Can it be done? If so, HOW? (I need to know)
After 21 years of teaching , I can certainly tell you all that I haven’t ‘nailed it’ as such but I am definitely now able to switch off and prioritise more effectively.
What I have also done is been able to introduce time saving ‘short cuts’ that really do enable me to work ‘smartly’. I often plan using ActivInspire Flipchart slides which can then be reused each year, I do as much as I can in the ‘odd bits’ of time throughout the day and I also try to ensure that the children help out as much as possible at certainty times of day ie tidying, sorting, filing – they absolutely love the responsibility!
Huge teacher workloads are impossible to tackle and maintain. Even Ofsted agree. Sometimes it may be an overzealous SLT creating ‘change’ or demanding that a multitude of tasks and non-negotiables be completed in quick succession. Other times however, it is simply just our general teacher ‘work load’ and that ever present, niggling feeling of pure guilt that we subject ourselves to if we haven’t got the laptop on or we are not marking our books in pink and Green. We’ve all been there!
So how do we switch off?
How can we ensure that we are refreshed and classroom ready on a daily basis avoiding burnout wherever possible? Of course it does depend on a support team network in the first instance! But maybe WE can ensure that we shift our very own perceptions in order to realise that it will still be there tomorrow!
My number one rule is: JUST THREE!
I try to work smart. I take short cuts when I need to and I prioritise daily. At the beginning of each day, I have 3 jobs on a notes page on my phone. Those are the 3 tasks (apart from everything else that we do) that I want/need to do that day. It might be a big task (plan an assembly) or it might be small (call the museum / find a video). During the day/after school, I will complete these three things and then feel satisfied.
Now one of these things might change during the day as new jobs or priorities arise. That’s ok! One of the other jobs moves down to tomorrow. It’s SO important to stop; to have family time; to rest! This way, you feel accomplished and you get things done. Children need to have a teacher who is on form, alert, ready for action – that’s when more learning occurs surely!
So take it from me… Try ‘just three’! That to do list will never, ever clear so think smart! It might free up some of that head space to take up a new hobby, sport or simply just relax and watch Netflix on the sofa!