Time Management: Insights and Tips for Classroom Educators

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Mar 28, 2019

How effective time management in classroom teaching will help you thrive.

Wendy Wendover, Dean of Education at CCU Online

Are you tired of feeling like you do not have enough time to do the important things in your life?  Most of us reach moments when we have felt overwhelmed. Sometimes that relates to our personal life, and sometimes we feel this way about our work life. Of course there may be times we feel out of control in both areas of our life.

Interestingly, much of our management of time is ruled by habits that we have developed over years, and that we are likely not fully aware of. So we must take stock of these habits, and reflect on using habits that support the important things in our life.

Most of us recognize that we have “peak periods” when our focus is greater or sharper and when we can place our most challenging tasks during a peak period we can get more done. We also might need to admit that we experience “time leaks,” such as social media, binge watching, or constantly checking our texts. Given that some necessary tasks are not on our rewards list, like required reading or grading, we can keep an eye on the overall goal that is desired.

Productivity is not the same as activity. Our goal here is to productively meet priorities, not just remain busy moving in the right direction. To do this, we can divide all tasks into four quadrants based on what is urgent and what is important:

  • Quadrant 1 (Urgent and Important)
  • Quadrant 2 (Not Urgent, but Important)
  • Quadrant 3 (Urgent but Not Important)
  • Quadrant 4 (Not Urgent and Not Important)

Often urgent tasks are addressed first, but keep in mind that important tasks are usually not the most urgent! Our hope is to deal with the most important tasks on a daily basis.

Stress and fatigue may lead us to procrastinate. Practically speaking, we must revisit or establish priorities to streamline decisions to take efficient steps in the right direction daily. Organizing space and eliminating clutter instead of “shuffling papers” will help. Each week a teacher must order/process an enormous influx of forms, assignments, and lesson materials that are a part of weekly responsibilities in order to meet deadlines over a semester and over a school year. Your current habits guide you each day in this organization. If you experience “hunting for paperwork needed” entertain reading “The Organized Teacher” by Molly Schaaf. Chapter 11 is a gold mine of strategies and helpful suggestions. The author offers practical advice about the use of of guiding the use of space in your classroom and home office. She also suggests strategies for managing files, emails, calls, and calendars to avoid over committing. Finally there are excellent supports for managing an effective classroom.

As educators become more accountable for student success, taking advantage of every minute of class time becomes crucial. Efficient use of class time will help student performance, and perhaps more importantly it will decrease teacher stress over time.

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