Teachers always need more time. Here are some great tips to help you save time for what really matters in both your personal life, and your time with your students.
• Share responsibility with your district, or team members
When it comes to turning in weekly lesson plans, grade level team members should be on the same page anyway. Each week a different grade level member can be responsible for creating the plans. Grade level teams can also divide the lesson plan work by subject – so one team member can create math plans this week, and another one can focus on Language Arts. This will not only save you hours of time, but will insure that you and your team remain on the same page.
• Organize your files on the computer, and in the classroom
While some things change from year to year, many things stay the same. If you take the time to organize your plans, and lesson enhancers you will be able to reuse them. Taking five extra minutes this year to organize your materials, will save you time and money next year.
• Save your creativity for your time with your students
You want to be fresh and alert for what matters in the classroom – working with your students. You do not need to spend hours creating PowerPoints or Google Slides Presentations if someone else has already created them for the lessons you’re teaching. These second grade PowerPoint and Google Slides presentations have served me well over the years.
• Turn waiting time, into grading time
If you have a hair appointment, or oil change, or any activity where you will be sitting and waiting, bring a stack of papers to grade with you. By planning ahead, you will find ways to schedule essay due dates, and unit tests around existing appointments. Sometimes juggling assignment dates by one day can make all the difference in the world. By using your time more effectively you will be refreshed and have more energy for your students. For more tips on saving time on grading check out this post on assessment shortcuts.
• Create a website or blog for your parents and students
I know it sounds like this creates more work for you, however, in the long run it will save you time. Your website becomes your “go to spot” for parents and students, and prevents you from having to answer the same question over and over. Parents and students can use your website to find homework assignments, project descriptions, field trip money deadlines, etc. I use mine so frequently now that when I forget a deadline, I find myself going to my website to check the dates.
• Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your volunteers
A good volunteer can be a valuable asset, while a poor one can be a headache. Experience has taught me, however, that everyone can do something. While you’re teaching, you do not have time to monitor tasks that your volunteers are completing. Left unmonitored, however, and volunteers can end up creating more work for you. When you have a new volunteer, start with a simple task. Take a minute and show them exactly how you want it done. If they do the simple job well, then move up to bigger ones. After a while, you will figure out which tasks each volunteer is best at. You will also learn, which volunteers you can rely on for important jobs. This will save you time in the long run.