Life in general is difficult right now, to say the least. As lecturers progress throughout their career, there are a few simple hacks they pick up along the way to make life a little easier. Whether you’re an NQT or a veteran, some of these tips and tricks may just help to take the edge off a busy teaching schedule.
Don’t leave work without your next day planned and prepped for. If you know what you’re doing tomorrow, you won’t get home and worry about that half-finished lesson plan or having to get in half an hour earlier just to nab a spot at the photocopier. Instead, you can tick that off your to-do list and focus on that well-needed coffee run in the morning.
Join a Teaching Group
Join a Facebook / Twitter group for inspiration and support. The teaching community always love to help and share what they can. You may be stuck on how to make a certain lesson exciting, but someone out there will have the solution.
When printing card sorts, choose different coloured papers. It just makes it easier to organise when you cut them out!
End on a Positive Note
Make a positive phone call to a parent or guardian on a Friday afternoon. Lecturers often dread making a call home because 9 times out of 10 it’ll be about something neither of you want to hear. Think of something a student has done that week that really impressed you or deserved recognition and share it. That way you and someone else can start the weekend feeling good about school.
Prepare your Marking
A simple trick, but effective. Open all the books to the piece of work you want to mark. This’ll save you valuable time by not having to leaf through every single page.
Stick to your Schedule
Plan when you’re going to mark and make sure you do it then. If you’ve specifically carved out time to do it that week, then stick to it. The marking won’t go away and then you’ll end up with another load to get through!
Easier said than done sometimes, right? To-do lists can be a real-life saver when it comes to keeping track of tasks. Find and use a system that works for you because everyone is different. I’ve mentioned the Eisenhower method in my PGCE Survival Guide and Surviving the First Term, but there are apps out there such as Trello (digital post-its that you can organise) that can help keep things manageable. Organise your lists based on importance, energy needed and priority in a way that works for you. If you don’t like digital, get a desk pad. Paperchase have a great selection…
About the author
After completing a BA in Creative Writing and a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester, Tammy worked as a Learning Support Assistant, with a focus on helping students develop their literacy skills. She then taught as an English teacher at an all-boys comprehensive school in Berkshire. Now she has turned her sights to a career in writing, with education at the heart of it.