As a new teacher there are many things you can do to more effectively manage your time and not feel overwhelmed every day. Here are five of the top areas where you can become better at managing your time.
As a high school teacher I am responsible for teaching 90 minute classes. When I am planning a lesson I always have a plan for what we will do if we finish early. This could mean starting the next section/topic, playing a review game, doing enrichment activities, etc. If something takes longer than expected don’t freak out just adjust your plans for the next day. One big issue new teachers have is getting done 10-20 minutes early and just letting students sit at their seats and talk quietly. You should always have more stuff planned than time allows. If you class is 90 minutes long you should plan for at least 120 minutes so if you get done early there is always more for your students to learn.
Keep Old Lesson Plans
In order to save time in the future and have a good idea about the pacing of a class keep your old lesson plans in an easy to use format. I like to make a table in Microsoft Word for each nine weeks that lists the date, standards covered, objectives, and what we did in class each day. When I teach the class again I have a great starting point and don’t have to wonder how long a chapter or topic usually takes to cover.
To Grade or Not to Grade
This is a big area all teachers struggle with not just new teachers. Some teachers think they have to grade every single thing their students turn in. This is ridiculous. You have to decide what you think is important enough to grade in your class. Did it measure how well a student learned a topic/standard? When students turn in some things I look at them and throw them straight in the trash can. Everything you give students to work on should have a purpose and help them but not everything needs to be graded by you. While students are working you should walk around the room to see what areas (if any) they are struggling in. This will give you a good idea on what may need to be covered again. Just because they turn it in does not mean you have to grade it. DO NOT feel bad about not grading everything students turn in.
Be willing to say no every once in a while when you are asked to do different things at school. As a new teacher you will probably be asked to do a lot of different things like coaching, serving on committees, sponsoring a club, tutoring outside of school hours, etc. While you don’t need to say no to everything you do need to learn how to say no when you feel like too much is being put on your plate.
Keep School at School as Much as Possible
Many new teachers think they need to constantly work on school stuff outside of school hours. This is not true. While you will need to work on some things at home there needs to be a line drawn between your professional life and personal life. I try to get as much planning and grading done as possible during my planning time at school. Some days I feel worn out and don’t want to but when I get finished I always feel better than if I had just relaxed and didn’t accomplish anything during my planning time. Also, make sure you always plan time for yourself to do stuff you enjoy. Many new teachers who feel burned out feel like that school is their whole life. Do fun stuff, go out with your friends, watch a movie, and relax when you are away from school. You will feel much better and refreshed when you come back to school and not dread getting up every morning.