By now you may feel like the mountain of a job list seems to have an ever growing peak that you just can’t reach. You may feel yourself pulled in lots of directions and unsure how much further you can stretch. Teaching is a constant juggling act so how do you manage everything, do a great job and take care of yourself all the same time?
It isn’t easy and there are no quick or ultimate solutions but here are some ideas that might help.
1. Learn to let go
You can’t possibly do everything all the time. You need to know that sometimes you must stop and take a break. This is number 1 because it’s something that is so often neglected but is so crucial. If you want to be effective, efficient and happy you need to know when to stop.
When you look at your job list consider what are the 5 most important things I need to do today. Focus on those, if those 5 things are done don’t worry about the others. If you get time, great, go for it, but you need to put things in perspective and know what can wait.
3. Use your PPA time effectively
This is a tricky one, as it is very easy to get sucked back in to the classroom to deal with behavior incidents or get side tracked by less important jobs, but one way to manage your workload is to be smart about how you use your PPA time. Consider what you want to achieve in that session. If it has hasn’t got done, think about why. Maybe you need some headphones, so you’re not distracted by people talking around you? Maybe you need to stay out of the classroom, so you aren’t intervening with the cover teacher? Sometimes you may get pulled away without a choice but try to keep your PPA time for you and what you need.
4. Give your students ownership and responsibility
I know I’ve talked about student ownership as part of creating a positive classroom culture before. It can also save time and make your students more independent so it’s a win-win all round. Give pupils opportunities to complete small jobs, choose their own resources, select their own success criteria etc. Sometimes you need to take a step back and be a facilitator of children’s learning. Let them lead for a change. Obviously, there must be a balance in the classroom of how you teach and keep yourself open to different strategies, but this is one way to really make a difference.
5. Use online tools and resources
There are so many great products, services and resources out there that can save you time in the classroom. Using online assessment solutions like ReallySchool can make creating observations, monitoring progress and communicating with parents quicker, easier and more flexible.
6. Ask for help!
It’s time to let the insecurities go and ask for help when you need it. We all worry that asking for help makes us look weak, like we aren’t good at our jobs, people won’t have the time…. the list of excuses goes on and on but it’s time to stop making them. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. Share planning and resources, ask to swap book corners and role plays, ask to observe how someone manages behaviour or check out their books because you are unclear on the marking policy. Just ask.
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