Are you overwhelmed during the work day? Do you feel like you are running in circles and there is still a never-ending “To-Do List” at 4pm? You aren’t alone! If you are not working efficiently, teaching will spill over into your evenings, your weekends, your personal life, you name it! Teaching is a job that takes passion, but you should not have to sacrifice time for yourself in order to care for your students and do your job well. That is why we have gathered 5 tips to help you to have an efficient work day and maximize your time at school so that you can have free time after!
START YOUR DAY EARLIER
I know, I know, this is not what you hoped to read at the top of our list, but hear us out! Starting your day with purpose rather than rolling out of bed at the last minute will set you up for success. Set that alarm for a few minutes earlier, take time to sip your coffee, get ready for the day, or just sit in silence and stare…however you want to spend these minutes is up to you. Either way, you are awake and moving forward a little more positively!
You have woken up earlier and are feeling great about your day. Then, your chest starts to tighten as you begin to mentally list everything you need to accomplish in the next 8 hours. Avoid a panic attack and grab a pen instead – let’s write down the things you just listed in your head and then let’s go one step further. Put a number next to each item on your list. Start with number 1 for the most important item to accomplish that day. This is the one that we HAVE to check off of the list. Then, move to number 2, 3, 4, and so on. The further down the list, the least important. This way, you have a PLAN and can tackle your day with purpose!
The best thing I ever did for myself as a teacher was plan ahead. Planning one day (or week) at a time always left me with a pit in my stomach. I felt as though I couldn’t enjoy my day because I was always worried about planning for the next. It may take a little more time in the beginning to plan that extra week (or two weeks if you are feeling ambitious) in advance, but as the school year continues, you will be glad you did!
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to add some Fluency and Fitness+ brain breaks to your lessons! These are easy ways to review any concept you are planning for!
MAKE COPIES IN BULK
Now this tip is pretty simple, but will save you a lot of headache. Even if I planned my lessons ahead, I remember times I would realize at the last minute that I did not have the copies I needed for my upcoming lesson. As I frantically ran to the printer, waited in terror as the teacher in front of me slowly stapled 20 page packets for her entire grade, and made the walk [run] of shame back to my classroom to start our lesson, I would think to myself “if only I had taken the extra time to make these copies in advance.” Take this piece of advice before you have to endure these 10 minutes of terror…plan ahead and then make the copies in bulk!
I don’t know about you, but when I am overwhelmed and frazzled, I do not work my best! When my mind is racing, I tend to start too many projects and rarely finish one to the best of my ability. When you have a student having a melt-down, 5 parent emails, copies to make, a meeting during your planning period, and it’s only 8:05…this tip is hard to remember. Try to take a moment to breathe, think of your priority list we discussed and begin to check off one at a time whenever you can. Starting and halfway finishing everything you need to do will get you nowhere, but finishing even just one item completely will bring you closer to where you want to be!