By Teachers, For Teachers
There’s no denying that teachers have a lot on their plate and are always busy. It seems like there’s always something to do: From creating and instructing lesson plans, to grading papers and planning field trips, a teacher’s work is never done. However, when you have a lot on your plate, you can feel like there are never enough hours in a day to complete your “To do” list. To make your life a little more stress-free, you need to apply a few simple teaching strategies that will save you time and your sanity. Here are five of those teaching strategies.
The first thing that you need to do is declutter anything that you don’t need. Once you’ve gotten rid of the items that no longer serve purpose in your classroom, then you can start to label and organize. When everything is in its place, it’ll be easier for you to find it. What happens in many busy classrooms is that they get disorganized, and disorganization then leads to clutter, which ultimately leads to stress. When you’re stressed because your classroom is out of order, you end up spending all of your energy on cleaning up when that energy can be put to better use like educating the students.
The best thing to do to save you time and your sanity is to create a classroom that is organized by labeling everything and teaching your students to put things back where they belong.
In your quest to save time and be stress-free, you should also use a code or number system. You can use numbers to label textbooks and iPads, or give them to students in addition to writing their names on papers. You can use a color code to group students or to categorize homework or group activities. For example, everyone with a yellow sticker is one group, while everyone with an orange sticker is in another group. Using some kind of system is a great way to keep things organized and it will also help you save time.
One of the best things that you do to save time is to delegate tasks to your students. Students want to help (at least the younger ones do). Assign your students all of the jobs that you don’t want to do. Not only will it save you time, but it’ll also teach your students some much-needed responsibility. Create a classroom jobs chart, and every week have students rotate their job of paper passer, line leader, or door holder. To get older students interested in helping out, you can have them apply for a classroom job of their choice. The student with the best application gets the job. This will help take the burden off of your shoulders, and save you some time to plan more effective lessons.
Technology is one of the best things that has ever happened to a busy teacher. Today’s tech tools and gadgets are there to help make teachers lives a little bit easier. Now you don’t even have to do the simplest things anymore, because there is some sort of tool that can do it for you. You can use your smartphone and download the Remind app to connect with parents. You can use technology to create and view lesson plans, access student data, plan school field trips, or even to call and Skype or videoconference with a guest speaker. If you’re not into using classroom technology, then you should start now, because it’ll change your life.
Another effective teaching strategy to save you time is to not grade every single assignment that you give students. A common misconception that many teachers have is that they must grade everything they give to their students. However, if you do this, then you will feel like your grading papers every day! Put your red pencil pen down and only grade a few assignments. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your students are grasping the information that you’re teaching them is to give them exit tickets. These are quick assignments that usually take no longer than a minute or two. They usually just answer a quick question, or write a quick response to what they’ve just learned. Exit tickets are an easy solution to ensure what students have learned at an end of a lesson verse giving them a whole assignment to do and having to grade each one.
No one ever said that being a teacher was going to be easy. However, being organized, delegating tasks, utilizing technology, choosing when to grade, and having a system can all help make your job a little bit easier. Don’t let this profession burn you out. Too many of today’s teachers are leaving the field. Try these tips to help save you some time, and maybe they will also save you from being stressed.
What are your go-to teaching strategies to help you save time? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on this topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.