While there are some things that you can’t change, such as parents that like to complain, there are ways to manage your workload better. It’s easy for a Teacher to feel overwhelmed. It happens often, like every Monday at the beginning of a school week. It doesn’t matter if you teach elementary, high school, or college, an educator is constantly feeling stressed. Here are five tips from a veteran educator that will help you manage your workload better than ever before.
Not Everything Needs a Grade
When I was just starting out in my teaching career, I was doing so much grading that it was a bit over the top. Every assignment ended with a Grade in the electronic grade book. And when you have a class of 25 students, grading each paper takes a very long time.
It was my second year as an educator that I finally wised up and started to manage workload smarter. A fellow teacher and I were discussing grading and he explained his routine. While he handed out numerous assignments every week, he only basically took one or two grades for each subject area. The assignments that he gave the students that he didn’t fully grade just had a checkmark at the top of the page letting the students know that he looked it over. Now on average during a 9 week grading period, I usually have about 15 grades per subject and they are all from quizzes, tests, or major assignments.
During my fifth year of teaching, the administrators came to us with what they believed was a great idea. Of course, all administrators believe they are constantly having great ideas, but this one was actually good for managing workload. They offered up the plan to do a type of co-teaching with another teacher from the same grade level. So for two whole classrooms, I would teach them all only Reading, Spelling, and Math. The other teacher would then teach Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts.
While we still spent the same amount of time teaching everyday with our schedule, our preparation time that we needed had gone down considerably. There is a big difference making out lesson plans everyday for three classes compared to six. We continued this routine for a whole school year and then administrators made co-teaching voluntary instead of mandatory. Almost all of the teachers continued co-teaching when given the choice.
Do You Have Help?
There are a few lucky teachers in various districts out there that have a teacher’s aide in the classroom. With schools running out of funds, the teacher’s aide is becoming a rare commodity. If you do have an aide, put them in charge of things that are time consuming like creating new bulletin boards and doing lunch counts. I know there are teachers that obsess about their bulletin boards being perfect, but if it comes down to getting out of school on time compared to 5pm, the decision should be a no-brainer.
Use a Couple of Your Best Students
We all have those one or two students in every class that is head and shoulders above the rest. No matter the assignment, they finish 15 minutes before everyone else. As long as they are acing these subjects, put these geniuses to work. Grade their paper instantly and if they receive an A, let them do a bit of the grading. My students used to love doing this and they would actually study more to try to receive the honors of guest grader. Of course, the things that I had them grade were always fill in the blank, spelling tests, or something similar. I would never have them grade essays or anything they couldn’t use an answer sheet for.
Be Selective with Meetings
If you are really crunched for time and finding difficult to manage workload, don’t feel too bad if you skip a Meeting now and then. If you have been teaching for any length of time, you realize there are meetings called constantly for the teaching staff. Some of them are optional and some of them are mandatory. Besides grade level meetings which happened at least once a week, most of these meeting of the minds are not all that important. I always ask myself if I skip the meeting entirely, does anyone even notice. When I am in these meetings, I am aware of the fellow teachers that leave the meeting early and have to do the walk of shame in front of everyone, but those that don’t show up at all are forgotten.
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