplishment. You may want to have a teacher’s assistant to deliver papers to the office, or even have them refill your water bottle! This can help you save valuable time while also giving a particularly active student a brain break. There are many things you can delegate like a boss!
Automate & Use Templates
Check with your school’s site tech before launching any automated services and start saving precious time! You can schedule emails to be sent at a certain time, as well as automate push reminders when a recipient has not yet responded to an email. Also consider the use of a template when lesson planning. Using a lesson plan template can help immensely when it comes to your planning period, especially if you are a teacher providing instruction in multiple courses in a given semester. Finally, when it comes to the end of a grading period, develop a master list of comments or feedback to use to describe your students’ behavior and academic progress. You can even use specific codes to cut down on the time it takes to write comments on progress reports and report cards.
Start Time Managing Like a Boss!
Remember to start small when learning how to manage time like a boss! Just like becoming a master teacher takes time, so does becoming a master time manager. Start with one time saving hack now and come back later when you are ready for more. The time is now!