Updated: Jan 28, 2022
Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding professions, but it can also be one of the most stressful. Between lesson planning, grading papers, meetings with parents, and more, teachers are constantly under immense pressure.
Learn how to manage your time as a teacher by following these eight tips that will help you deal with stress.
If asked what the most challenging aspect of being a teacher is, most individuals would probably say classroom management or keeping students on task in the classroom. However, in my experience, the thing I have struggled with throughout my career is managing my time.
As a busy teacher in a demanding profession that requires you to be on call at essentially all times of the day or night, it can sometimes feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be completed.
As a teacher, time management is essential. Not only do you need to meet the demands of your students, but you also must balance the needs of your family, home life, and career.
While there may never be a 100% stress-free job, teachers can lessen their stress in this rewarding but stressful profession by following these time management tips.
1. Don't just manage your time, schedule it
You lead a busy life as a teacher, with many responsibilities to take care of. It is important to make a schedule of things that need to be done.
You might need to manage various tasks, such as paying bills, teaching students, preparing lesson plans and attending meetings. When you have a busy schedule, it helps to know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.
Before anything else, make a plan that includes all the responsibilities you have as a teacher. Then all that is left for you is to follow the plan and do what you can to meet all your objectives in time.
It is a great idea to make a schedule of all the things that need to be done, and try your best to stick to it. This will help you get your work done more efficiently and with less stress.
Here are a couple of tips for scheduling your time as a teacher:
Have a daily routine
It is important to have a routine that you follow every day. This routine should include activities from all areas of your life — from work, studying, exercise, etc. Creating a daily routine will ensure that you have everything done in time, and won't run around trying to do all the things at the last minute.
A few examples of daily routines could be:
going to bed at a certain time every night;
waking up early enough so that you have enough time for breakfast, reading, or meditation;
spending 30 minutes working out after breakfast;
taking a shower and getting dressed before starting your day;
Once you finish your daily routine, the next step is prioritizing tasks for the day based on importance and urgency. Start from those things that are urgent but not important, to those that are important but not urgent. It's better to go through these things first thing in the morning instead of leaving them for later in the day.
2. Have a plan for every day and stick to it
If you have a plan for every day, then you will have a schedule that works. You will know what to do at all times. You can do this in two ways: either with a calendar or with a to-do list. Having a calendar is good because it allows you to plan ahead and see your schedule in one place.
However, having a to-do list is also great when it comes to managing time as a teacher because when the day comes, the list can be in front of you and you will know exactly what you need to do and when.
This way, at the end of your day, you will feel you've accomplished something, and that is very important when it comes to managing time as a teacher.
When we manage our time, we accomplish more, we feel better about ourselves, and we reduce our stress levels. The reason behind this is that if there is something that needs to be done and we don't do it, we feel guilty about it and thinking about the tasks we haven't done stresses us out until we get them done.
However, if we manage our time and get the most important things done every day, then we won't feel stressed out and guilty about not being more productive.
3. Plan ahead and get ready for lessons or meetings you have
Managing your time as a teacher can be one of the most challenging parts of your job. You are given a set number of hours to teach, but if you take into consideration lesson preparation, correcting student work, and grading papers, you may feel that you never have enough time for everything that needs to be done.
If you are not organized, then you might find it difficult to manage your time as a teacher. One way to ensure that you are taking care of all of your tasks is to use a daily planner. A planner will help you stay on top of your deadlines and complete your work in a timely manner.
You can keep track of things like lesson plans, due dates for projects, exams, parent-teacher conferences, staff meetings, etc. Your daily planner should also include some downtime for yourself and your family.
Planning ahead is one of the best ways to manage your time and ensure that all of your deadlines and responsibilities are met in a timely fashion. If you plan out each day's schedule beforehand, then there will be no surprises or unexpected changes that throw off your schedule later on.
4. Break up larger tasks into manageable chunks of time
Time management is a major challenge for busy teachers. It's hard to stay on top of grading papers, lesson planning, meetings, assessments and everything else that goes into being an effective educator. As a teacher, you are often working with fixed deadlines.
One of the most important aspects of time management is breaking down colossal tasks into smaller ones. Many people have trouble accomplishing enormous tasks because they feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
They get lost in the details and can't seem to get started. This is especially true if the task seems rather abstract. So it's helpful to break down your larger projects into smaller, more manageable chunks.
For example, think of how an author approaches writing a book. Writing a book may seem like an overwhelming goal when you're just sitting down to do it. Instead, break it down into small parts. Start by just writing one chapter at a time. Then move on to the next one when you've finished the first one.
If you take this approach with your larger tasks, you'll find that they are much more manageable and less stressful overall. The key is breaking down your project into manageable chunks so you can get started immediately and stay motivated until you have completed your task.
5. Get help from others when you need it
A big part of managing your time is becoming more efficient. Learn to do things quickly and well so you can move on to other tasks. But there's another part of time management that's even more important — you need to know when it's okay to ask others for help. Without the support of others, you'll never be able to achieve everything that needs doing.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the hectic nature of your job, there are ways to simplify your tasks and take on less responsibility, like delegating tasks. You can delegate certain jobs to other members of your class and team. This will allow you to focus more time on those areas where you excel.
A lot of teachers feel like they need to do everything themselves. While it's true that teachers should be responsible and accountable for their actions, not all situations require you to be the hero.
6. Don't let people waste your time or distract you from important tasks
When trying to do something that requires a lot of focus, then it’s important not to let anyone or anything distract you from that task. In order to accomplish important work, shut out distraction and focus on the task at hand.
In a world of constant distractions, it’s important that you don’t let people waste your time. You should focus on your top priority tasks and try to get them done as soon as possible.
Protect your time and focus on the important tasks at hand. You can't do that if you're constantly getting distracted. To avoid distractions, turn off notifications on your phone, close your email.
7. Use your free time wisely, but take a break occasionally
Time management is the most important skill for teachers to develop in all their years of teaching. As a teacher, many distractions will surround you. It is easy to get caught up in the daily tasks at work and forget about your personal achievements. You need to know that there are other things that are more important than just your job.
For example, you need time to hone your skills in teaching and develop yourself as a professional in education. You can always make use of your time after work or on weekends when you don't have school duties.
Ensure that you set aside enough time for your personal growth. If you want to become an expert in your chosen field, enroll in some online courses about teaching. Since you are already working in the education sector, it is easier for you to find classes that suit your busy schedule.
Taking these courses will help you gain knowledge about the latest techniques for teaching students of various backgrounds.
There are also online classes available for building good classroom management strategies. These lessons will teach you how to deal with the unique personalities of each student without losing your patience or getting upset. This way, you will become a better teacher for the students entrusted to your care.
8. Stay healthy to avoid fatigue and stress in the classroom
Most teachers, at some point in their careers, suffer from fatigue. It's not uncommon. The hours are long, the work is demanding, and stress levels can be high. Working a full day in a classroom setting is a physically and mentally draining job.
For teachers, getting adequate rest and maintaining their health is key to avoiding fatigue.
How do you know if you're suffering from fatigue? Some physical signs to look for include your energy level, mood, and overall health.
Are you showing up for work still tired from the previous day?
Are you sleeping well at night?
Are you having trouble motivating yourself?
If so, it might be time to make some changes.
Fatigue can make even simple tasks difficult and cause stress and frustration throughout the day. Here are some tips that can help:
Get plenty of rest
Teachers need sleep just like everyone else. Get between seven and nine hours each night to avoid feeling fatigued. Be sure to get up at the same time each morning so your body stays on a consistent sleep schedule. This will allow your mind and body to recharge and stay healthy during the school day.
Physical exercise will help keep you healthy and energized during the school day. Make sure you take time for yourself during the week; weightlifting, running or other moderate exercises can help relieve stress and allow you to focus on your work as well as your students.
Take care of your mental health as well as physical health
Maintain a healthy social life outside of work as this will help create a positive environment in which to teach and help prevent burnout. Take time for yourself. When you feel stressed out, take five minutes for yourself. Go for a walk, have a cup of tea, or do something else that helps you relax and refocus.
What works best for your situation?
There are tens of thousands of teachers who find ways to cope with the stress inherent in their careers. You, too, can take charge of your time and learn how to manage your time as a teacher, so you’ll be less stressed than ever before.
The tips I listed above can help, but the essential thing is to figure out what works best for you and your situation. What works for one teacher may not work for another, and that’s okay.
Your approach to time management doesn’t have to be any one specific method — it can simply be a composite of several individual techniques that collectively help you manage your time as a teacher.