The age old adage, “there aren’t enough hours in the day” can feel especially true for teachers. They are balancing piles of paperwork that need prompt grading, the long-term goals of the classroom, and the immediate educational needs of the students. Here are some time management tips to help teachers run an effective classroom without running out of steam:
Prioritize the Day: Organize the day around the most important tasks. Arrange the workload based on both the importance of the task as well as the resulting impact of the completed tasks. Assess whether or not projects can be placed on hold if its impact does not seem to be as effective as expected and place the least important and/or most easily understood concepts towards the end of the instructional time.
Strategize Assignments: There are times when class practice of concepts is appropriate and there are times when home practice frees up class time for other concepts and activities. When assigning homework, however, be aware of the workload in terms of grading. If students are turning in an essay, a weekly homework packet, and a group project on the same day, then the teacher is likely to become overwhelmed and buried under the weight of all of the grading that needs to be done.
Avoid Marathon Grading: There are times when large quantities of assignments to grade cannot be escaped. Avoid the temptation to knock it all out in one go. It is more efficient to break up grading materials into small groups that are graded each day than to work on grading the work of every student on the same day. A small pile each day is easier to manage and allows a teacher to properly evaluate the assignment and offer feedback to students.
Be prepared for Crises: Many classroom crises can be avoided by learning about the students early on and intercepting potential triggers that can lead to disruptive behavior. Nipping these in the bud keeps valuable class time from being wasted. It is also wise to have a back-up plan in case the lesson falls flat or is unable to be completed for whatever reason. Much of the teaching profession is about adaptability and it is easier to adapt to any situation or crisis when one has prepared for it.
By using time management strategies, a teacher can effectively meet the needs of every student without suffering burnout halfway through the year. What strategies do you use in your classroom?
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