As every teacher will know, long and intense working days mean time is often at a premium.
Here, we share time-saving tips for teachers, to help you to gain back some valuable extra hours.
1. Live marking
I find that live SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) marking really helps and is one of my top time-saving tips for teachers. As I walk around the room and observe work being done, I will mark the
spelling/punctuation/grammar mistakes and explain what it is to the students. This
enhances the usefulness of the marking. I teach geography, so a common mistake will be
capital letters for country names, for example. This reduces time after the lesson when I’m
marking books as I can then just mark the work.
I also use Google quizzes, which are auto-marked. I literally just need to download the data
and enter it straight into mark books. This will work better in some subjects than others as
Google limits you to multiple-choice, single-word answers or sorting activities – but in terms
of retrieval of memory-based knowledge, it’s a real life safer in terms of saving time!
James Pearson, Duke’s Secondary School, Northumberland
2. Clever time management
I live for a desk planner, the sort that has sections on it where you can write your to-do lists.
I split everything into hard and soft deadlines. The hard deadlines need doing that morning
or evening (before or after school, as I don’t do things at break or lunch as it isn’t long
enough and I don’t like starting something knowing I won’t finish it).
When the hard deadlines are crossed off – things like marking exams, planning a revision
lesson for the next day, etc – I then use any time left over to get some of the things with soft
deadlines done – marking class sets, planning for the next half term, getting my printing
done for the next half term, organising a trip, etc.
This way, you’re always on top of your absolutely necessary tasks, but also ahead of the
game with everything else. And you get real satisfaction from ticking things off your list.
I make a new list every Friday so I’m ready to start as soon as I come in on a Monday
morning. I think if I wasn’t a teacher, I’d be a PA!
Katharine Willett, Duke’s Secondary School, Northumberland
3. Sharing the burden through teamwork
As a department, we try to share as many teaching resources and plans as we can. For
example, we’ve recently started sharing homework plans across whole year groups. So,
instead of each individual teacher having to set the homework for every class they do, our
MFL department will share out the year groups between us.
For example, if I’m teaching a year 7 class, I can simply copy and paste the homework tasks
each week, as a colleague will already have put them together and shared them. That also
means I can spend more time on putting the homework plan together for the year groups
for which I’m responsible.
This saves us all a huge amount of time and prevents us duplicating effort – which means we
can focus more on marking and improving the quality of our lesson-planning.
Emma Lawrence, Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Luton
4. Never write anything twice
I’m very keen on removing unnecessary paperwork, so I like using technology that allows
me to input everything once and keep it all in one place. Too often, I’ve seen people write
notes down on paper and then type them up afterwards onto a computer. But I always say:
if anything is going to end up on an electronic document, input it directly into that electronic
document! Never, ever make handwritten notes and type them up later. If you do that,
you’re effectively doing the work twice.
It reminds me of when I used to have a summer job working for a removals firm. I
remember once taking a box into a room and putting it down. But it was in the wrong room
so I had to pick it up and move it to another place. The boss said to me: “Never, ever carry
anything twice.” He had a good point!
The other advantage of working this way is that it allows you to find the most up-to-date
version of a document quickly and easily, without having to search through endless papers
or trying to remember where you put something.
Russ Atkinson, Duke’s Secondary School, Northumberland
How Reflective Teacher can help you save time
If you’ve enjoyed this blog on time-saving tips for teachers and would like to find out more about how we can help you and your staff save time – and never input teacher performance data twice – get in touch with us now.