Top teaching tips

Top teaching tips

Whether you’ve been in the classroom for weeks, months, years or even more, we’ve pulled together some of your top teaching tips from the forums to help you get through the school year. Top-Tips will be updated weekly with the best ideas that have been shared on TES by teachers, for teachers.

We hope you enjoy them.

Time saving classroom ideas

  • Put most letters on a chair and tell children to take one on the way out or give a child the letters to give out
  • Don’t total the dinner registers
  • Train children to do the photocopying- from Y3 - single sided only
  • Refuse to take any money that is not in an envelope - send it home or send the child to the office
  • Have learning displays in the classroom that are full of words and ideas to help the children with their work so they do not need changing. Keep only one board as a celebration display with pupil’s work that can be changed
  • When giving out books, look at the top of the pile, give that child the top five books and then repeat the process. Within two minutes all the books/pieces of paper are given out
  • Have a blunt pencil tray and a sharp pencil tray. The first two children to finish their work sharpen five pencils each so we always have sharp pencils ready to use
  • Ask two children or parent helpers to take down the chairs in the morning
  • At the end of the day make the children tidy up i.e. tell pupils when they must keep tidying until they are spotted by their teacher as doing a good job and then they can sit on the carpet. They will soon learn that tidying up means that everyone has to do something
  • Collect in books open at the page to mark (make children self mark whenever they can - it can be done even when they are quite young if you talk about how it helps them. Mark half way through so that they know if they are on the right track.)

tired teacher

  • Teach pupils to trim and mount work


  • Give every child in class a responsibility for the term or year i.e. librarian, gluing in sheets, lost property, switching on the computers, watering the plants etc


  • I time any chattering when they should be listening or working and they pay me back however long at lunchtime. If I start the timer on the board after I have asked them to be quiet and listen, I get a lot of shushing from the more observant ones. Most of the time they earn back that time in the lesson by working well, but about once a fortnight, they have to pay me back by sitting in silence for the same amount of time. It’s usually about 2-3 minutes accumulated throughout the lesson…


  • Have stickers pre-prepared of things you often write in books – this will save time!
  • Don’t forget that not every lesson of the day needs to be whizzy and full of multi-media stuff - i.e. don’t spend hours and hours planning for everything!


  • I only ever touch a piece of paper once. If you are given a piece of paper to file, sign or respond to, do it straight away. It does save time looking for paper that you have mislaid


  • After completing a messy activity, stop them all, make them sit on the carpet, put on a whiteboard game and appoint six children to tidy. Give them each a job i.e collect scissors, pick bits up off the carpet. Other children know they have to stay on the carpet. This can be less stressful than all having all the children up and moving round the room
  • Have a space on your desk where you keep any resources you get from somewhere in the school i.e. a book from library, resource out of topic box. During the day when you know you are going that way pick up the resources and put them back as well as doing whatever you went there for. This will avoid cluttering up your classroom
  • Make sure pupils are doing things for themselves i.e. sticking in worksheets, washing up paint pallets etc – so that they learn about responsibility and see school is a whole learning process, and not just getting through the subjects


  • Only mark to your learning objective: I still find this difficult but when I do it, it does save loads of time. If there is something to be addressed i.e. lack of capital letters or a calculation error, I cover it in the next lesson when the children look at the comment etc


  • To avoid ‘Time Suckers’ my desk is next to the window hidden round the corner from the door slightly. I leave lights off and shut the door. Most folks don’t bother looking in
  • Never do anything that the children can do safely on their own