Having effective time management is a key skill for any teacher, but it is particularly important for those teachers who are new to the classroom.
Transitioning from a trainee to a newly qualified teacher can be a big step, with an increased timetable and responsibilities for pupil progress and pastoral duties. As your role develops and grows, using your time effectively can help you cope with these added responsibilities, but more importantly allow more learning to happen in your lessons.
Whilst progressing through my first term, I developed my own techniques and routines that have worked well and helped me transition from a trainee to an NQT. Here are my eight top tips:
- Good organisation and planning ahead
Keeping a diary and write absolutely everything down, from lesson planning to important upcoming meetings, deadlines, homework logging and designated evenings for marking. After all, it becomes impossible to remember everything!
- Remember to make time for your life outside of teaching
Maintaining a healthy balance between your work and social life is vital. Dedicate time to lesson planning and marking and be strict with it to allow time for yourself.
- Be smart and realistic
Prioritise the most important actions first and find effective ways to tackle things on your list. This will help you avoid getting distracted or trying to do everything at once.
- A problem shared is a problem halved
Don’t forget to ask for help and advice from colleagues and friends. It may be useful to share with others and there may be someone else that can do the task more efficiently than you.
- Keep up-to-date with general workload and marking
A little each day makes life all the more easier.
- Build positive relationships
Spread positivity with your pupils and colleagues. This will make teaching more enjoyable and help it to feel less like ‘just a job’.
- Treat every day as a fresh start
We all have challenging days but no two days are ever the same in teaching, so it is important to realise every day is different. Reflect upon each lesson and be optimistic about the next day.
- Finally and most importantly, if you don’t already, start drinking coffee!
Although life as an NQT can seem overwhelming and challenging, it gets easier with time and leaves you with rewarding experiences and achievements. The feeling of contentment is great. It is all one big learning curve – one of the things that I value most.