My Time Management As A Teacher

by Adam Powell
(Peterborough, England)

I think there are really three main challenges as a teacher

One, the job never finishes (it is always possible to plan better, mark more, create more impressive activities or do more after-school activities) and so deciding when you have done enough is very hard. I still frequently get it wrong…

Two, the workload varies enormously over the year (reports, coursework, mock exams to mention just a few) and it can be hard to manage the regular everyday activities during these busy periods.

Three, you are not guaranteed time even when it appears as a non-contact on your timetable (occasionally cover, more often student issues, helping another member of staff or sorting out practical equipment) and so things you hoped to do during the day don’t happen.

In school, wanting to help students, managing their behaviour if they have been removed from other classrooms and improving the department sometimes gets in the way of my own work. And more likely than any of these, chatting to other teachers!

I think it’s very difficult to teach without excessive stress. When I first started teaching (6 years ago), stress was much more of an issue as I worried about whether I was doing the job properly, I couldn’t balance the various tasks to be done and I took things that happened in the classroom very personally. Recently, it’s been much much rarer. I can remove myself from the job much more easily, depersonalise it and know where I can take shortcuts that don’t affect learning so much. It still happens when deadlines collide or I have to present to staff though! It helps to know it’s only temporary!

My Tips:

  1. Keep a to do list and make sure nothing is on it for more than a week by doing it even if you don’t want to. Move it up the list the longer it has been on!

  2. Plan & review thoroughly even if it takes a lot of time as it won’t ever get quicker and you won’t get better if you don’t. Better to have a couple of hard work years than 30 rubbish ones.

  3. Ask for help. Use other teachers, your mentor and friends for support during the worst periods. They will be able to help with everything from behaviour to reports if you ask wisely. This can give you a chance to get back on top.

Personally, I don’t really have a system to manage my time. I use my time very flexibly and don’t like having too much of a routine. However, I come into school early each day so that I have time to check and reply to emails, organise my day and sit and think before anyone else is around…

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