Education is a hard field to be in. There are so many things constantly pulling at you as a teacher. You can walk into any school building see the stress plastered across teachers’ faces. You can ask almost any teacher what their biggest struggle in teaching is and it’s bound to be time! But I am convinced that the lack of time isn’t what is taking away our joy in the classroom. I think the bigger issue is how teachers manage time.
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This is our culture today. Everyone is “go, go, go”and we are all expected to be “on” all the time.
I remember being a first-year teacher and thinking that staying late made me a good teacher. I would sometimes stay till 6:00 or 7:00. One week my mom had my dog and I stayed till 8:00 each night. All in the name of being a good teacher. While I understand that being a good teacher does sometimes take staying late, it doesn’t take staying late to be a good teacher.
I am actually convinced that if we manage our time well, we become happier, more joyful, and better teachers. When we manage our time in a way that we leave work at work and go home at a decent time, then we become happier, more joyful, and better humans.
This ultimately makes us better teachers, moms, wives, sisters, husbands (sorry…I was getting a little gender-specific there with the female teacher stereotype).
So how can teachers manage time more efficiently and ultimately find more joy in their careers?
We have to change our mindsets!
5 Mindset Shifts to Help Teachers Manage Time Better
Below I have listed some common mindsets we, as teachers, typically fall into. These can be dangerous mindsets to be in (meaning…they will likely lead to teacher burn out).
I’ve also listed how we can counteract that negative mindset and look at things in a healthier and more positive way. Thus, teachers can manage their time better and be more joyful!
Mindset Shift 1: I need to do all the things
Instead of thinking that you need to be good at all the things and constantly managing everything going on in your classroom, switch your mindset to focusing on one big goal for the year.
If I come up with a great idea or a fun new way to do something, but it doesn’t fit into my goal for the year- then I table it. (That’s the mindset shift- being okay with letting it go for now. It’s hard, I know!)
P.S.- My favorite goal-setting tool is my PowerSheets planner. You can read all about how you can use PowerSheets to set personal and professional goals as a teacher right here.
Mindset Shift 2: I need to stay late to get everything done
I referenced this above, but staying late won’t make you a better teacher. In fact, I argue that it will only hurt your teaching career because you are instead focused on getting everything done instead of allowing yourself time to take care of you.
Instead of having the mindset that “I will leave early one or two days a week,” flip the mindset. “I will stay late one or two nights a week.” The rest of the days, leave on time. Go home. Relax. Take the dogs on a walk. And for the love, DON’T DO TEACHER STUFF AT HOME!!!!!!!!!!
Mindset Shift 3: I need to check off my to-do list
I am a huge fan of the to-do list- it’s how I manage my life. But I’ve also learned that it’s easy to become a slave to the to-do list.
What I have found works best for me is to keep a brain dump list at my desk in the SAME SPOT at all times. When something comes to mind, no matter how tiny of a thing it is, I write it down. Then, when I plan out my week, I look over my brain dump list and prioritize what needs to get done that week.
Instead of focusing on getting everything done, change your mindset by focusing on your top three for each week and then your top three for each day. I’ve found that looking at my to-do lists this way has actually allowed me to accomplish more and feel more effective in what I am doing!
Grab your copy of the Teacher To-Do Lists and Brain Dump freebie!
Mindset Shift 4: I must stick to my schedule
I know one thing I am guilty of (in both a professional and personal setting) is feeling the need to stick to my schedule at all times. Stick to my plan. Stick to my to-do list.
I am learning that it is more important if I give myself grace for the days I fall short. Your mindset shift here is to be okay with not sticking to your schedule and giving yourself grace in that. I am learning that the work will always be there tomorrow. AND THAT’S OKAY!
I haven’t gotten on my soapbox in a while…so here I go…
Mindset Shift 5: I need to do everything that is asked of me
This is a big one, I know! Just hang with me! I want to challenge you to change your mindset from feeling like you have to do whatever is asked of you to feeling comfortable saying no!
Obviously teaching is your job and you HAVE to do your job. But teachers are always asked to do SO MUCH EXTRA stuff! And some of that stuff is good. But sometimes you have to say “No.”
Obviously not to your boss or to something that is legitimately part of your job. But say no to the extra committee you were asked to be apart of. Voice your opinion about the extra stuff on your plate.
As teachers, we always feel like we need to do everything that is asked of us and keep our mouths shut. But I think there is a time and place to stand up for ourselves and our profession. And sometimes you just need to say NO!
What do you think? How many of these negative mindset shifts do you currently subscribe to and what do you need to change?
Join me over on Instagram January 27-31 where I’ll be talking about each of these mindset shifts in even more detail!