Streamlining teacher work means finding (more) efficient ways to manage tasks, improve productivity, and enhance the teaching experience. Here are strategies to achieve this from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew:
5 Ways for Teachers to Streamline Their Workload
It’s not easy being a teacher considering the amount of work you deal with every day. On the surface, you prepare lesson plans and determine the series of activities you will give for your next class. Underneath it all, there’s the overbearing workload that consists of endless paperwork and ad hoc responsibilities during on-campus events.
For veteran teachers, dealing with so much work is expected, but this shouldn’t be the reality as more focus is placed on providing quality education. The past two years have produced learning gaps, so much so that educators will have to concentrate on improving the delivery of lessons and tracking learners’ progress.
Accomplishing that is only possible when teachers can streamline their work so that they can focus on more critical areas such as teaching and assessing. The five approaches to reducing your workload as a teacher would be a good start:
- Use learning models for designing lessons
Creating a lesson plan is a complicated process and teachers often spend countless hours perfecting them. After all, a great lesson plan helps ensure learner engagement and accomplishes the targets you want your learners to attain. Making one requires using a template or point of reference. This is where learning models come in.
Learning models allow you to create instructional frameworks that allow you to accomplish your objectives in the classroom. The most well-known of these models is Bloom’s Taxonomy which starts with learners being exposed to information, retaining the information, and applying the knowledge in real-world situations. Choosing a learning model will help lessen the time it takes to design your lessons and choose activities that align with your goals.
- Develop a system of time management
To optimize the time you spend on more critical tasks and avoid focusing on less crucial work, it pays to block out the time dedicated to teaching and assessing. Having a time management strategy is the best way to streamline your daily workload and ensure that you don’t overlook important functions.
Aside from basic techniques like the Pomodoro method, you can also manage your time by using platforms like Trello or Any. Do. These task management platforms allow you to create checklists, set deadlines, and track the progress of ongoing tasks. With this, you will be able to set aside lower-priority work for classroom-related tasks.
- Optimize your class schedules
At the center of teacher burnout are the schedules handed to them. A lack of rational scheduling not only causes conflicts and overlaps but also leads to redundancies. For this reason, educational institutions must use methods and tools that can streamline schedule management and match classrooms with the right teachers.
New technology offers a great solution in this respect with platforms like Teach ‘n Go that come with custom scheduling features. These platforms may also feature an enrollment and booking system which enables students to select subjects and schedules that match their needs. But the best advantage of using scheduling software is its capacity to detect conflicts. This allows administrators to make urgent revisions and special scheduling arrangements that work for learners and teachers.
- Collaborate with other teachers
When teachers work together, they will be able to solve problems more efficiently, especially when it comes to dealing with heavy workloads. For instance, if you have problems designing your lessons for the next school year, you should meet with others teaching the same subject and brainstorm for classroom activities and learning delivery modes.
Through constant collaboration, you will be able to reduce the time it takes for you to deal with the more intricate part of your profession. This also ensures that you remain productive when it comes to helping your learners achieve essential learning goals in the classroom.
- Use remote learning tools to your advantage
When you teach a subject remotely, you should be able to know your way around the apps and platforms that help you in every part of the process. Today, teachers can choose from a plethora of instructional aids, many of which are powered by machine learning. These platforms can help come up with lesson materials as well as custom assessments that can help maximize the quality of your teaching approaches.
Along with Google Classroom, you can also use platforms like Google Slides, Prezi, and Canva to create engaging presentations through ready-made templates. You can also use Kahoot! and Edmodo to create and share quizzes that your students can answer at their convenience. In your case, using these tools can help you save time without compromising the need to provide quality instruction.
By streamlining your workload, you can reallocate more time and energy to improving your teaching strategy. Ultimately, it’s your learners who will be able to benefit the most when you apply these tips in the classroom.
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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.