Teacher Time Management
A teacher must be savvy about the time they have at school each day. Each teacher must balance the demands of lesson planning, tracking student assessment and data, managing communications and other school commitments. This on top of the actual time you spend with students conducting the actual business of teaching.
Having a plan to manage all those tasks it critical. Sticking to that plan is what makes it work. There are certain things that become priority and we need to drop everything when these things come up such as student safety, discipline, or personal issues. These are not to be ignored. So once you make your plan be sure not to deviate from that carefully laid schedule unless it is one of those things that you would categorize as a drop everything issue.
Monday- Check on grades and missing work for all students, address upcoming assessments for the week with students
Tuesday- Lesson planning for the week, observe your students
Wednesday- Lesson planning for the week, share some observations with your students
Thursday- grade papers, enter grades, observe other classrooms
Friday- record student observations from the week, contact parents with positive and needs improvement messages, lesson plan for the following week
This sample schedule is my typical week at school. My Monday and Tuesday activities set up what I’m doing mid-week. My middle of the week plans set up my later in the week plans and so on. Some people might notice right away that I only spend one day grading papers and that this won’t work for them. I only do one day of grading per week since my students are active in the data collection process. They take at least two formatives each week and the students record scores in their own notebooks. This cuts down on my own need to grade and offer feedback.
Most of my week is spent lesson planning and making observations. I spend a lot of time lesson planning since most of my assignments and assessments are heavily differentiated. To have all those options for students takes intentional planning and consideration of each student. I also believe the amount of time I spend looking at student work during the week makes grading move much faster. I believe if you haven’t already seen the student’s work a few times before they hand it in you haven’t observed the students enough. Most importantly if you haven’t already offered the student feedback before the assignment is turned in you’ve misses out on authentic formative opportunities.
When making a plan of your own be sure to think about what’s important to you as a teacher. For me its observation and lesson planning. For others grading might be what matters most. Whatever the case is make sure the most important thing takes up most of your week. Make your list of compromises ahead of time. These are your drop everything subjects that can make or break your week and should be the only things that disrupt your schedule.