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  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 4/6/15 - Do you ever talk with teachers about how you manage your time?

Do you ever talk with teachers about how you manage your time? Kim Marshall shared an article in last week’s Marshall Memo about teacher time. The steps sound a lot like what you do every day as a SAM team:

1. Effective Time Management for Teachers

In this Edutopia article, consultant Maia Heyck-Merlin (author of The Together Teacher, Jossey- Bass, 2012) suggests seven steps to help teachers organize their lives for success - and keep their sanity:

• Select a tool to plan the week. Whatever worksheet you use - a handwritten template, a typed- in template, or a digital platform - the key is putting all time commitments and to-dos in one place so they can be viewed together.

• Plan the next week before the weekend. On Thursday or Friday, spend 30-45 minutes sorting the week’s accumulated sticky notes, student work, office memos, and other stuff into piles - short-term to-dos, long-term items, meeting follow-ups, etc. - and fill out your planning template for the following week. The goal is to have next week’s worksheet totally ready by Friday afternoon so as to maximize weekend R&R.

• Set priorities for the week. These should include big-picture classroom and personal goals - boosting student attendance, improving class culture, getting students reinvested in Big Goals for math, finalizing plans for the big field trip, planning a baby shower.

• List out all your meetings and appointments. Heyck-Merlin recommends keeping one master calendar for your personal and professional lives to avoid “collisions” - items like grade- level meetings, report card nights, staff retreats, doctor’s appointments, your brother’s birthday.

• Decide how you will use discretionary time. Your sanity is definitely improved by getting the most out of prep periods, lunch, before- and after-school time, etc. - and that requires deliberate planning.

• Allow flexibility for the “hallway ambush.” There will always be unexpected requests and crises, and Heyck-Merlin recommends carrying your master calendar/list at all times (on a clipboard, in your pocket, or in a device) to make instant revisions when the unexpected happens.

• Review and adjust daily. “Things change,” she concludes. “Life happens. At the end of every school day, sit down for five minutes and cross off what you’ve accomplished, roll over what didn’t happen to another time slot, or decide to delete something you had intended to do.”

Some SAM teams include teacher leaders as members. Some SAM school offer TimeTrack to select teachers to track their own time. NSIP provides additional TimeTrack calendars as a free service as long as the leader is at the third level of the SAM team performance rubric and the SAMs are willing to help the teacher with set-up and use. Ask your Time Change Coach to make the request for additional TimeTrack calendars.

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