Teachers are certainly feeling the burn of this pandemic! Life was turned upside down in more ways than one and teaching became a whole new ballgame. Teachers rose to the challenge and still met student needs. Some time saving tips for teachers during this pandemic are an absolute must! Keep reading for some tips to save some time and give yourself a break!
Sharing is Caring
Let’s start with the basic time saving tips. Do less planning! Share the planning with your fellow grade level teachers. Share resources. If you are teaching the same grade as another teacher in your building, start collaborating and save yourself some time!
No one in the building? Then, it is time to start searching TeachersPayTeachers, or finding some lessons online and tweaking them to your needs! There is no reason to reinvent the wheel when there are some exceptional lessons shared by teachers every day! If you are a fan of Facebook or Instagram, there are some excellent groups that you can join full of teachers sharing ideas and lessons daily! Talk about saving some time and lessening your stress levels!
Make it Meaningful
Start really thinking about the assignments students are doing and pare it down to what matters the most. Assign what is most beneficial and meaningful to the student learning, give yourself less to grade, and save time planning additional assignments. Make longer projects that students can add to daily. In turn, grade less. Not everything needs to be graded! That word search was fun for students, but doesn’t need to be graded by you saving lots and lots of time. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts, grade the assignments that really show mastery and even better, really think about which assignments will lead them to mastery and only assign those. Creating writing portfolios is a great way to track process and see how students are mastering writing standards without much grading.
In an uncertain time like we are in with the pandemic, a routine is everything. Set up your routine to be prepared to be in person, hybrid, or remote! This avoids unnecessary time, and energy readjusting your plan to fit the ever-changing times.
Set aside the time for grading and planning and stick to it. Prep time can easily be used for a million other things during a school day. Think about it, you walk to your mailbox, start chatting with a colleague, run to the nurse to check on that student and by the time you return, there’s no time left for grading and planning! Set your schedule and stick to it. Check your mailbox when you leave, and just send an email about your student at the nurse, saving you time! Now chatting with colleagues is super important, but try to save it for your lunch break!
To save yourself time, break down the time you have to be efficient with grading, planning, returning phone calls and emails, and try to avoid scrolling social media or online shopping (I know that is hard sometimes!) Getting all of your grading and planning done at work while you are at work, saves you time at home for friends and family hobbies!
Along with setting up the routine, comes using the available technology. Set up Google Classroom and use it daily so students know where to find assignments or resources, saving you time from handing out items or locating papers for students. One of my favorite time saving tips!
Use Remind or ClassDojo to communicate with students and parents, saving time from making phone calls or searching through emails. This streamlines everything to one place making it easier for you to save time and stress. It also keeps you prepared in case of a change to remote learning again!
This is a huge one. Being able to move to remote instruction with no notice is a reality and making sure we have access to everything we need online is vital and means digital files are the new norm, so organizing our digital files will prioritize time. Organize by using folders so online files are easily found with little time wasted. Ever name a file September instead of the content and then have a hard time finding it again? This will also save time when you forget what you named a file! No searching if it is in a file and easy to find!
Organize your email too! Putting emails into folders allows you to keep your inbox neat and orderly, but also allows you to find important emails by a click of a button. There is nothing worse than searching your email for an hour just to realize the email has been accidentally deleted! Don’t waste the time, use folders!
Take Care of Yourself!
Everything above will definitely save you time, but the truly ultimate solution to saving time during this pandemic is taking care of yourself! When you are less stressed, everything else takes less time. Go for that walk, take the yoga class, get yourself an adult coloring book, go to kickboxing or the gym, take a day off when you need it, or do what makes you happy. Living in the pandemic is challenging, especially for teachers. Take the time you need to be the best version of you. Removing stress saves your precious time.
Along with taking care of yourself, comes saying NO! Don’t join another committee. Say no to helping out with bus duty. It is in our nature to always do more and want to help, but save yourself some time and just say no. The pandemic will end eventually, and then there will be more time for yes, but for now, saying no is going to save you time.
Just remember, it is absolutely fine to take the time you need, use lessons that weren’t created from scratch, or rely on the technology available!
Unfortunately, the pandemic has made our time as teachers more precious than ever. Use some of these strategies to save time during this pandemic!