Time allocation: A conscious choice?

As teachers, our time is in our hands

As teachers, our time is in our hands. Image: http://nosmokes.com.au/stretch-out-time/ (With thanks.)

How do we organize our times at school? Is our system effective? How would we know?

It may help to question ourselves in these two areas:

1. Do we consciously choose to allocate a specific amount of time to important, recurring, predictable tasks during the times when we don’t have an allocated activity such as teaching classes, meetings, playground duties? Do we plan how much time to spend doing ‘the other things’, and when?

– Planning  inependently?
– Planning collaboratively, and with whom, and for what purpose?
– Planning for an inclusive classroom through consideration of learning support data?
– Assessing student work and providing feedback?
– Entering grades and comments?
– Checking school emails?

The list goes on, of course. Have we tried to list the main, recurring activities that take up our time, and have we allocated them specific blocks in our calendar?

2. Do we consciously choose to allocate a specific amount of time to individual feedback in class? During our contact time with students, if we only met one-on-one with each of our students, how many minutes would we have with each child? Given that many times, we need to address groups or the whole class, how many minutes per cycle do we actually get to spend with each student, one on one? What opportunities exist in class for us to increase these most important minutes for individualized feedback? Remember that feedback has been identified as the single most impact-ful part of a teacher’s day in terms of student learning. What routines in class can we establish to increase time to give individual feedback? It may require changing/establishing these classroom routines. Time planning for this is well spent.

Save yourself, not time, because we can’t save that, but mental energy through some simple time-management.

Edudemic has 24 great tips about time-management and links to other interesting articles on the subject.

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