Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

10 Pro Teacher Tips to “Find” More Time

10 Pro Teacher Tips to “Find” More Time

By Jessica Sanders

Teachers in the United States have less time than ever before to prepare for class, grade papers, and separate themselves from work to live their own lives. In fact, a 2011-2012 Department of Education survey found that in the average workweek teachers spend 81 percent of their time on in-class instruction, and have just 18 percent of non-instructional time.

You know this better than anyone else, as a teacher who’s struggling to fit all your work in each day.

Use these tips to free up some time in the day, or make better use of the little you do have. If you can’t change the school’s schedule, you can at least make it work better for you.

Bring Differentiation into the Classroom

“Transform whole class instruction into small learning teams.”

– John McCarthy, Edutopia

Time resource: Too Many Students and Not Enough Time 

Make Use of Transition Times

“Prepare quick, five-minute activities for those transition periods between lunch, specials, and in-between lessons. By having these quick time saving activities already prepared, you will find transition times run more smoothly.”

– Janelle Cox, TeachHub

Time resource: Time Management Tips for Teachers

Update Classroom Rules

“Effective rules and procedures reduce the time spent on disruptions and disciplinary situations.”

– Florida Education Association

Time resource: Time-on-Task: A Strategy That Accelerates Learning

Work in “Time Batches” 

Instead of completing tasks one by one—like going to the photocopier every day on an as-needed basis or checking e-mails eight to ten times a day—start doing tasks in larger, less-frequent batches. Get all your photocopying for the week done in one trip. Only check and respond to emails twice a day—but respond to ALL of them in that time. By doing more of the same thing all at once, we actually free up more time for ourselves later.”

– Jennifer Gonzalez, Cult of Pedagogy 

Time resource: 5 Powerful Ways to Save Time as a Teacher 

Turn Out the Lights

If you have to, lock your door and turn off the lights. Even if someone knows you’re in there, nothing says ‘I don’t want to be interrupted right now’ like a dark room and a locked door!”

– Kristen Doyle, Teaching Trio

Time resource: 3 Ways to Find More Time in Your Day

Create Assignment Numbers

“This clever organizing trick will help you grade and sort papers quickly. In alphabetical order, assign each student in your classroom a number and have them write it on the upper right corner of every paper they turn in. With the papers alphabetized you can simultaneously grade and record scores in your grade book and be done in a flash.

– Rebekah Schilperoort, Milken Educator Awards

Time resource: 10 Time-Saving Tricks for Teachers


Test Mini-Lessons

Mini-lessons are just — that quick, focused lessons. For a week or two, estimate the appropriate time for each mini-lesson you do. Set a timer for the estimated time. When it goes off, are you still introducing the lesson? Are you halfway through? Are you writing the last examples on the chart? This exercise will help you be more aware of the pacing in the lesson.

– Gay Su Pinnell, Scholastic

Time resource: 9 Ways to Save Time in the Classroom

 Prep Work for Early Finishers

 “I have a list of activities for those students who finish an activity before others. I teach them that they can start one of these activities independently. I make sure that these are activities that do not require extra teaching time from me.”

– Elyse Rycroft, Proud to be Primary 

Time resource: 10 Time-Saving Tips for Teachers

Facilitate Collaboration With Tech

“By setting up a free online file storage solution such as DropBox or Google Drive, you can collaborate and share resources with other teachers instantly.”

– Johan Hagglund, Edutopia 

Time resource: 7 Digital Hacks to Save Teachers Time

Do The Most Important Thing First

“Each day, think about what one important task most needs to be done that day. Then during the first block of time you get, do that main thing first. Don’t check your email or throw some grades in the computer first. Instead, get the main thing done first then worry about everything else.”

– Linda Kardamis, Teach4theHeart 

Time resource: 6 Principals to Save Time, Be More Productive and Finally Find Balance

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10 Pro Teacher Tips to Find More Time

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