As a teacher, time management is essential both to your success and your students’ success.
Not only do you need to be able to juggle your own time effectively, but you also need to be able to help your students learn how to manage their time as well.
After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and if you’re not careful, they can quickly slip away without anything important getting done.
That’s why it’s so vital to have a good time management plan in place.
By taking the time to plan your day and schedule your activities, you can make sure that you’re making the most of your time both in the classroom and out.
And when you’re able to do that, it’s much easier to be successful in everything that you do.
In the guide below, I’ll share some of my favorite time management tips for teachers that I’ve learned after spending years in education.
1. Start your day with a plan
Before you begin each day, make sure you have a written plan for what you want to accomplish.
Personally, I recommend writing this plan at the end of the previous school day and then reviewing it in the morning before you start your day.
This way, you can hit the ground running as soon as you arrive at school and won’t waste any time getting started on your tasks.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or detailed; a simple list of the tasks you need to complete and goals for the day will suffice.
But by taking the time to think about what you need to do ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress throughout the day.
2. Use a planner for long-term structure
As a teacher, having a planner with your lesson plans, meetings, key deadlines, and important dates is essential.
This will help you stay organized and on top of everything that’s happening both in and out of the classroom.
But in addition to using your planner for daily and weekly tasks, you can also use it to plan for larger projects that are due down the road.
For example, if you know you have a big Parent-Teacher Conference coming up in a few weeks, make sure to start planning for it now.
By taking the time to do this, you can avoid scrambling at the last minute and feeling overwhelmed.
Not only that, but having a planner that outlines everything going on in your classroom can be useful if a substitute teacher has to step in at any point.
This way, they can easily follow your lesson plans and keep the students on track while you’re gone.
3. Prioritize tasks
There’s no shortage of tasks on your to-do list as a teacher.
And with so much to do, it can be tempting to try and do everything at once.
But the truth is, that’s just not possible. And when you try to take on too much at once, you end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
Instead of trying to do everything at once, focus on one task at a time, from the most important and urgent to the least.
This way, you can ensure that you’re giving each task the attention it deserves and making progress on the things that are most important.
4. Do your hardest tasks first
Speaking of prioritizing your tasks, that also usually means doing the most difficult tasks first.
I know it can be tempting to push these tasks off until later, but the truth is, they’re not going to get any easier the longer you wait.
And the longer you put them off, the more anxious and stressed you’ll feel.
So instead of procrastinating, just bite the bullet and get started.
You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel once you get them out of the way.
5. Set time limits for tasks
When you’re working on a task, it can be easy to lose track of time and end up spending much longer on it than you intended.
To avoid this, set a timer for yourself or your students and make sure you stick to it.
This will help you stay on track during the day in your classroom and ensure that you’re using your time efficiently.
6. Assign homework strategically to free up class time
When it comes to managing time in the classroom, one of the most important things experienced teachers learn is how to balance the repetition of key concepts in the classroom versus assigning homework to free up class time.
If you assign too much homework, students will feel overwhelmed and may not have enough time to complete it.
But if you don’t assign any homework, you’ll likely have to spend more time in the classroom rehashing concepts that could be better mastered at home by putting the information taught in class into practice.
The key is to find a balance between the two and assign homework strategically.
This way, you can make the most of your time in the classroom and ensure that students are mastering key concepts both at home and in school.
7. Use technology to be more efficient
These days, there are more tools for teachers than ever that can help you save time. From online gradebooks and quiz makers to lesson plan creators and digital calendars, there’s a tool out there to help with just about every aspect of your job.
And while it’s important to not get too reliant on technology, using it in moderation can definitely help you be more efficient and organized in your work.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do as a teacher, consider using some technology to help you out.
8. Set routines for each day of the week
Having a well-established routine can go a long way to helping you more effectively manage your time as a teacher.
Many teachers have found it helpful to have a specific routine or theme for each day of the week.
For instance, Mondays might be for lesson planning for the upcoming week, Wednesdays might be for grading assignments, and Fridays could be for sending emails to parents recapping the week’s events.
Or you might have a different routine for each period of the day.
Whatever you decide, having a set routine will help you use your time more efficiently and make sure you’re covering all the bases in your job.
9. Know when to say “no”
Every teacher knows how easy it can be to get sucked into doing things that are outside of your job description.
Whether it’s joining a committee, volunteering for an after-school event, or something else, there are always going to be extra things that come up that you’re expected to do.
But it’s important to know your limits and not try to do too much. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find yourself feeling overwhelmed and bogged down.
So when you’re asked to do something that’s outside of your job, really think about whether or not you have the time to commit to it and a desire to do it.
If you do, go for it!
But if you don’t, don’t be afraid to say no.
It’s better to focus on doing a few things well than to try to do too many things and end up doing all of them poorly.
10. Delegate tasks when possible
At the end of the day, the buck stops with you as a teacher for how your classroom operates, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own.
If you have an assistant or aide in your classroom, make sure to delegate tasks to them when possible.
This will free up your time so you can focus on the things that only you can do, like lesson planning and grading.
And if you don’t have an assistant or aide, see if there are any other teachers in your school who you can collaborate with.
For instance, you might be able to team up to share resources and lesson plans.
And don’t be afraid to use your students for basic tasks like passing out materials or taking attendance.
Get them involved in the running of the classroom and you’ll be surprised at how much time it can save you while also teaching them some responsibility.
11. Take advantage of downtime
There will be moments throughout the day when you have some down time, whether it’s while students are completing an assignment or during a free period.
Instead of using this time to check your personal email or surf the internet, use it to get ahead on grading or do some other task that’s been weighing on you.
This way, you can use your time more efficiently and finish your work sooner.
12. Take breaks
It can be all to easy to let teaching take over every minute of your day, but it’s important to take some time for yourself.
Make sure to schedule in some breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there.
Use this time to step away from your work and clear your head.
You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever else is on your plate.
Taking breaks can also help you avoid the dreaded teacher burnout.
13. Keep your personal life on point
As a teacher, you give your all to your students and your job.
But it’s just as important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically.
If your personal life is a mess, it will quickly start to affect your work.
So make sure you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, spending time with loved ones, and doing things that make you happy outside of work.
This will help you be your best self when you’re at school and prevent burnout.
A Final Word on Time Management Tips for Teachers
As a teacher, there are a million and one things to get done in a day. From lesson planning and classroom management to working with individual students and grading papers, the list of tasks never seems to end.
That’s why time management is so important for teachers.
By learning to use your time wisely, you can get more done in less time and have more energy left over at the end of the day.
By following these time management tips for teachers, you can take control of your time, get more done, and feel less stressed out in the process.
So what are you waiting for? Start implementing these tips today and see how much easier your days become.
Have any questions about our time management tips for teachers? Want to add your own tip? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.