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Effective Time Management for Teachers

By Kim Marshall, TIE columnist

This piece is reprinted from The Marshall Memo, Kim Marshall’s weekly summary of current research and best practices in the field of education. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, consultant, and writer, Kim Marshall lightens the load of busy educators by serving as their “designated reader.”
In this Edutopia article, consultant Maia Heyck-Merlin (author of The Together Teacher, Jossey-Bass, 2012) suggests seven steps to help teachers organize their lives for success – and keep their sanity:
Select a tool to plan the week. Whatever worksheet you use – a handwritten template, a typed-in template, or a digital platform – the key is putting all time commitments and to-dos in one place so they can be viewed together.
Plan the next week before the weekend. On Thursday or Friday, spend 30-45 minutes sorting the week’s accumulated sticky notes, student work, office memos, and other stuff into piles – short-term to-dos, long-term items, meeting follow-ups, etc. – and fill out your planning template for the following week. The goal is to have next week’s worksheet totally ready by Friday afternoon so as to maximize weekend R&R.
Set priorities for the week. These should include big-picture classroom and personal goals – boosting student attendance, improving class culture, getting students reinvested in Big Goals for math, finalizing plans for the big field trip, planning a baby shower.
List out all your meetings and appointments. Heyck-Merlin recommends keeping one master calendar for your personal and professional lives to avoid “collisions” – items like grade-level meetings, report card nights, staff retreats, doctor’s appointments, your brother’s birthday.
Decide how you will use discretionary time. Your sanity is definitely improved by getting the most out of prep periods, lunch, before- and after-school time, etc. – and that requires deliberate planning.
Allow flexibility for the “hallway ambush.” There will always be unexpected requests and crises, and Heyck-Merlin recommends carrying your master calendar/list at all times (on a clipboard, in your pocket, or in a device) to make instant revisions when the unexpected happens.
Review and adjust daily. “Things change,” she concludes. “Life happens. At the end of every school day, sit down for five minutes and cross off what you’ve accomplished, roll over what didn’t happen to another time slot, or decide to delete something you had intended to do.”
“7-Step Prep Make a Weekly Plan for YOU!” by Maia Heyck-Merlin in Edutopia, August 1, 2014,

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