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Time Management Tips for Teachers

Janelle Cox

Managing your time in this fast-paced world can be a very difficult task. Have you ever heard the phrase, "A teacher's work is never done?" Well that phrase pretty much sums it up. Teaching is a challenging profession, and with it comes the need to balance daily tasks, goals, and not to mention an overwhelming amount of paperwork.

Here are a few time management tips to help you prioritize basic classroom tasks as well as increase your productivity so you can have more time to spend teaching.

Ask for Help

Social media can become your number-one helper. Instead of spending hours scouring the Internet for lesson plan ideas, all you have to do is post a question on Facebook or Twitter. Then in a matter of a few minutes, other teachers from the world will you give you some ideas. For example, if you are planning on doing a lesson on map skills and are need of a project idea for second grade, all you have to do is tweet or post, "Looking for a second grade map project, any ideas?" Within minutes your page will get flooded with ideas. This will save you hours of time that you can now use on something more productive.

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Prioritize

Organize your day according to the most important tasks. Sounds easy right? Well according the United Federation of Teachers website, it's not easy as it sounds. Teachers have a lot of responsibilities and things can interrupt or derail everyday tasks. If you set priorities it can help keep you on track when something unexpected may occur. Teachers are constantly getting interrupted, have it be a phone call from the school nurse or a fire drill. By prioritizing your tasks, with number one being giving students their test and number five being completing an art project, teachers can complete their tasks no matter what the interruption is.

Give Homework

Don't be afraid to leave the repetitive assignments that help reinforce those important concepts for homework. By doing this, it clears up extra time in class for those important lessons. Leave all of the assignments that relate to practice for homework.

Organize Everything

Organization is the key if you are a busy teacher. Before school ever starts have your whole classroom organized and labeled. Everything that can go in a box, tote, or cabinet should be labeled and organized properly. This is essential if you want to maintain a classroom that runs on its own. By having everything organized neatly and labeled appropriately, you will find you will have a lot more time to spend on teaching.

Plan for Transition Times

Prepare quick, five-minute activities for those transition periods between lunch, specials, and in-between lessons. By having these quick time saving activities already prepared, you will find transition times run more smoothly.

Maximize Lesson Planning

Some school districts demand teachers keep a lesson planning notebook that includes all plans, activities, standards and grades. This notebook is a great tool to keep things organized and to help you stay on task. Another great tool to help you maximize your lesson planning is to use apps, or websites that having lesson ideas already planned. Websites such as Pinterest allow you to visually see lessons, and apps such as Teacher Plan can help you map all your lesson plans according to the Common Core.

Additional Ideas

Here are a few more teacher-tested time management tips.

  • Pull out all materials needed for a lesson the day before and keep them together in a tote.
  • Make transparencies for all directions to activities.
  • Assign a student assistant to help pass out papers and materials.
  • Place all materials that need to go to the office in one container so you only make one trip.
  • Use apps to help your grading go faster.
  • Create a bulletin board for roll call and lunch count that students can complete themselves.
  • Divide paperwork into categories: To do, to read, to hold, to grade, etc.

Do you have any time management tips for teachers that you find helpful? Please share in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. 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, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers around the Globe.