This post shares time management tips for first-year teachers as well as veteran teachers to help you spend your time at school more efficiently.
This post may contain affiliate links For more info, check out The Simply Organized Teacher’s disclosure policy.
There are a lot of things that lead to teacher burnout, but one of the things that I think contributes the most is the lack of time.
Teachers are always complaining about the lack of time and the amount of responsibilities they have on their plate. Both of these things are true but also we cannot do much about either of them.
Instead, I think we should focus our energy on improving our time management.
In this post I am sharing:
- My story with teacher burnout
- 3 things to think about as a first year teacher
- Resources to help you manage your time better
My Story with Teacher Burnout
We all know that teachers are leaving the field earlier and earlier. Fifty percent of teachers will leave within their first five years.
When I was teaching I had two friends who worked at my school and left teaching in less than five years.
I left the classroom after six (granted that was largely because my husband’s job moved us abroad), but a drastic change was in my future whether my husband’s job permitted it or not.
It’s sad because both of these teachers (and myself) were REALLY good teachers. Like…really good.
We worked really hard and really long hours. We took work home. Teaching was everything to us and we put everything we had into it.
I started to feel burned out in year four. The only thing knew to do was to withdrawal. During my first 4 years of teaching, I got to work early and left late. I would spend time at home lesson planning, cutting out lamination, creating new behavior management systems.
Everything I did revolved around teaching. And it was fun! But then it got old.
By my fifth year of teaching, I was walking in with the kids and left on time (if not early).
I was burnt out. I didn’t want to be there. Teaching was just a job. And that’s not fun.
And it reflected in my classroom. I didn’t have the option to leave it altogether so I did the only thing I knew to do.
If you are a first-year teacher. Or a new teacher. Or even a veteran teacher that is still so excited and in love with teaching, I am so happy for you! I know what it is like to be SO excited about your classroom or an upcoming lesson that you justify the late hours.
I get it. I’ve been there.
Some days I still am there!
But that is why time management is SO imperative. You have to set boundaries for yourself now so that you aren’t running on empty later.
Time Management for First-Year Teachers
Below are several tips for time management for both first-year and veteran teachers. Not all of them may be available to you right now, but pick and choose what you can implement into your work and leave the rest.
It is really important that you set boundaries for yourself.
I recommend teachers allow themselves one “late-night” each week, two max!
This is a day when you can plan to stay a bit later and work on things that require a bit more time or concentration.
The rest of the days, leave on time (or shortly after the end of your contract time).
Staying late to accomplish “just one more thing” is not healthy. There will always be “one more thing.” And if you don’t set healthy boundaries, it will lead to burnout.
Students inside The Organized Teacher Framework™ have access to a lesson on theming your days so you can make better use of your time at school. Be sure to check it out or sign up for the waitlist for the Framework here!
Create a Lesson Planning Routine
I love to talk about my lesson planning routine because teachers get so lost in lesson planning and spend hours prepping plans when it really doesn’t need to be that hard.
The Simply Organized Classroom eBook shares all about how you can make your own lesson planning routine that works for you and your schedule. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Choose a day each week to work on lesson plans. This is your “lesson planning day”
- Write out short handed plans in your planner (Erin Condren is my fav teacher planner!)
- List out all materials needed for the upcoming week and then spend Friday gathering, copying, printing, or creating all of the necessary materials.
Utilize Intentional To-Do Lists
You know the struggle….”But it’s just one.more.thing.!!!”
Everyone has said that. And how many times is it just “one more thing?” Never! I think the to-do list is the number one killer of time management…At least for me.
Keeping a notepad on your desk with a brain dump list is an effective way of keeping track of the million little things that come to mind.
If you are in the middle of a lesson and all of a sudden you remember you need to email that interventionist about an RTI meeting, take 2 seconds to write it down, and get it off your brain.
At the end of the day (or during lunch or planning) look through your list and prioritize what NEEDS to get done and what can wait. Then do those things.
When you start at your top priority and get those things done first, you are free to leave on time knowing that the list will still be there tomorrow but without the pressures of something needing to be done looming over your head.
(Get the free To-Do Lists downloadable now and be notified when I host a free live training on how to utilize your to-do lists!)
I’m no expert at this. Obviously. I just wrote about how much I stunk at time management as a first-year teacher.
I have, however, found a healthier balance of time working and time enjoying the things I enjoy. Remember the three tips I shared in this post:
- Set boundaries (and stick to them!)
- Create a lesson planning routine (here’s mine!)
- Make better to-do lists (free workshop and downloadable to-do list templates)
Here is a quick list of all the links I shared inside this post!
- Write Lesson Plans Quickly and Effectively with this Workflow
- 5 Must-Have Behavior Management Plans
- The Simply Organized Classroom Ebook
- My Favorite Teacher Lesson Planner
- Join The Organized Teacher Framework™
- Download the free Teacher To-Do List Templates and Training
First-Year Teacher Related Posts
First year teachers- be sure to check out these post specifically written for you!
Until next time,
Elina Morrison says
Thanks, Kelly. I appreciate the efforts you have made to help newbies who are going to start their teaching career. The teaching profession is a stressful and challenging job and an educator should be aware of basic aspects of time management and classroom management tricks. Such awareness helps an educator to overcome the stress and challenges associated with such a profession. Besides, an educator should enroll in an online classroom management tricks to learn more effective classroom management tricks.