By Teachers, For Teachers
Being a teacher comes with a lot of planning and prioritizing. If you want any kind of social life outside of school, then it is essential that you know what is the most important and what is the least. Learning how to use classroom management to prioritize your school-related tasks will not only help you use your time more effectively, but it will also help you learn how to be more efficient.
Here are five classroom management strategies to help you do just that.
You are not alone if you feel that 24 hours are not enough hours in the day to complete your tasks. But what you have to realize is that not all tasks are as equally important as the others. If you think that they are, then you may have lost sight of your priorities. This can happen when you are feeling overworked and overloaded. What you need to do is take a step a back and look at all of the things that you need to get done. You must determine which tasks are essential and need to get done right away, and which tasks can sit on the back burner. Sometimes, you can even pass the tasks over for someone else to accomplish. This reflection is very important if you want to have any kind of sanity or life outside of the classroom.
This may be one of the hardest tasks that you have to do because everything seems like it is important and needs your attention right away. However, you do not have to let other people’s last-minute requests determine your schedule. If you are already in the midst of a task and someone asks you to do something for them, ask yourself, “Does this need my attention right at this moment or can it wait until I am finished?” Oftentimes students will need your attention right away, and because children are so impatient you may feel like you need to drop everything that you are doing to attend to them right at that moment. Do not do this: Rather, take a moment and reflect on the situation and rank the importance in your head. Remind yourself that you are in control of your own time and you control when you want to get things done.
You cannot keep all of your to-dos in your head, it will just take up too much space in your brain and you will forget most of it. It’s smart to create an ongoing list of your tasks ranked by importance. You can easily create a list by folding your paper in half, and on the left-hand side of the paper write down “Important,” and on the right had side write down “Can Wait.” Find a list or system that works for you and you will soon find out that writing these tasks down onto paper instead of keeping them all in your head will be freeing. Holding on to too much information in our minds can put stress on our bodies, and no one wants that.
There will always be that one thing that you MUST do, that is so urgent that you just have to get it done right now. Your goal is to figure out what that one thing is, and each morning when you come to school and get it done first. If you get this task done first, it will make all of the other tasks on your list seem not as important. It will also make you feel better knowing that you have completed something important and you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
A great way to increase your efficiency is to complete tasks in groups. For example, if your students just handed in their math tests, then grade all of the them together at once, not just a few here and there throughout your day. By doing this you are being more efficient. Set aside specific times during your school day to just focus on specific tasks one at a time. For instance, if after lunch, your students go to gym, use that time each day answer all of your e-mail. When that task is completed, you move on to your next task and complete that. This is an efficient way to check off items on your to do list.
Do you have any tips on how you prioritize your teaching tasks? We would love to hear how you get things done in an efficient and effective manner. Please share your strategies in the comment section below. You never know, you may just inspire someone!
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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.