It shouldn’t come as any surprise that teachers are low on time – from planning lessons to grading homework, it’s hard to get everything done that’s required to move your classes forward.
In this list, we look at 9 time saving tips for teachers to help you plan your lessons and manage your classroom. The best part is that many of these tips are one-time tasks that you can tap into again and again when you need to create some time in your schedule.
Share and Ask for Worksheets from Your Fellow English Teachers
Many of your fellow English teachers will likely have a whole stock of resources and materials for you to use in the event of Armageddon. It’s just natural that we English teachers are pack rats and hoarders. So make sure you go to that next Thanksgiving party that they’re holding at the local recreation center and be sure to ask your fellow teachers for some worksheets on punctuation – you won’t be disappointed.
On the flip side – don’t hesitate to share yours if a colleague asks – after all, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Outsource PowerPoint Making
PowerPoint making can be incredibly tedious. Fortunately, there are many websites that you can use to hire other people to make the Powerpoints for you, assuming that the power points aren’t already available from your school’s textbook.
I’d start by looking at Fiverr where prices start at $5 (get it?) and also consider Upwork if you’re willing to up your budget. Remember – a lot of these can be reused and repurposed so think of the prices as investment, not something you will spend over and over again.
Teach from the Textbook
Need I say more? I mean, that’s why the textbook is in the class, to begin with, isn’t it? Textbooks come with all sorts of goodies – they likely have all that you need including downloadable files that you can get on their local website as well as worksheets for you to copy.
If you think about it, textbooks are businesses in themselves and can be revised and edited one year after the next, providing even subsidiary businesses within the textbook to create a massive ecosystem of passive income for all but yourself. Why make life stressful? Just use their activities – they’re there for a reason and can save you a ton of time (and sanity).
Repeat Your Lessons
Let’s face it, sometimes students won’t understand the first time around. So it behooves you to repeat your lessons over and over again until the students fully grasp what you’re saying. sometimes this means repeating entire lessons, although be careful because your students will claim they know less than they actually do. I used to play the same game when I was in high school, faking that I didn’t know more than I did so that we wouldn’t progress forward.
Review Your Lessons
It’s never a bad idea to summarize all that was stated during the entire lesson. I find that when teachers are left to their own devices, they seldom do this practice even if it means they would save an extra 10 to 20 minutes in their classroom time.
What makes this even better is if you get the students to repeat the lessons so that they can demonstrate that they’ve understood everything that you said without you having to speak another word. This saves your motor skills for the next class and helps reinforce the subject.
Provide Lessons that Have been Deemed Effective by Research
There are a ton of bodies of research available online and for free when it comes to education. I have been studying, researching, and experimenting with the best pedagogical approaches to teaching language and was elated to find out that they’re all available on Google Scholar or in most libraries – for free!
A simple planning session will help make it where I don’t have to invent anything from scratch ever again!
Encourage Pair and Group work
Let’s face it, pair and group work is a great way to have the students take ownership of a subject while giving you a reprieve. Make sure to be strategic about who pairs with who or you risk turning the exercise into a social hour, but done right there is a huge upside to introducing this into your lessons (or reviews).
Recommend Books and Online Resources for Supplemental Learning
When you’re assigning homework, assign really effective resources that students can be busy with, especially if they’re gamified activities. Similar to finding lessons backed by research, a bit of prep will give you a list of resources that you can assign and leverage to not only reinforce a lesson but also help get students acquainted with using the internet for research & learning. We’ve even got a list of awesome teacher websites we’ve put together!
Companies like Khan Academy are perfect for this – they have a vast library of resources and games for both teachers and parents.
Use Machines that Grade Papers
We have scantrons and other machines that will grade tests and papers. We have entire statistical systems that will average out all of the students’ scores in a grade book. Nearly any mathematical equations that you need to do as a brick-and-mortar teacher can all be done with an automatic machine. So don’t strain your limited human faculties on something that a machine could do ten times better without your support.