Let’s face it: Everyone could use more time in their day, and with an average of 47 hours per week spent working, teachers could use more than most. That’s why we’ve put together this list of seven time-saving tips for teachers, plus a few useful promotional items.
Speaking of time-saving, enough with the intro: Let’s go!
Tip #1: Organize your desk(s)
- Germs and bacteria from gathering, saving you sick time off work.
- Forgotten papers that either cause a delay or force you to return to work to get grading done on time.
- Lost time and money from having to repurchase misplaced office supplies or another important object.
Tip #2: Touch every paper once
If a document can be dealt with in less than two minutes, file it, read it or recycle it. By not allowing papers to pile up, you avoid creating a mess or losing something you know you’re going to need.
Tip #3: Create reusable templates
Lesson plans. Quizzes. Permission slips. Release forms. Instead of building each one from scratch or opening an old (and possibly outdated) version, making some changes and hoping you didn’t include information from the previous form, create blank versions of every form with easy-to-fill placeholders.
After that, every new form just needs a quick “File,” “Save As.”.
Tip #4: Don’t build lessons from scratch
If you have a math, reading, music or literally any other lesson coming up, there’s a strong chance that a) someone has taught the same lesson, and b) they’ve put the lesson online.
Alternately, it’s very possible someone in your own school building, or another colleague, has performed a similar lesson.
Before you start building a new unit, head to the search engine of your choice or get in touch with a colleague to see if something perfect has already been created and can simply be tweaked to meet your needs.
Tip #5: Organize units for easy access
Last year you created the perfect set of lesson plans: projects, discussion topics, writing assignments and quizzes that guided your students through the material and kept them engaged from the first day to the last.
Tip #6: Maximize photocopy efficiency
Whether you’re duplicating coloring sheets or a college course syllabus, it’s all too easy to leave copying to the last minute, whether it’s on a daily or hourly basis. That means time is spent locating the needed materials, getting to the copier and heading back to your classroom.
Cut copy time by picking a day and copying every item you’ll need for the next week. Be sure to run off a couple of extra copies in case a student misplaces theirs. Not only will you save yourself travel time, but you’ll also reduce “Am I ready for this lesson?” worries. You can also keep digital formats of your files that can be easily emailed to each student.
Tip #7: Accept imperfection
Spending too much time updating your classroom décor every month? Devoting hours hunting for errors in your syllabus? It may be time to step away and take a break.
While every teacher would love every “i” dotted, every “t” crossed, and every decoration worthy of a social media post, at the end of the day (and the semester) what students need is a thoughtful, accepting educator who isn’t stressing themselves out, burning the midnight oil to achieve perfection.
Bonus tip: Improve your classroom with student involvement, whether it’s by having your students help redecorate your class at the end of the semester or offering extra credit for locating typos in your assignments.
Time can be on your side
The true benefit of time-saving tips for teachers is the chance to spend more of your remaining time helping your students learn. And that’s a true win for everyone.