With only so many minutes in the day, teachers must remain highly organized to make effective use of their time. In fact, many state curricula mandate a certain number of hours of instructions in particular subjects. Between recess, extracurriculars, lunch, and unplanned activities throughout the day, it can be difficult for educators to manage classroom time well.
6 Tools to Boost Time Management Skills
Use these time management strategies to reclaim your education time each day.
A day planner is the top item for teachers who manage time well. Seasoned teachers refer to their planners throughout the day to stay on track with lessons. Pencil in lesson time as well as meetings, recess, and after school activities. Before you leave each night, review the next day’s schedule to mentally prepare.
A Simple “Do Not Disturb” Sign Can Work Wonders
Unexpected interruptions can be a serious drain on class time. To keep your classroom focused, place a “Teaching: Do Not Disturb” sign on your classroom door while you teach. If you have a repeat visitor who happens to interrupt instruction time, talk to him or her about the importance of avoiding in-class disturbances.
Rescue Time App
Many of us find ourselves promising to “just check email quickly” before disappearing down an Internet rabbit hole. Even if this is just 5 or 10 minutes at a time, it can quickly eat into your day. Rescue Time is a time management app that gives you an accurate picture of how you spend your computer time.
Invest in Organization Systems
File folders and organization systems are critical to moving from one task to another in an efficient manner. Keep lesson plans and materials for each topic filed in a single place. Before you leave for the evening, make sure your next day’s materials are prepped and ready to go. This saves precious moments when transitioning from one activity to the next.
Having a digital timer allows you to be precise when partitioning out time for activities. This is particularly useful for unstructured activities, such as play time or student homework time. Set the timer for 15 minutes and instruct students to put everything away immediately when it goes off.
Office Hours Sign
If endless impromptu meetings are bogging you down, add structure to your day by putting up an “Office Hours” sign on your door. Designate this time for helping students and solving problems, and refer everyone to your daily hours to protect your time.
More Time Management Tips and Tools
If you’re looking for more tips and ideas to save you time and stress, check out the other time and behavior management posts on the Schoolyard blog. You’ll find ideas from other teachers and suggestions for more tools to try.