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Time Management Tips for Teachers

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Teaching is a difficult job, and requires that teachers work incredibly long hours. Therefore, it is vitally important that teachers learn good time management. Check out a few of these tips.

Time Management Tips for Teachers

Teaching is a job where there is an unlimited amount of work to do, and there is always room to improve. There's a reason that teachers routinely work 60 to 80 hours a week, and even more in the first year. The pressure and stress can be overwhelming. Therefore, it is vital and incredibly useful for teachers to develop time management skills. In this lesson, we're going to go through a few key suggestions and ideas to improve your time management.

Task Management

When broken down to fundamentals, time management is really task management. Each moment of our lives can be broken down into tasks, even if that task is simply, 'spend time with family' or 'eat dinner'. How you organize the various tasks that you have to complete, both necessary and optional, will be a big part in your success in completing them and staying on top of them. There are lots of aspects of task management that people never think about, but which can make a big difference to your productive use of time. Here are some tips.

  • Downtime task list: Every task that you have to complete should be kept on a single, consistent system. This can be as simple as a notebook, or as complex as a series of desktop and cell phone apps which automatically sync across all your electronic devices. Regardless of what system you use, you should have a list of tasks that can be completed during downtime. One way to do this is to group the tasks by location. Any task that you can complete at school between lessons should be on a separate list. A big key to time management for teachers is to use every available moment when not at home, no matter how seemingly short. A downtime task list will help with this.
  • Delegate: When possible, be sure to delegate tasks that you personally do not need to complete to other people. This could be an assistant or secretary in the school, another person on a team, or it could be a classroom aide or student assistant. Focus on the tasks which only you can complete.
  • Group similar tasks: To be efficient when completing tasks, it's valuable to group similar tasks together. Why spend 30 minutes going to get a haircut, when you can spend 15 minutes getting a haircut, going to the post office, and grabbing a few things from the supermarket? Try to do as many errands as possible in a single burst, and plan your route to be as efficient with time as possible. If you have phone calls to make, wait until you have five of them, and complete them all at once.
  • Be self-limiting: Teaching is an unlimited job, and if you don't limit yourself, it will absorb every available moment of your life. It's important to accept that you cannot do everything. If your task list is never approaching complete, you need to remove certain responsibilities from it by any means necessary. Another way to limit yourself is to only complete schoolwork at school, even if that means staying late. You can set a hard limit for yourself on how much time you spend doing school work, and force yourself to go home at that time. This also helps keep you efficient while you are working, prompted by the desire to finish and go home.

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