A typical school day might end mid-afternoon, but the teacher’s workday is far from over. In this video, Caleb Martin shares some practical tips for staying focused, efficient, and productive after the final bell rings. Rather than feeling overwhelmed and getting distracted after a full day of teaching, teachers can turn the after-school hours into a productive time of preparation for the next day’s lessons.
Be Your Own Boss
One thing that’s different about teaching than some other jobs is that the teacher is his own boss. When the school ends. I believe as a teacher, it’s important to be your own boss and not let that role go to the wayside. Pick up that role and boss yourself around like you would an employee.
Resist Distraction and Prioritize Work
As I think of another task to do, instead of being distracted from my current task, I can quickly jot that down onto a sticky note. The habit of first things first is vitally important after school. Decide the most important thing on your list. Prepping for tomorrow should probably be at the top of that list. Grading a mountain of projects is probably not as pressing as getting ready for tomorrow. Decide what is most important and give it your best time.
Work in Reverse
I like to work in reverse from the next day, so I figure out what is my last subject of the day and work on that subject. Complete any homework or quiz grading I need to do, study the lesson for the next day, and stick that on a stack. And then I pick up the next book in reverse and work through any grading I need to do. Stick that book on a stack until the end. I’m through prepping my classes for the next day. I have a nice stack in the correct order and the following day I can pick up my first textbook and teach that class and move swiftly through the classes without a lot of wondering where my textbooks are, where I might have placed them. This is also useful if you have a substitute. If you’re sick some morning and you need a substitute, all your curriculum is in the right order and they can just pick up the book they need and go from there.
Keeping the after school workflow manageable and sustainable keeps you from being overwhelmed with all the things that you have to do after school. Allowing yourself some time, some personal time in the evenings, keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and allows you to teach for more than just one or two years and teach for the long haul.
CONTRIBUTOR: Caleb Martin