The Efficient Teacher : General Time-Efficiency Tips

Teaching is exhausting. Teachers need more hours in the day to accomplish all the things. However, since we don’t get any extra hours, we have to maximize the time we do have. Being an efficient teacher is a learned skill. It takes intentionality and practice. Try a few of these time-efficiency tips and you will find yourself with more accomplished and less stress.

Use your downtime.

When in the car-rider pickup line, while sitting on the sidelines waiting for kids’ games to start, while waiting for grocery pickup, when on duty (and when it’s safe to do so)…get a task done. Be intentional about what you are going to accomplish beforehand and bring necessary items. Use your phone to write an email you have been dreading. Take a clip board and grade one stack of papers. Record one stack of graded papers into the gradebook. Write three notes to students or parents or teachers. Shop TpT for an activity for next week to save your future self time creating one.

Use services that make you more efficient.

If you hate shopping or don’t have time, try a service like Stitch Fix. You create a profile about your clothing style, your size (and you can add notes), your preferences, etc. and they have a stylist shop for you and send it in the mail. You get a hefty discount if you keep all items, but if there is anything you don’t like, they provide a paid return/exchange bag. There is no hassle. I love it and it saves me time having to shop in person or even online.

Use a meal-delivery service such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. Meal planning and prep takes time and means making more decisions. I get decision fatigue and the question I hate most after a long day of teaching is, “What’s for dinner?” A service that sends you meals that are already planned saves you from making another decision and it’s easy and quick to prepare.

Have you tried grocery pickup or delivery? We have not moved to delivery yet, but it’s available. I currently use Wal-Mart grocery pickup. I “shop” throughout the week by adding things to my cart as I think of them or notice we need something. Then, I select the time slot to pick up after we leave church each week, we swing by and quickly grab the groceries, and are done for the week. It saves time wandering the aisles and purchasing food I don’t need because I impulse buy when I see it. 🙂

Do you have makeup in your drawer from several years ago? I do! Get some fresh beauty products with a subscription like Ipsy or Birch Box. Instead of a special trip to Ulta or Sephora, let the service help you out!

Lastly, save time driving to the gym and subscribe to a home workout. Try a Peloton, NordicTrack, or the Mirror for a daily workout with equipment and  coaching from home. Another home workout plan I highly recommend is B•TRIBAL•FIT. It’s a fun workout video subscription for busy women! 

Set up for the next day before you leave.

Sometimes, mornings are hectic. Sometimes, we run late. Lessen the stress of rushing to school to prepare something that must be done before school begins. Take a few minutes before you leave each afternoon or during your planning period to make copies, lay out supplies, or arrange furniture. Your morning self will thank you.

Grade in Real Time.

As students are doing their bell work or an assignment, walk around and take a grade on a previously completed assignment. Perhaps you take an effort grade or select one or two problems to grade for accuracy. It is an easy way to assess their work and quickly give feedback. 

On the note of grading, please do not feel like you have to take a grade on every assignment. Assignments are for practice, for students to work on a skill during the process toward mastery. Students don’t need to get dinged for every mistake they make along the way. This is one reason I do not have a problem giving an effort grade. Students need to be reminded of this idea frequently, though. They will need a mindset shift. Some of them have been trained to get a grade on everything, so they think the goal is the grade…not the learning. The learning should be the emphasis and the goal. So, if they complete a practice assignment and you do not take a grade on it- it’s okay. Remind them: the goal was to learn and those that completed the meaningful assignment accomplished that.

Speed Up Your Videos

With so much of our professional development done by video, save time by using a browser extension that will speed up the videos. I use Video Speed Controller and I like that it gives me small increments by which I can increase the speed. (Instead of just 2x faster, you can do 1.2x or 1.5x, etc.) Let’s just say this is a game changer!

More Tips to be Time-Efficient

Learn to say no. If you don’t have a plan for how you will effectively add an extra thing to your life, do not volunteer to take it on.

Batching. Batch similar tasks into one sitting. Your brain will remain focused without continually switching gears, which will save you time and brain energy.

Keep your desk clean. A few minutes spent tidying up will save you time looking for things.

Looking for more ways to make your life more efficient? Here are a few posts you may like:

Want a printable list to keep these ideas front of mind? Get one here or click below and start your journey to being more time-efficient! 



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