As an elementary teacher, do you feel like you are working all the time, but never getting things done? Being an educator is always great and one of the most rewarding professionals out there, but it is overwhelming and can take over your life. The burden is massive, and it is really easy for things to feel like they ate getting too much for you to handle. However, there are things you can do to manage your time better, improve your productivity, and make life simpler. We are going to look at a few of them here.
Plan, plan, plan
You already know this, but planning is vital to leading an easier and more productive life. Plan your semester out, then break it down into weeks and then days. When it comes to planning out your lessons, do not be tempted to create every lesson from scratch. No one ever won medals for reinventing the wheel. Instead, look online to see how other educators and teachers have taught things and use pre-written plans from https://studentreasures.com/teachers-lounge/lesson-plans to support your own lesson planning and objectives.
Create strong boundaries and routines
With access to the internet at our fingertips, it can be difficult to know when to switch off. You might be tempted to reply to that email from THAT parent just before you go to bed or to just check in with that student in the online hub – don’t. Stick to normal working hours as far as possible and create a routine where you only check your work emails once a day, for example.
Minimize your distractions
Whether it is time for marking or preparation, you are going to get more done, and quicker, if you eliminate possible distractions. Removing alerts on smartphones, informing everyone that you need to concentrate for a while, and finding a peaceful and safe workspace can help.
Set blocks of time
Time blocking is a very successful way to be efficient. Set time periods and work in small chunks of time followed by a brief break. Try not to multitask during that moment, concentrate on an individual task, and work solidly. The Pomodoro technique is good for this – 20 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break.
Have a work station that you can take with you
Sometimes you might work better in your classroom. Other times it might be in a coffee shop or in the comfort of your home. By having a portable work station – perhaps a clipboard to lean on and a pencil case full of stationery and supplies, in a bag ready to grab and take with you wherever you go, you can save wasting time hunting them down. It also means you can use those often wasted pockets of time – when you are sitting in the car waiting for your kids to finish sports club, you can do some marking, for example.
Shortcuts are not cheating. Shortcuts such as these will save you time, making you a more relaxed and happier and therefore better teacher.