Monthly Archives: December 2012
I just found this great giveaway and so I thought I’d write a quick blog post to share!
Tips For Teachers is having a holiday giveaway. There are many resources to be won, donated by teachers (which is a whole lot of awesomeness) but what I’m really hoping for is the Nook that they’re offering! I can just imagine curling up with a new read over the holidays and also sharing this fabulous piece of technology with my grade sevens in the new year. I hope I win…but I’m just so thoughtful, that I had to share the giveaway with you guys too!
Good luck, and of course, let me know if you win…
I’m happy to introduce to you, Michael Roderick, my guest blogger for today. He’s got some really practical ideas on how to manage your time – I think most of us could use a little help in that area. I know I can! Take it away, Michael!
As a former teacher, I spent a great deal of time at school. Many times it felt as if I didn’t have much of a life outside of school. Then, something interesting happened. I started prioritizing and developing time management tools and I suddenly had a lot more time to work on other projects. In the 8 years I taught I also was able to provide mentorship to student teachers, run a Drama Program, serve as a Department Chair, and as an interim Dean of Discipline. Below are some tools I used to make that happen. I hope they help you.
Stress and loss of time often come from feeling overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed is a direct result of feeling like everything is urgent. If everything is considered urgent, then nothing gets done.
Breaking down your week:
Create a list of everything you have to do in the next week. Even if it seems minimal, put it on the sheet. Once your list is complete, choose five things that you would consider a top priority. Circle them. Choose your second top five and put a square around them. Then leave the rest. (10 minutes)
Now create an A column, B column, and a C column. A=top 5- Done today , B=2nd top 5-Done tomorrow, C= Rest- Done within the week
Now approximate the time it will take to do each task
Choose test format- 5 minutes
Choose problems- 15-20 minutes
Write the test for 9th– 30-45minutes
Write the test for 10th– 30-45minutes
Write the test for 11th– 30-45 minutes
Now that you know how long each thing will take, punch it into your schedule.
If you prioritize and choose the most important things, you’ll find that not everything is urgent and you’ll have more room in your schedule to plan.
Specific days for specific assessment– Choose a specific day each week for tests and quizzes. Ex: 9th graders get a quiz every Tuesday and a test every Friday.
Paper overload- You can assign do now activities and do a spot check with 3 or 4 students randomly. Do this often enough and you’ll cover the whole class in about a week. You can also give each student a folder and collect 5-10 folders randomly each week. The key is spacing things out so that you don’t have a day when you walk home with 200 papers. You can also stagger when things are due. So rather than having 4 classes with projects all due on the same day, you assign one class due on a Friday and another on a Monday etc.
Tracking- Whether it’s a clip board, a Note Pad, or an Ipad. You want a place that you go to for your notes from the day regarding students and issues. Having one place you can go to review for the rest of the day, will save you a ton of time. You won’t have to run around finding notes in three or four different places. You can also plug in the items to complete into your online calendar, so you can see on your phone when it’s time to get something done.
Delegation- You do not have to do every single thing. Think about the things on your list that you can give to students. They can write your agenda on the board, help hand out papers, help you organize and more.
Keeping in Touch:
Email- Think about responses that you give all the time and create a template for that response. Whenever you are contacted about that specific issue, just cut and paste the template into your email. Cut down on your folders. You should be able to file everything into 5 easy to follow folders. You can remember them easily by thinking of clearing S.P.A.C.E.
- Students- Any email from a student regarding homework, assignments, questions etc.
- Parents- Any email from parents about a student and their progress
- Administration- This is where you file any email from the administrative team. Principals, Department Chairs, Asst. Principals, etc.
- Content- Use this for emails regarding lessons, tests, and anything else
- Extras- This is for clubs, activities, and any email that does not have to do directly with your classes. Ex.) Drama Club, Walk for a Charity, Newsletters that you’re interested in reading
Masterminds- Find a few teachers who teach the same subject and schedule a lunch or after school sit down at least once a week. One of the best ways to relieve stress is to converse with others experiencing the same thing. You can share best practices and connect which may be the best way to wind down.
Be realistic- If you have 100 papers to grade for tomorrow, it’s going to take you a lot of time. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get them all done. You’re human. Remember the plan, take things in small chunks and schedule throughout the week. You’ll get them done. Remember that any big number can be divided. Do the math on your projects and you’ll find more time.
Bringing it all together
So in order to take control of your time, you need to ultimately do 5 things.
- Identify what’s important
- Schedule everything according to priority
- Track what you’re doing daily
- Keep email at bay
- Schedule time to recharge
Hopefully you have found these techniques helpful. If you have good time saving techniques, I invite you to share them below.
Bio: Michael Roderick is the Director of Business Development for LearnBop www.learnbop.com , a tool that helps teachers save time. He has mentored student teachers and has a Masters in Educational Theatre from NYU. He has also produced on Broadway and been published as a playwright. He can be reached at Michael@learnbop.com @LearnBop on twitter