Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Save time and energy

We know teaching can be an exhausting job. If you aren't feeling a hundred per cent your lessons won't go so well. So what strategies can be employed to save time, reduce stress and conserve energy? Here are a few ideas:

  • When pair or group work is going on take a back seat; don't feel the need to intervene unless the little darlings are off task. Listening in and correcting may put students off too, so just sit at your desk or stand in the corner and enjoy the fruits of your work.
  • Plan occasional lessons where the class is working silently on a reading, listening or writing task. The bottom line is: are students engaged and working? You don't have to be. Don't feel guilty.
  • Plan your week so you can re-use the same ideas more than once. The same activity can often be adapted for different classes.
  • Take advantage of go-to zero preparation starters, fillers and plenaries. This will save you time at home.
  • Mark work a bit less and do not feel the need to write detailed feedback each time, whatever the latest craze might be. You only have so many hours per week, so mark quickly, sometimes correct selectively and use codes and any other shortcuts to save time.
  • Make sure students do some peer assessment. This will often be more useful than you marking.
  • Make good use of existing, ready-made resources, adapting them where necessary. You don't have to write your own materials to be an effective, inspiring teacher. Students and observers will judge you on your relationships, class control and effective methodology, less on whether you have come up with a swish idea or resource.
  • Plan for lessons using technology where you can take a back seat. Online interactive tasks are ideal for this.
  • Only go to the meetings you really have to!
  • Get good pupils to come to the front and do a bit of teaching for you.
  • Don't avoid teacher-led work. With some classes this may be the least draining and stressful approach.
  • Try to keep lunchtimes and breaks for yourself as far as possible.
  • Keep your head clear and stress levels low by planning ahead.
  • If a lesson goes less well than you had hoped, try not to worry. Remember that the students won't!

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