Ready to stop spending so much time at school? These time saving tips for teachers will help you make the most of your time at school so you can spend more time doing the things you love.
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I am a sucker for finding a good routine or rhythm for doing something. I’m constantly on the hunt for a new app or web-based program to help me organize my life a little easier.
In fact, just this week I spent a good thirty to forty minutes moving all of my notes from my Notes App on my phone to Evernote.
Everyone was saying this list app was the best around so I decided to join in.
Then guess what…I just spent another twenty minutes this morning moving all my notes on Evernote back to my Notes App on my phone because Evernote was not doin’ it for me.
What a waste of time!
A lot of times, the simplest and easiest way of doing something is the best.
The same thing happened with organizing all of my business to dos. For two years I used Google Sheets. Then, everyone was talking about Trello and Asana.
So I spent about a sold week researching the two, getting my Asana all set up, only to realize about three months later that Google Sheets worked way better for me.
Which meant I then spent another week getting all my systems and workflows back into Google Sheets.
We do the same thing as teachers.
There are SO many expectations on classroom teachers. The amount of new programs, platforms, curriculums, and resources that are given to teachers to learn how to use (only to relinquish them a year later).
I want you to I save time at school not spend more time there!
In this post I am going to share 7 of the best time saving tips for teachers.
These are simple strategies I used all during my years of teaching and things I share with teachers inside The Organized Teacher Framework™.
How Teachers can Save Time and Work Less
This is a common thing teachers wonder.
There is so much to do and so little time.
All of these expectations lead to burnout and frustration within the teaching career.
In fact, just this week I watched the stories of a girl I follow who ten months ago was sharing videos and lessons she was doing with her students. Ten months ago she was sharing how much she loved her job and could never imagine doing anything else.
This week? She shared about how burnt out she is. She said she is considering other careers because she can’t handle the stress (and politics) of education.
It breaks my heart.
Mainly because I’ve been there and I know what that feels like.
I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I can remember. But once I got into the classroom and realized how much time I was devoting to my job, I didn’t know how long I could last in that profession.
Luckily by my fourth year of teaching I realized I was on the road to burnout and I started implementing some really firm boundaries between my teaching and personal life.
Holly and I talked about some of those on the second episode of Simply Teach.
Really, there isn’t a secret to how teachers can work less.
The “secret” is to just stop working as much. We have to stand up for ourselves as teachers.
We have to create, and respect, boundaries because no one else will.
That’s why I wanted to share some time saving tips for teachers in this post.
I can’t reduce the workload you have. But I can help you figure out more sustainable ways of working through the things you do have to get done each day.
7 Time Saving Tips for Teachers
No wasting time trying to find a new workflow for something only to abandon it a couple months later. These systems actually work and I’m excited to share them with you!
You do not have to implement all of these immediately. In fact, I would recommend choosing one or two of these strategies and getting them down before attempting any other time saving tips for teachers.
1. Use a Lesson Planning Format
One of my former teammates told me that she spent, on average, 12 to 14 hours planning each week.
I was so baffled by this because it took me, at most, three hours. And that included prepping and organizing all my materials.
She was planning each morning for the day ahead. Which meant, she got to school between 5:30 and 6:00 each morning, figured out what she was teaching, and prepped the materials.
There is a much easier way to lesson plan.
My workflow, which I explain in detail here, was much simpler:
- Wednesday– review team plans, curriculum map and outline plans in planner
- Thursday– continue this ^^^ and start creating material list
- Friday– prep all materials for the upcoming week
You can check out the full lesson planning workflow in this blog and podcast episode.
2. Batch Your Days
This is one of my favorite tips for helping teachers save time.
Instead of stressing about when you will find time this week to grade papers, choose one day a week that will always be your grading day. And stick to it.
I break down the process in this quick video.
3. Follow an Email Routine
If you aren’t careful, you will spend all your time in your email inbox. Here’s a few tips:
- Only check your email three times a day- before school, during conference, and after school
- Ideally, set a 10 minute timer when you do that (love this timer!)
- Follow the tips shared in this podcast episode for organizing all your emails (the goal is to keep your inbox with <10 emails at a time)
- Join the free mini course “Working from Home: Teacher’s Edition” for the lesson on how to clean out your inbox
4. Create Intentional To-Do Lists
Okay, okay, I know “intentional” is a buzz word…My husband hates when I use it and I cringe every time I type it cause I know he’d be rolling his eyes LOL.
But for real, an intentional to-do list will save you SO much time.
Normally we think of to-do lists as brain dumps. We write down everything we need to do on one list and pressure ourselves to get everything crossed off.
The problem is, not everything that goes on that list needs to be done that day or even that week.
Inside this free training I show you how to create intentional to-do lists.
(Fun fact, before I implemented this structure to my weekly planning, I never completed my to-do lists and the “Sunday Scaries” set in on Saturday night. After implementing this process, my to-do list is always at least 90% done by Friday AND no more “Sunday Scaries”
5. Give Students Numbers
I hope you are already doing this, but if not, start now! It’s a huge time saver and resource saver.
After a week you have students’ numbers memorized so it doesn’t take any extra time to look up their number.
I love using student numbers for the following tasks:
- returning papers to students inside their mailboxes
- assigning classroom jobs
- organizing missing work
Plus, the numbers allow you to reuse your classroom mailbox system each year without having to recreate folders or name tags for students.
6. Have an AM and PM Routine
You need routines for everything– at school and at home! Here are some examples of routines you can use before and after school
- Enter the classroom and turn on lights (all the better if you have lamps versus the overhead lights!)
- Quickly review your lesson plans for the day and ensure you have all materials ready to go (Here is a short video on how I organized my teaching materials for each week.)
- Check email and delete any emails that have been taken care of. (Keep that inbox organized as well!!! Digital clutter is just as stressful!)
- Students should have done most of the picking up, but take 10-15 minutes (set a timer!) to pick up and put away anything out. This creates a clear workspace (literally and mentally) for the afternoon.
- Set a timer for 5-10 minutes to take any notes from the day (either student documentation or journaling, if that’s your jam!)
- Review your Master To Do List and prioritize what needs to be done and do it (and if you haven’t caught on yet…set a timer!)
- Before walking out of your classroom, clear your desk and push in your chair. This way when you walk in tomorrow morning, you have a clean, organized, and peaceful space to walk into!
7. Time Everything
One of the biggest lessons I learned in my first year of teaching was how important it is to set time limits and stick to them!
I LOVE this timer for teachers and students alike!
The holding students accountable part is really hard. But it’s also really important.
During my first year my students learned really quickly that even though I said “thirty minutes to finish this activity,” they could talk and play and goof off and since the whole class was behind, I would extend the time.
This didn’t work when I was sharing students with another teacher. We had a schedule and I had to stick to it.
Students will push the boundaries as far as they can so be sure to set firm boundaries and stick to them.
Learn the Essentials for an Organized Classroom
Inside the Classroom Organization Master Class I teach you the six must-haves for creating an organized classroom.
Really, saving time at school and spending less time working comes down to have an organized classroom (physically, classroom management, routines, and structures are all part of this).
Enroll in the Classroom Organization Master Class and learn the six must-haves and how to implement them.
If you want to spend less time at school and not work so much then you need to implement some of these time saving tips for teachers. Here’s a quick recap of the tips I shared:
- Use a lesson planning format (here’s mine)
- Batch your days
- Use an email routine (listen to a podcast on this)
- Create intentional to-do lists (sign up for the free training)
- Give students numbers
- Use an AM and PM routine
- Time everything (love this timer here!)
Here is a quick recap of all the links shared in this post:
- Why Self-Care is Important and What Happens When We Neglect It
- My Lesson Planning Workflow
- How to Organize Lesson Plan Materials
- Setting Boundaries as a Teacher
- Enroll in the Classroom Organization Master Class
- Get the free Intentional To-Do List Training
- Working from Home: Teacher’s Edition free mini-course
Until next time,
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