Time Management Strategies for Teachers - "What To Do Wednesday"

Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,

One of my biggest struggles as a first year teacher is trying to figure out how to manage my time. Just once I would love to not be the last car out of the parking lot in the evening. How do teachers do it? 

When I get home I end up doing about another hour of planning and I'm so tired the thought of cooking dinner is a tough task. I used to workout on a regular basis, but just as soon as that thought enters my mind it quickly leaves. Will there ever be a time when I'm not working and can enjoy my time at home?

Then there's the weekend. I use this time to get ahead so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour during the week. I try to map out my vision for the week and spend plenty of time online trying to find ideas. When I go out with my friends, I feel guilty that I'm not using my time wisely. Does the guilt ever go away?

If you could give a few tips on how to get on the right track that would be great! 

Thank you,

Time Mismanaged

Dear Time Mismanaged,

Thank you so much for reaching out to us. We are so happy that you decided to ask for help rather than carrying on in this routine. Time management is one the biggest stress factors for most teachers, but especially new teachers. Let's see if we can give you some habits that may help.

One of my top secret tips that I used to balance my workload was to look at the volume of work being assigned. Avoid giving projects to multiple classes (if you teach different grades) or in multiple subjects (if you are self-contained.) Look at what you have going on not just at school, but in your personal life too. Try to manage where due dates can fit. If it's possible, have the students self-check their work so you are not grading homework every night. Most importantly, as you give homework, know why you are giving it. Is it "busy" work because you have to assign something, or is there value in assigning the work. It is perfectly acceptable to not give homework every night.

You absolutely should not feel guilty about spending time with friends or family on the weekend. You need to have a life outside of school because as much as we love our careers our careers should not be our lives. This is a form of self-care that you need to build into your life. When it comes to working on the weekend, schedule your time around your social life. Maybe instead of sleeping until 9:00am, you wake at 8:00am and map out your week. Then during one of your planning times in the coming week, plug in the standards you are covering. Hopefully that will save you a big chunk of time.

Finally, try to figure out a batching system during your school week. Mondays might be for plugging in standards, Tuesdays prepping manipulatives needed for the week, Wednesdays typing up the weekly newsletter, Thursdays catching up on missing work, and Fridays making copies for the coming week. Also, if you have a routine with your students taking over some responsibilities such as classroom duties, a tech person, lunch clip monitor, etc. this will not only save you the hassle of remembering, but also time to handle your day-to-day tasks.

I truly could on and on about how to manage time effectively, but I am hoping what is here will help you for now. If you find that these are working and want even more ideas, then please feel free to reach to us on either Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) or email ([email protected]) and we will be happy to help. Remember, next year will be easier in that you will know how to pace and if you stay in the same position a lot of your planning will be done. Plus, you will have a full year under your belt to see what is working and what needs to be tweaked.

Don't forget to click here for your FREE Student Engagement Strategies: Student Engagement Strategies


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