In this post, I have collected some timesaving tips that I have found helpful for reducing the workload of a busy teacher.
Prepare your test with checking in mind
If you are busy and stressed, you may feel that you want to be as quick as possible when creating tests. But this can become a time consuming mistake! If you have even one ambiguous task in the test, checking and grading that will cost you hours and hours of valuable time!
Write down (and laminate, if possible) issues, you have to go through over and over again in the classroom. But don’t hang it on those on the wall, just keep them close. If they are on the wall, students will unfortunately become blind to them. But if you show them once a month or so, these notes will be burned into their memory.
Make your discipline passive
Keep students names or initials in a visible list in the classroom. If a student misbehaves, mark a warning after his name. Two or three warning marks lead to consequences. This way, you don’t have to interrupt your teaching. Students often point the warning out to the misbehaving pupil.
Use self-grading tests, where possible
Many people use spreadsheets for this (like Google Sheets). You can do these tests yourself or find some online.
Discard papers you don’t need
If you are unsure, get a special place for “probably useless” papers and get rid of the older ones every now and then.
Share lesson plans with your colleagues
You will get engaging variation to your lessons with less work! Nowadays, most schools have some online tools that can be used for that.
Do things as fast as possible
This may seem obvious, but if you use 15 minutes grading papers rather than getting some coffee, you may get 15 minutes more sleep the next night, and you won’t even need that much coffee the next day! And the time saving pattern is ready.
Track your schedule once
If your teaching work is consuming a tremendous amount of time, you may want to keep track for a week where your time goes. Do you spend much time chatting with your colleagues? Browsing “quickly” facebook when you should be making lesson plans? Watching television while checking tests at home.
All those classroom tasks, delegate those to students!
Emergency file for substitute teacher
This doesn’t help your everyday work, but keeping an useful file for substitute teacher can help you when needed most: when you are ill. I recommend that this would be an old-fashioned file, because it’s very likely that the substitute teacher doesn’t have the access to the school online system when the first lesson starts.
Some subjects can be very time consuming from a grading point of view. Consider creating a very simple grading system you use after each lesson. It can be like: good – moderate – not completed. You can collect them as a numbers to Excel worksheet during every lesson (during, not after!) when students are doing something creative. Zero means not done, 1 means moderate and two is for good. Remember to put 2 for every student that is absent for a legit reason. That way occasional cold won’t affect their grades. If someone is missing many classes, you may have to consider their grade otherwise, anyway. Now, at the end of the semester, you just calculate every student’s points with Excel, and there is a base for the grade or points for class activity. Then you only have to adjust / count in points from other areas, such as tests.
Hopefully these tips were helpful! For myself, the last one has been the most helpful, but maybe for you, it’s something else. Take care!
See also: Why my students dislike me?