Making the most of every moment: strategies for change

Efficiency Tips
There are many ways to work more efficiently and just as many websites and books offering advice. Here are a few suggestions from the readers of the TSN e-newsletter:

Making the most of every moment: strategies for change

Efficiency tips

There are many ways to work more efficiently and just as many websites and books offering advice. Here are a few suggestions from the readers of the TSN e-newsletter:

General
  • Write a list. It sounds simple, but write down everything you need to do and then prioritise.
  • I have a length of time which I stick to so that there is a routine. This way I do not get carried away with the workload and have to prioritise the most important things first. I also go in earlier - just 40 minutes extra in the morning reduces stresses of photocopying anxieties, travelling in and being generally prepared for the day.
Energy levels
  • Monitor your energy levels and work out when you are most effective. Schedule your difficult tasks for these times.
Meetings
  • Suggest you have meetings standing up. (This usually makes people stick to the point and keep things brief)
  • Suggest time limits for responses
Emails and facebook
  • If possible, check your emails and facebook once a day
Planning
  • Do the detailed plan for the following week mid week or the previous week. Then you can let colleagues know, and they might give you helpful tips!
  • Plan everything in advance, down to what you are eating for tea each night.
  • Prioritise tasks and ask for advice if it is not easily apparent to you.
  • Make sure "deadline" dates are known and agreed in advance. Try and change the ones you are not happy with giving good reasons why you need to change them.
Work-life balance
  • Don't bring work home. Do it before you leave, or early in the morning.
  • Speed up as end-of-term approaches - never think "I'll do that in the holidays"; it'll ruin your holiday and you probably won't do it, and it'll add to the pile.
  • Call a meeting with the borough union rep (your school union rep might be one of the head's friends) to discuss workload issues
Social life
  • Book salsa/keep fit/tai chi/yoga/pilates classes, foreign language classes to keep your brain active and let work know what you are doing so that they know you are creating your own space and that it is important to you.
  • Book tickets/nights out/get-togethers for every month - you need some social time to keep some semblance of normal life and keep things in perspective.

PPA (Planning, Preparation and Assessment) tips

More tips from teachers on how to manage your PPA time.

General
  • Plan ahead for doing performance management tasks, work them into your diary; work to be done with the children and writing up the evidence required. Write them onto your calendar so they don't get neglected or forgotten, leave yourself plenty of time. Spread them out over the year where possible so that you don't unnecessarily overload yourself in the final term.
  • Mark books in lesson time - that way you can talk to the pupils about their work.
  • Write reports gradually over the year so that you don't have to start from scratch in the final term.
Organisation
  • Always leave school every night with a tidy desk - try and do your marking every day so it doesn't back up. If you can't do it every day - leave your desk tidy and keep your marking in a separate place - I have a different box for each subject/year that I teach.
  • Just do it. Don't put things off so that they pile up.
  • I keep just one diary and one folder with all my important information in and carry it with me everywhere I go - and for small tasks, I have a little notebook for making lists.
  • On my desk, I have piles of work - one for each year group. However, the work that has to be done most urgently is always on top - that way, I don't forget to do anything! And ticking off lists at the end of the day makes me realise just how much I have done!
Resources for planning

The following links provide resources for planning.

BBC Resources for Teachers

TES Planning Templates

Guardian Teacher Network

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Booklets and Downloads

The information on this site is also available in other formats such as downloadable PDFs and Kindle books.

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