National Board Certified Teacher LeAnna Wolkis provides us tips for impeccable time management. If you allow it, teaching can consume you. It’s imperative to maximize your TIME — yes, we’re going to use an acronym — so you can feel you are teaching at your peak, while having freedom to enjoy your lMay 25, 2016
National Board Certified Teacher LeAnna Wolkis provides us tips for impeccable time management.
If you allow it, teaching can consume you. It’s imperative to maximize your TIME — yes, we’re going to use an acronym — so you can feel you are teaching at your peak, while having freedom to enjoy your life outside of school. We can’t change the speed of time, so we must learn to manage it.
Transitions (T): Plan for smooth transitions between activities by having materials prepared ahead of time. Even better, allow students to take ownership and responsibility by managing those materials. Place table tools at workstations in advance, which will minimize traffic jams and erroneous trips away from the learning space. This bit of preparation will ensure students move quickly from direct instruction to guided practice because the basics are already housed at the workplace. The child who was assigned that job at the beginning of a day or week easily handles any materials that need to be passed out. All the “ones, twos, threes, and fours” according to the numbered mat on the table know their job that day or week.
Expert tip: “Betweener time” can be shortened and used for getting children ready for the next activity by doing a quick Brain Break such as Phonercise or Yoga for Kids. Commit to it: Today I’ll be engaged in joyful teaching. When in your classroom, create little “happies” for yourself and your junior learners!
I’m Done (I), Now What?: Children are not robots. They will finish their work in varying amounts of time, so how can we extend their learning? Anticipating early and late finishers, it’s important to have the next task set up. This, in turn, will further understanding in an organized and predictable manner, which will teach students how to take responsibility for their own learning. Also, teaching procedures and expectations is key to managing the different levels of ability in our kiddos. The more routines you have in place, the easier your day will be, and the more energy you will have at the end of school.
Expert tip: Using a visual — such as time management strips to teach the routines and the order of activities — help students pace themselves because they can see how many items and/or pictures they have on their segmented strip. Then, they can move their clothespin along the strip until they’ve reached the last picture on their slide.
Managing (M): Like any administrator responsible for the efforts of others, as a teacher, you will find that managing time — yours and the students' — is one of your biggest challenges. There’s research available to prove that when you write a task down, you are more likely to accomplish it, similar to making a to-do list.
Expert tip: Schedule blocks of time in your lesson plan book to ensure important instructional moments make it into your day. This will hold you accountable for what happens in your teaching day. Also, you can better track when it gets done, or if the task should be moved to a later date. Some children benefit from this management strategy as well.
Exercise (E): Yes, I said it. You have permission to take care of yourself. Remember the airplane emergency rule: When the emergency air tube drops from the ceiling of the plane, you are instructed to put the oxygen mask on your face first! You need to take care of yourself, before you become incapacitated and unable to help anyone else … even your own children! Feeling energized from exercise, brain breaks, or meditation when tackling your schoolwork will make you that much more productive in less time than it takes to complete your planning and preparation.
Expert tip: A simple chair workout can be made very easy or fairly difficult, with just the tweaking of a few simple details. It targets all major muscle groups and is almost literally impact free. A video like the “Workout at Work: 32-Minute Chair Workout Video” can be done around any busy school schedule. Start with just a few minutes and gradually add time, when possible. You won’t need much more than a chair, and perhaps, you can convince a few colleagues to join you. There’s nothing better than getting others to join you on your journey to wellness. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances wellbeing through the release of endorphins. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.
Loving these tips? Join LeAnna Wolkis for two events at the Arizona K12 Center this year: Time Management: How to Get the Most Out of Your Day and Fun and Engaging Best Practices for Teaching and Learning with Music and Movement. Don’t miss out on the fun — register now!