How much time do you need?

Yes, that’s right; How much time do you need?  Not how much time do you want or think you should have but how much time do you actually need?

I often hear colleagues talking about not having enough time to get the job done.  I’m guilty too!  Moan, nag, blah, blah…I have to do this…and they want me to do that…and…and… blaaaaah.   How many little jobs  could I have completed in the time it took me to stop and complain about a lack of time?

As I was saying… how much time do you need?  My time management skills need improving but I realise that I need a good work/life balance too.  Sometimes I think about what I do on a regular basis and how to best plan my time.  As a consequence, I can get bogged down…

  • attend one or two meetings of some description
  • conduct lesson observations
  • give feedback
  • mentor NQT’s
  • coach colleagues
  • ‘facilitate’ network nights
  • lead CPD
  • do a bit of shared planning
  • teach Mathematics
  • run workshops with fellow SLE’s (Specialist Leaders of Education)
  • work with students in the Maths Support Club after school
  • ‘chat’ with students in the corridors during break , lunch and after school (a very important part of my job!)
  • research and read up on Teaching &Learning literature as part of my role as a Lead Practitioner
  • and the usual bits and pieces that every teacher does

Once I’ve completed majority of the aforementioned tasks, it’s usually time to relax; have some dinner, maybe watch some escapist nonsense on the television.

So what’s the solution?  Get better at saying no?  Stop making lists that never get completed?  Don’t check emails?  This is not really feasible.  I don’t have the solution but here are a few ideas that might help you along the way.

Self Help Books; Get suggestions from colleagues, as you will find that quite a few of these publications are filled with what some would call “common sense”.  I recommend “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.

Non-Contact Time;  If you have a heavy teaching timetable, use your non-contact time efficiently.  Book a meeting with yourself!  Make sure the meeting title states what you need to in that time (e.g. Write Y10 reports; observe PGCE student).  I know it seems obvious – “efficiently” I say.  I know that I could could cut down on the staffroom visits, general procrastination – you know what I mean.

Lunch time;  Fortunate enough to have a 40, 50 or even 60 minutes lunch break?  I would question whether you need the entire lunch break to socialise and eat your lunch (Okay, so I’m being harsh.  Some people need the entire lunch break).  If you are really short for time, why not use half of this time to prepare resources, write some praise postcards or even mark a few books.

Before or After school; You don’t have any meetings booked and there’s no CPD tonight.  Come in a little earlier or stay a little later (do not do both) so that you can schedule a bit of lesson planning, marking or simply read that thing that you have to read!

Other Peoples Time; Members of SLT, Heads of Department and individuals in similar positions have the luxury of delegating tasks if they so choose.  I would like to think that I can call on colleagues to help me out if I’m really struggling, however, I’m still pondering sideways and upward delegation…not sure how I feel about this.

At Home?!  Remember your Work/Life balance and the fact that you need to charge your batteries.  Let’s be realistic, all teachers work from home at some point in their career, on a regular basis and most likely every week or weekend.  If you have young children wait until they are in bed before you do any last minute work.  Don’t have kids?  Go out with friends or get a hobby (next term, I will take my own advice!)

Well, it seems as if I have actually taken my own advice and have found a new hobby.  Although I am old school, I still feel new to teaching and this is my first journey into/onto the “blogosphere”….this is the problem with being a Maths teacher; Sphere? I’m starting to think about round things and circles and that time I went to a Chinese restaurant where I had a square Nasi-Goreng Parcel on a circular plate and I wanted to set a question up for my students, so I…

I think I’ll save that one for another day!