Time Management for Teachers

Time management for teachers helps teachers meet the demands of their job. With papers to grade and classes to prepare, teaching can feel overwhelming.

Time management for teachers saves you time without compromising the quality of your teaching.

Teachers face unique time management issues.

Your daily schedule is booked and there is little flexibility in class schedules.

You have papers to grade and lesson materials to prepare - and on top of this you have to teach.

It can feel overwhelming!

Teacher time management can be broken up into:

  • fixed classroom times in which you are teaching and

  • the one to three hours a day that you have outside of class in which you need to do routine administrative tasks, make phone calls, and prepare lesson plans.

An important part of a teacher's job is to prepare materials and to be available for students and parents outside of classroom hours.

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Taking work home, grading papers well into the night, giving up your weekends to prepare class.

This can blur the boundaries of work life balance.

This is one reason why teachers are often stressed and suffer a high rate of job burnout.

You can be so busy preparing lesson plans, marking, and teaching that you forget about taking care of yourself!

time management at work gives you a greater sense of control.

Time management for teachers will:

  • provide you with stress relief and greater job satisfaction
  • increase your efficiency and effectiveness in the classroom
  • give you more time and improve the quality of your lessons.

This makes time management for teachers important for you and your students.

Here I provide four teacher time management tips.

These include:

  1. Plan your workday
  2. Focus on your important and urgent activities
  3. Organize yourself and your workspace
  4. Misbehaving students

Plan your workday

A common thing I hear from teachers or in time management workshops is "I don’t have time to do any planning,” or “Things change too much to plan!”

But the simple fact is that planning saves time and gives you a greater sense of control over what you have to do.

Even if things don't stick to plan you can always come back to your plan when things settle.

A plan enables you to become more effective, organized, and reduce your stress.

Take 10 minutes a day to plan your day.

Abraham Lincoln reportedly once said, “If I had 60 minutes to cut down a tree, I would spend 40 minutes sharpening the ax and 20 minutes cutting it down.”

Time management for teachers can improve with planning your day and week in your personal organizer.

Spend 10 minutes planning what you can do between class times.

Getting your tasks down on paper and out of your mind reduces your stress and improves your focus

By having a plan you give yourself a greater sense of control and this allows you to decide how you are going to spend your time most effectively.

What to do with large tasks?

Groups tasks together for increased efficiency

Teachers can save a lot of time by grouping like activities together.

If you have 10 phone calls to make to parents, or 5 emails to reply to, then grouping these tasks together saves you time.

These time management tips suggests other ways that teachers can save time.

Sometimes there are large tasks that you cannot do in one sitting.

For example I have university marking that I need to do in the next three weeks - 120 papers that take 25 minutes each.

I break this task into smaller segments of 1-2 hours and put these into my time management schedule.

By breaking your tasks into chunks and scheduling them into your time management planner you increase your focus and reduce your stress as you progress.

Sometimes teachers can be so busy grading reports and preparing lesson plans that there is little time to focus on their own career goal setting.

Aim to work on your personal goal for a period each day.

Focus on important and urgent tasks

Teachers have alot to do!

Grading reports, preparing lessons, filing and administrative tasks, and responding to parent and student concerns.

This means that you probably won't get through everything so you want to make sure you get through things that are important to your job.

Prioritizing tasks improves time management for teachers.

Once you have a list of activities in your to do list, put your activities in order of priority.

Your 'A' tasks are very important and the consequences of not doing an 'A' task are high.

For example, if you don't prepare for tomorrow's Year 9 class before you leave today then that will put a lot of stress and pressure on you for tomorrow morning's class.

So essentially your 'A' tasks are your 'must do's'.

'B tasks' are not that important and the consequences are not so high.

Focus on those tasks that are top priority. According to the Pareto principle 20% of tasks yield 80% of results.

Time Management at Work Activity

Identify those activities that are both important and urgent to you.

Now use time keeping software or an activity log and track your time.

If you can spend 5% more time on your high impact activities you notice an increase in productivity and reduced stress levels!

Search here for more time management for teachers tips.

Organizing tips for you and your workspace

Being organized saves you time.

Did you know that the average worker spends six weeks searching for documents they already have.

These documents are in their filing system, email folders, on their desk, or in their computer system.

Having an organized workspace, whether it is a desk or a storage area will save you time in trying to find things.

Being organized also reduces stress!

If your desk resembles a disaster area and you have not seen it for a while because of the mountains of paperwork here are some tips on how to organize your desk and organize files.

Misbehaving students and time management for teachers

As a teacher, one of the biggest challenges you face are uncooperative students.

Students who misbehave or who are not doing their homework can really eat into a teacher's time.

While each school district has their own policies, there are a number of things that you can do to maximize the chances that their homework goes to the top of their to do list.

I find that along with my to do list I also have a tracking sheet.

On this tracking sheet I record the homework that was not done or the tasks that were not conducted by the students.

For example if Jack did not do his homework then this would go on the tracking sheet, and only when he hands in that homework will his name come off the tracking sheet.

If his name does not come off the tracking sheet, or his name continues to be added onto the tracking sheet, then school policy dictates the outcomes.

I find that these two activities by themselves save teachers a lot of time.

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