Managing Teaching Time
Time is the only resource equally available to everyone. Managing time using the right tools ensures you complete important tasks first and such activities are goal directed. It helps balance work and personal life and makes you feel good about yourself.
The purpose of this article is to introduce to you new and more effective tools compared to those you may be using at present.
Dr Steven Covey, management guru and bestselling author of ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, recommends 3 steps to organise time –
1. Plan the Year
2. Plan weekly
3. Review the plan Daily
Having clear goals is the starting point for all planning. Goals act as a compass to prioritize activities and keep you on track. Goals have to be specific and measureable.
Goals for teachers, for example, could be:
1. In ABC subject or class, X% of students will score more than 95% and D% more than 80% compared to Y% and Z% last year in the final assessment or examinations.
(Alternatively, you can bench mark the best educational institutions in city/district /nation or internationally).
2. Our school will produce at least 5% board toppers in XYZ subject/s during academic year 2014 – 15.
3. We will improve the overall ranking of our school from X to Y for the ABC survey for academic year 2014-15 by upgrading our laboratories, training teachers on new age teaching skills xyz, etc.
4. I will introduce mind maps, a new age teaching tool for students to make notes, save time and simultaneously boost memory and understanding.
Goals need not be restricted to academics. Teachers should have annual goals for other areas of their interest (sports, music, arts, and drama) and self development.
After clear goals are set in writing, proceed to the planning process mentioned above.
Step 1 Plan the Year
A yearly plan must be so formatted that it provides a road map and overview on one page of all important events, exams / unit tests, holidays, festivals, and high level teaching schedule – chapter wise. Use colour coding to easily spot relevant information and make the calendar look attractive.
A format using ‘excel’ software to plan
April 2014 – March 2015 which meets all the above requirements, accompanies this article. This format is now used by several schools and educational institutions. There are two formats. One is filled in and serves as a solved example to understand how to go about it. The other is a blank format for you to use as template and prepare your own plan for the academic year 2014-15. For your friends and colleagues you can download the template and the filled format by clicking on the link below:
Please note that I have filled in the lesson schedules for April and May only. Other events mentioned are also for illustrative purposes only. I strongly recommend that you share your Yearly Plan with students and other stake holders so that all concerned are on the same page.
Tips for Lesson Scheduling
Space is a constraint for the one page yearly plan. Therefore, create appropriate abbreviations. For example,
Physics P Chapter 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3…..
Chemistry C Class 7, 8, 9 Cl 7, 8, 9
Maths M Section A, B, C a, b, c….
Cl8bP1 will therefore mean – Class 8 Sec b Physics Chapter 1.
Step 2 Plan the Week
Every Saturday or Sunday, take 10 – 15 minutes, not more, to plan the following week. Add urgent and other important activities which came up during the week to the activities already planned for the year. For example, an unscheduled meeting, important students counseling session, urgent tasks assigned by the Principal, report to be revised, doctor’s appointment, leave of absence, etc.
To plan the week you may use the school provided diary or standard computer software (Microsoft Outlook calendar or Google calendar). Computerization has obvious benefits of easy sharing of information, review and revision of plan.
Step 3 Review Daily
Every night, take 10 minutes to review the following day’s plan. Make adjustments if required. Be flexible. If something urgent comes up like sickness, surprise project, unscheduled VIP visit, etc do not hesitate to reschedule. But don’t make rescheduling a habit. Stay with your original plan as far as possible.
I urge you to use the new planning tools to manage your teaching time. Your effectiveness and results will improve exponentially. You will win the love and respect of your students, peers and seniors. Anytime is a good time to start. Don’t procrastinate. Start using the new tools and concepts today.
Ajay Aggarwal is Author, Master Trainer and CEO of Apsara Foundation, a not – for – profit organisation. For last 3 years, he regularly conducts workshops for several education institutions to teach and help them induct latest ‘Teaching and Learning Tools and Skills’. His book ‘New Age Learning and Reading Skills’ is recently published by S Chand. For more information visit apsarafoundation.org or write to