Thursday, May 10, 2018

Teachers: Get Your Work Done More Easily

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If you ask people who don't know much about teaching, they'll say that teachers only work for a few hours each day, and get all summer off. But, as any teacher knows, there's a lot more work to do when you're not actually in your classroom. Teachers spend time preparing lessons, grading and planning work, and attending meetings and training sessions. Though they might only be in front of students for a few hours each day, there is literally always work that can be done. In fact, the workload can get overwhelming and require tons of extra (unpaid) hours from your free time. If you're a teacher who is struggling under a pile of work, try these solutions to get it done more easily!

Speed Up Your Grading

Grading student work can be extremely time-consuming, whether it's a pop quiz or essays. Reducing the number of assignments you hand out is one option, and I've done it, but it isn't always the best choice. Some teachers spend too long grading papers and tests. I know I've been guilty (which is miserable when you've got hundreds of essays to grade). Long comments often aren't necessary, and you might not even need to correct obvious mistakes on some assignments- especially if it's their final draft! Give the feedback earlier in the process, when they can still make changes. Fortunately, there are ways you might be able to change your habits, so you can speed through everything more quickly. There are great tools to use like Quia, Turnitin.com, and Noredink to also help you provide formative, electronic feedback in a hurry. Some of these options even grade things for you!

Learn to Let Go

Some teachers spend an unnecessary amount of time preparing for their lessons. It's easy to get sucked in and even to become obsessed with getting things just right. I get it- I'm a perfectionist too. Although you want to do your best for your students, sometimes enough is enough, especially when this extra (unpaid) work is taking away from your life with your spouse, children, and friends. You don't need to spend half an hour searching for the perfect picture to use in your presentation or selecting the ideal font for your new worksheets. Learn when it's time to put your work aside- or even try not to take it home at all!

Source

Have the Necessary Tools at Home

Although I'd recommend trying to leave work at work, there may be times when you do need to take some of your work home. Why stay at school when you could be sat at home with a drink and some snacks? If you do have to take your work home with you, make sure you have all the tools you need to do it effectively.  I always bring my laptop and charger home with me, just in case. If things aren't submitted electronically, I stick a stack of papers in my school bag, just in case I'm in a situation where I could have gotten some easy grading done. That way I'm not kicking myself over a lost opportunity! One thing that might be helpful is to take a look at optimum.com/ to see if you can improve your internet connection. Speedier internet can remove a lot of your frustrations and help you get things done faster. It also means that if others at home are online, they won't slow you down.

Get Support from Others

Teaching is wonderful, but also so draining. It's not always easy to get the support you need. Some teachers are luckier than others when it comes to having supportive superiors and colleagues. I know I have some really amazing work friends. However, you often don't know how helpful people can be until you ask. Many are happy to help you get your work done more easily or maintain your work-life balance in any way that they can. Reach out to other teachers, friends, and others to help you emotionally and mentally, or even so you can get a little physical activity in to relieve stress.

You're always going to have a lot of work to do as a teacher. That's just the nature of the game. However, you can take some steps to get your work finished more quickly, so you have more free time. Try to work hard when you work, but then also build in time for some much needed rest. I won't be doing any work this summer, and I'm so excited for that time to just unwind and recharge before doing it all again next year.

Currently,
Kelsie

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