One of the top compaints of educators (and really, anyone!) is: I don’t have enough time! The school day goes by so quickly, you look around and feel like nothign was accomplished. You might feel frazzled because you have so much to do, but no clear plan to tackle a seemingly never ending list. Email and socila meida is constaly demanding yoru time.
If you add up the before school time, recess and planning times and the afterschool times each day (of a classroom teacher NOT the art teacher- FYI) it equals to be one whole school day, about 7 hours) of time you have each week to prepare for kids. So basically they get one day for every 5 to get ready. Not to shabby.
It’s not the time you have, it’s how you use it
ART TEACHER TIMESAVERS
1. Use planning time wisely: We all covet the special time in the day we get to prep for our kiddos. Are you using this time wisely? One tip I have for you is to prioritize your time with lists. For example, take out 4 sticky notes and think of everything you need to do this week or this day. On each note you write at the top 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes. Then, on each list write down the tasks you have according to how long they might take you. Then, when you get an extra 2 minutes, you can choose something from the list. I also set timers for myself at home and at work. I like a challenge. Set the timer for 10 minutes and see how much I can accomplish. It’s fun and it works for many things.
2. Check Emails at Home: This one might tip the scale of the work/home balance for you all, however, it helps you with tip #1. How? Well, when you spend the time to check your email at home, since the internet is accessable anywhere (I have mine on my phone) shame,I know, you save your precious school time from the deep depths of the email time suck. Nothing feels worse than pulling into work with 15 unread emails. Sends a panic down my spine. So, I check it at home and then can simply glance over my email throughout the day at the good stuff and focus my time elsewhere, like cutting paper, or prepping clay, planning lessons or emptying the drying rack!
3. Ask for Help: This is a tough one. Once day, a retired art teacher in our district emailed all of the art teachers and asked if they needed help. She said she was ready to give back. Guess who was one of the few people who emailed her back and said “Yes”? ME! Are you people crazy? To have a responsible adult, one who was an art teacher and knows how the art room works, who will actually show up when she says she will is RARE. Take advantage of good help or ask for it if you know some parents. People always want to help teachers, but we need to be in the driver’s seat.
4. Designated Days for Tasks: I designated “Grading Day” as Tuesday. Any free time I get on Tuesday I try to devote to grading artwork, because this is the task I always seem to put off. This system is something that I want to solidify for the new year, however, I really like the concept. I’ll let you know how it goes.
5. Take half your lunch: Many of us already use our lunch time for working, however, I made a rule for myself to take the 30 minutes and interact with my co-workers in the teacher’s lunch room. This act has many benefits, including a break from the chaos and builds relationships, however, when I am really pressed for time, I eat at my desk and use the other half of my lunch to do whatever task was so pressing. It makes my afternoon go great to know I used my time wisely and still took half of my lunch to sit down and just chill.
Why The Trouble?
Why on earth would I take all of this effort to save time during my school day? 3:40. Yes, the magic time. My goal every day is to leave at our contract time, which is 3:40, without sacrificing the quality of my work. I want that work/home balance. I want to run errands, cook nice meals for my family, and have, well… a life. I want time to hang out with my husband, watch The Bachelor, blog, and exercise (which happens in the morning). I can’t do all of this if I am staying at school until 5 or 6 every night. I just can’t. So I have made sacrifices and it has worked well for me. As you can all see, I am pretty serious about my career. I am the art department facilitator in our district. I teach at two schools and I also have this blog, but with time management I can manage it all and and stay happy and healthy on most days.
By staying organized I win!
Peer Pressure- Lets get the ultimate list going for our fellow teachers..Comment Away!
What are ways you save time during your work day?