Today I am going to share with you 10 tips for getting the most out of your planning time. Here in Western Australia we call that time DOTT- Duties Other Than Teaching.
Number 1: Plan for your planning time!
Sounds weird to plan for your planning time but you can get more out of your time if you know what you are going to do. Write a to do list in the build up to your planning time. Write things as you think of them. Try not to waste your planning time writing your to do list.
Number 2: Build a Routine
Building a routine results in greater productivity. You get into the flow of things and can get into the right frame of mind for that DOTTs activities. I have 4 DOTTs a week. For the first one of the week I get all the resources ready. That includes photocopying, The second I use for preparing for the areas that need extra time. For me that is currently guided reading and Words Their Way prep. The third I dedicate to marking. The last DOTT of the week I use for the planning of the next week. If I get any of these tasks done early I do the other miscellaneous tasks teachers need to do.
Number 3: Forget the coffee!
I don't personally drink coffee (or tea etc) but I frequently observe other teachers making a drink during their DOTT time. For some this can take up to 15 minutes. Try having water instead. Much quicker to fill up and good to get your creative juices flowing.
Number 4: Cut the chatter!
The funny thing I notice about the people who complain about not having enough time to get everything done is that they are the talkers. They're the ones not in their own classrooms during their DOTT. All teachers need to debrief, relax and socialise but chatting to people can half the amount of DOTT time you have. If you need to see others during you DOTT time plan for it in the last 15 minutes so you are minimising the amount of time it can consume!
Number 5: Go Digital
It surprises me the amount of teachers that still prefer to hand write their daily work pads. Having a digital timetable (printed when complete) where all the basic information is already there each week will save you hours in the long run. Copy and paste lesson steps from your advanced planners or plans from previous years.
Number 6: Minimise distractions!
Put your phone away and anything else that you could use to procrastinate. It easier to not jump on Facebook or Pinterest if your phone is not in reach. (Most schools don't allow this anyway but I know we are all guilty of this occasionally....)
Number 7: Reward yourself
It works with our students and it also works with us teachers. Decide the frequency and what the reward will be. On slow days I reward myself with a little break every time I cross something off my to do list. On more productive days the act of getting a lot of work done is enough. Perhaps its a mid session fruit break. Banana is great at helping you focus and think.
Number 8: Don't reinvent the wheel
If planning isn't your forte try purchasing complete units instead.
Number 9: Be organised!
Have everything you need in easy to access locations. A badly organised desk can waste valuable time.
Number 10: Enjoy what your do!
If you enjoy your job you'll be more productive. Pick themes that interest you. Find activities that you will enjoy. Planning for things you enjoy makes the prep work quicker and easier!
Wants some more tips on how to conquer your teaching life? Click the link below!