Managing Your Time
Posted by: Kristie
It is CRUCIAL that you set a plan for time management and then stick to it!! Don't let school overrule your life, even when you're student teaching, which is the most stressful time. I am a 3rd year teacher, so I can relate to your stress level! Here are some tips that may help:
1. Set a time to LEAVE school, and stick to it!! Unless I have a meeting, I ALWAYS leave by 5:00 and don't take any work home during the week. The evening is my time to be a wife and a mother, 2 things that are more important to me than my "teacher" role.
2. Tackle the most pressing things FIRST. When my students leave I first get things ready for the next day (materials laid out, copies made, homework and date written on the board, etc.) If I walk into my room in the morning and things are not ready, this just makes me more stressed. After things are ready for the following day I spend the rest of my time doing other things like grading papers, putting up displays, planning.
3. Use parent volunteers! Parents are eager to help....just ask them! They may not be able to come in, but many will do things at home like put packets together, grade papers, cut things out, etc. This is a big time saver. I have a parent that comes in weekly and files, grades papers, and puts up displays for me. I have 2 more that do things at home.
4. If possible, plan with a team member. This cuts your planning time down A LOT and helps you come up with good ideas.
5. "Steal" ideas from others! I don't have the time or the interest in coming up with "origional" lessons like I thought I was supposed to as a student teacher. Use things others have done before....just ask, most teachers are more than willing to share their ideas. Also check out publications like Mailbox or the internet for ideas, they have some great, creative lesson ideas.
6. DOn't try to be perfect, no one is. Do your best, but don't kill yourself in the process. No matter how hard you try or work, you could always be better, we can ALL be better. Just keep working and keep learning as you go, it wil come to you. HAVE FUN!
Posted by: SusanTeach
How much are you grading each week? You don't have to grade everything - that's where I made my mistake a few years ago. Now I just go over the assignments in class and let them check their own. After all, it's mostly practice. I walk around while they're doing independent work, so I can help them with difficulties then. I give about 1 grade per week per subject (sometimes a test, and sometimes just a classwork grade). I also write out a key to help me grade faster, and so I don't have to take any books home. I try to get them graded during my planning times at school, and that has also helped a lot.
I hope it gets better for you! At least you're getting a handle on some of the paperwork. :)
Posted by: Harry
First of all get rid of the idea that every lesson has to be cool. If you try to make every lesson really exciting for them you are going to kill yourself. You will have no time for yourself. Second, plan ahead. What I do is take one week to plan for the next two weeks. So I have one really stressful week every now and then! This way each night I spend only a short time looking over and modifying my lessons for the next day. You give up one weekend to get two this way. Also I usually stay a little later on fridays to get all my materials together for the first three days of the next week. This way saturday and sunday are free. I find this helps you see problems with your lessons to because you have been thinking about them for so long. Just a suggestion.
Posted by: Pam
I use every spare moment during the day and am one of those teachers you never see during the day outside their classroom. I stay late probably 1 time every 2 weeks on that night I get all my photo copying done. I do however go into school an hour early every day and stay until 4:00 everyday. So my hours are 7:00-4:00 I don't like to stay beyond 4:00 because I am then too tired to do anything for me. I would also like to add that if you are relatively new to a grade level or are starting a new position it is hard until you get into that routine and accumulate different curriculum materials. It is important too to get into the habit of teaching your students the responsibilities of cleaning up, I make all my students put things away before recess, lunch and at the end of the day. Every Friday we spend an extra 1/2 hour straightening out the room. You also train yourself to put things back after using them. My first couple of years I used to be a piler, but force yourself also to get into the habit of being tidy throughout the day. Lots of good advice from the previous posts too a big thank you from me.
Posted by: phoebe611
I HAVE to do my lesson plans at home. It's about the only time I have to myself to sit quietly and actually get anything done. My planning period is a 35 minute slot when the kids are at p.e. However, my planning period is always taken up with checking and responding to my school email, starting students on make up work/tests, etc., grading a few papers if I'm lucky (I usually grade at home), going by the office to check my mailbox, and oh yeah, using the restroom my one time a day at school. :p
Seriously, there is never enough time to get it all in. When I do my lesson plans I sit down and do a chapter/unit at a time. We are fortunate to be able to use books with the little square boxes that nothing fits in. This makes it easier to keep plans simple and to the point. By doing a chapter at a time, I usually am able to do 2 to 3 weeks so I can concentrate on other things. If I don't get to something I just draw an arrow to it for the next day or week.
I do commend you for keeping your personal time yours and not working, but I enjoy teaching and planning new things to do, so it feels like more of a hobby than work when doing my plans. It also helps that I only have to plan for 3 subjects since we are departmentalized. Is there a way that you can do your plans on a computer so next year they are already there, just print them out? I have also heard of teachers who help each other plan. For example if there are three 5th grade teachers, one teacher does the plans for one week, the next teacher does the plans for the next week and so on. Or, one teacher plans for science, one does the plans for reading, etc. and all share the same basic plans. Good luck and just try to find what works best for you.
Might help you, may not- but it's what I do
Posted by: Judy24
I really try to use my plan time better. I found a few years ago that I always had to take things home when the teacher (a veteran of 23 years) never did, so I asked her. She explained very nicely that during her plan time that's what she did. She graded papers, she wrote lesson plans, and did her teacher stuff. Then she said what do you do on your plan? I said the same thing usually. She again said very nicely then what are doing in my room talking to me? I realized then that I talked a lot to other teachers on my plan time. Now I use my 30 minutes to do just what she does. I don't go down to the office until I have a stack of stuff and I shut my door and do my thing. It seems so small but it's really helped. I can get so much done if I just work for the straight 30 minutes. I use lunch time and meeting time to bounce ideas off of colleagues and just chat. I also talk to you all on Proteacher instead.
Parent calls are another issue though. I found out that if I use my cell phone to call parents, I can take a portion of the bill as a tax deduction. I now call parents on the way home from school so that I'm not wasting time at school or using my home time consumed with school.
Posted by: Lydia
I am also a first year teacher and this is what I was told.
Don't take you work home with you. Your job needs to be kept seperate from your home life our you will burn out in the first five years.As a first year teacher you are obviously going to have to put more work into it than 10 year veterans, but don't let it run your life. Kids are going to learn no matter what you do, but of course you dictate how much.
I took a survey of teachers in my school when I student taught and the majority of them told me that you don't really get the hang of it until your third year. So don't expect miracles right away!!!
What I do to stay sane is this:
Get to school 20 minutes before the kids are let into your classroom. Leave half the lights off and get your mind ready for the day. Don't use this time to try to run around and make copies, etc. Use it to relax and focus. Run over in your head what your goals are for the day. Find a mantra and repeat it to yourself "Today I will succeed."
Use your planning period wisely. I see many teachers chat and waste time. Use it to make copies or plan like it was designed for.
Stay at school to finish what you need to do. I stay after school and plan for that day the next week. EX: If it is Monday plan for next Monday... Grade now when your mind is fresh from the lesson. Get everything ready for the next day so if something happens and you're late everything is ready. I ALWAYS leave the school building by 5. An hour and a half should be plenty.
Use your ride home as a relaxing and letting go time. I'm not sure if you like music or not, but I always turn a CD up really loud, sing to the music and take the less stressful way home. By the time I get home I am happy and I know tomorrow I don't have to panic.
Posted by: musicbean
I agree with Judy24. I used to feel really overwhelmed by all the things I had to do until I learned to use my planning time better. I have 6-30min blocks a week and that's lots of time to get many things done. One thing I try to do is plan as much as I can a week in advance (I do it on Thursday afternoons). I get together all the things I need to photocopy, and a parent volunteer does it for me on Friday so it's ready for the next week. Maybe you have a volunteer who could do this for you? It only takes mine about 20 min once a week. This means that I can use my planning period marking, writing lesson plans, etc.
As for keeping the room clean - what grade do you teach? I expect my students to keep the room tidy. No one is dismissed from their desk at the end of the day until their area is tidy. I also have classroom assistants who are responsible for things like cleaning the boards, organizing papers (I give each student a number that they put on all their work - then the helper just orders them numerically - saves me a lot of time and I can quickly see who didn't hand work in). Even young kids can be expected to tidy around their desk and their cubby. Don't feel like you have to do everything.
One more tip - you don't have to grade everything students do. I bought a stamp that says "read but not corrected" and sometimes I just look at things to see if they were completed, get an idea of how well it was understood (try and look at a couple of low, medium and high level student's papers), and then I just stamp it. Parents know that I saw it but I didn't spend a whole planning period marking.
Sorry this was so long, but I really do think learning to use your planning time is key.
Posted by: Rainbow
What comes to my mind are:
(1) giving each student a number. They always write that number in the top right hand corner of their paper. Their numbers are the same in my grade book. I put the numbers in order when grading. This system is two-fold for me.
1. This helps to zip right down the gradebook putting the grades in.
2. I can see real fast who hasn't turned their paper in.
(2)Also, in my planbook, I write notes to myself for next year since we get to keep our planbooks. I will jot down "didn't work", "add _____" Buy the book, _________ to go along with this, etc.
(3)Name flip strips. Each child's name is on a strip and laminated. A hole is punched into the corner of each and put on a metal ring. I can flip to the next person each week for my helper. The kids learn the order so they aren't constantly asking me "When am I the helper?"
There are probably some more, but those are what come to mind first.
Posted by: Niria
I've been Student Teaching for 13 weeks now...and I think I've managed to figure out how to manage my time more wisely. I was in the same boat too...I seemed to spend every waking moment at home or at school - WORKING. This is what I've worked out for myself:
1. You don't have to grade EVERYTHING! Choose specific assignments that you deem important to assess - but not all. You'll have enough grades at the end. I have a planning period during the day that I use for grading those specific assignments.
2. Assign one subject a day or 2 max to plan for the next week. For example, on Tuesday afternoons I plan for Language Arts, Wednesday=Math, Thursday=SS/Sci, Fridays=make copies/prepare for next week.
(Also - I usually make a quick list of "Materials Needed" for the next week as I plan.)
3. Save time when checking homework. Assign a homework monitor for each group to collect for their table and write down any names of students that didn't bring hw - have a spot for them to drop off the homework and slips. Then all you need to do is mark those that don't have it.
4. Don't plan fancy stuff for every lesson. A happy medium of both the old fashioned way of teaching and hands on is OK. They need both! Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy.
5. RELAX! Make your weekends sacred and don't bring work home. That's YOUR time!! Make commitments with friends or family to have some fun time! I've discovered that when I enjoy and relax on the weekends, I'm a better teacher to my kids during the week(and I smile more!)
Let me know how things are going! Best wishes!
Posted by: Colleen
If you stay in the same school and the same grade level your work will get easier each year. I still do lots of work but I feel I can be a creative teacher now that I have worked out all the kinks.
I take my school work with me when my kids have sports practices or music lessons. I do a lot of school work on a lawn chair, in the car or on bleachers. I take my last years lesson plan book to help plan the next week's lessons. I also save stuff kids can't correct to correct at that time.
I also let my kids correct things when ever they can. Immediate feedback is very benificial. Not all marked work goes into my grade book. I only count tests, quizes, stories and special projects and assignments. I do not count homework or practice work we do in school. They get marked but are not included in my grade book.
I make use of days off from school to do school stuff too. Even in the summer I take little projects home to work on. My desk, files etc.get messy during the year so I just throw all the junk in a box and organize when I get bored at home.
mangaging your time is the trick
Posted by: hana
I am in my sixth year of teaching, and my first in second grade. I have two children under four years of age. I basically leave home around 7a.m., get there about 7:20, and start working. I pace myself too. If I have any copies to make, I leave it in my chair and walk up to the office and do them. Fortunately, not too much copying is required in my school.
What else? I will sometimes not go to the staff room, and instead put on classical music, or jazz and grade papers, etc. Or like another post, sometimes when kids are working, I will quickly grade, say a spelling test.
My every Monday, half day, after lunch, I work hard preparing the lessons for the week, etc. ANd through all this, I mangage to leave about 3;00. Often I have to leave earlier because I have to pick up my son in preschool, 20 min. away.
I think organization is also a key. Use the post notes, and try not to do everything in one standing. The work is never ending. NOw, say for conferences coming up. I schedule a few student portfolios with student's note, observations, et.c, a day. Same for report cards. I start doing them way in advance. I will do a few a day. And before you know it, they are done. And I do not take any work home. I tried once, and it was impossible to do.
Try to talk to veteran teachers for tips too.
Posted by: SGS
Hi there! This will be my 17th year teaching, and it's the first year that I feel as though I have a life. I have always lived and breathed school, only sometimes resenting it. For some reason this year I am finding that I have more time when I come home from school. Here are some things that help me with management:
1. I have created a template of my planbook using microsoft word. Instead of filling in the same routines each week, they are already typed in. Now, I just add the specifics. My plan book is typed and easy to read.
2. I (try) to do my weekly planning on Thursday evenings. Prior to that I pencil ideas in, but I do my typing at home on Thursdays. It usually takes only an hour. (I do some planning with the special ed. teacher on Friday mornings, so that is why I chose Thursdays.).
3. We have full access to copiers at my school, along with an aide that will help with such things. I try to make the best use of her and have all my copies run off for the following week by Thursday (planning day).
4. Speaking of copiers... My Christmas gift from my hubby last year was a personal copier. I have it in my classroom and LOVE it. It's available for me to make transparencies, notes and occasionally a class set of sheets. Invaluable!
5. I've never loved having my students correct their own papers, or anyone else's for that matter (it's the controling nature in me!). This year we are beginning each math lesson by correcting the previous night's homework. I do still check to make sure they are done, and will occasionally spot check them. What a huge time saver.
6. I've learned to take care of myself by not assigning more than I can handle. If I know I have an evening obligation coming up, I try to be sure there will not me very much (or any) correcting that night.
7. Sometimes I do go into school on weekends. Actually, I enjoy doing that, especially if it will help to ensure a good school week.
8. Try to take care of paperwork "stuff" immediately. Don't let piles stack up.
9. I really believe that we are better teachers if we are happy teachers. Make time for you and your family!
I hope this helps.
managing your time
Posted by: Cathy-Dee
This is probably the hardest part of teaching. Figuring out how to balance one's home life with school life. The first year or two of teaching tends to be the most time-consuming. The other teachers you mention have learned how to steam line and also do not have the same amount of preparation work and planning as you do when you first start out.
Some things you can do to help stream-line your time.
- set aside time for your family - if every day is not possible, then put aside two days a week plus one day on the weekend which is just for you and your family. No extra schoolwork on those days.
- you don't need to mark everything the students do. Some things are just for practice and in some cases the students can mark their own work. You need enough work marked so that the students know how they are doing and you have marks for report cards. I don't even hand back all assignments.
- Use other time wisely - recesses, lunch hour, come in earlier in the mornings.
- Don't mark everyday - I use phonic books for example 2-4 times per week, sometimes I will only mark the books once during the week. This saves me time on some days.
- If you have parent volunteers or older students in the school, have them do some marking. Math sheets, workbook pages, mad minutes, etc., are all easy things for others to mark. You can always glance over them for accuracy before recording the marks and handing them back to the students.
- Have your kids help - take them to your classroom while you do some marking and have them tidy the classroom, take down a display, etc., I've seen parent-teachers in my school do this several times a week. The kids love being a part of their mom or dad's job!
- Although teaching takes time and is your job, your family should come first! Don't feel guilty if you don't mark that assignment or if you don't stay until 6:00 every night.
And keep in mind that it does get easier and even in your second year you'll find you won't need quite as much time with the overall planning and creating of materials.