10 ways for teachers to save time…

Teachers never have enough time. We have curriculum to cover, skills to teach, reports to write and meetings to attend. The demands are endless, both in and outside the classroom.

10 ways to save time, both in and out of the classroom.

I’m sure you there are hundreds more so please share yours.

1. Don’t talk about how little time you have.

Use the time to do some of the things you don’t have time for.

2. Reduce meeting time.

Only meet if you have to. Start on time or have something to do while you wait. Keep it brief. Stay on topic. Don’t get sidetracked.

3. Set the timer.

When you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do, set the timer for 15 minutes and start. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done. Do this once a day and see what you can achieve. Try it with your students too.

4. Talk less in the classroom.

Establish routines. Use signals. Trust your students, everything doesn’t have to be controlled by you. Scaffold independent learning so that students can get on with it.

5. Collaborate on a Google doc.

You don’t need to email documents back and forth. You don’t need to meet with the people. You don’t even need to be in the same place.  Work together on the one doc. Use different colours to show who said what. Use it with students too.

6. Use Twitter.

If you need a resource, a video, an article, a song or a tool… someone else has found it already. Ask for help on twitter. Help others in the same way. There’s on tap support 24 hours a day.

7. Have small group discussions.

Give every student an opportunity to speak without having a whole class discussion. Move between the groups. Have groups share with the class only what was most interesting or most contentious.

8. Set up a class blog.

It’s an easy way to learn with your students. They can respond to questions, comment on each other’s presentations and have discussions, without taking up class time.

9. Manage your emails.

Set up class and parent distribution groups. Organise folders in your inbox so that you can easily file things you might need later. Act quickly on emails and delete when done.

10. Prioritise.

Acknowledge that you are human and can’t always do everything. Decide what is urgent and what can wait. Accept that you aren’t ready for some things and will get to them when you are.

And if you have any spare time, watch some of these!


What are your tips?

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29 thoughts on “10 ways for teachers to save time…

  1. Allow more advanced students to help you teach. Once they have masters a concept give them re freedom to help Thera with it.

    Work at work and Relax at home. I hear so many teachers talk about the work they do at home, but they socialize every chance they get at school. Give you off time to your loved ones and get the work done at school.

    Say no! Only volunteer for those things that you can’t resist. You are never going to please everyone (they’ll get over it). You have a job to do.


  2. Share the workload among your team! 3 classes, 3 different homework approaches?
    Or 3 different spelling approaches? Work smarter by sharing you philosophy on homework and spelling at the start of the year, find like minds and share the load!


  3. I like the ideas behind your list but Iworry that with all the tech solutions presented I will find myself more addicted to being online constantly in an effort to help myself. There must be some kind of balance, right?


  4. Great topic, Edna! VERY useful Here are some more tips that help me, personally:

    – do not be worksheet/materials-dependent. We can make nice, structured and intensive lessons almost “out of the blue” – with a list of points to present and recycle at hand only. Looking for worksheets, printing them out, sorting them out, giving them out , explaining what to do with them – it eats up loads your classroom and personal time.

    – have your students do some of your work (this is similar to ZGPorter’s tip, but I don’t think only advanced SS can do it): grade each other’s papers, create revision exercises for classmates, bring great photos, you name it. This will no way be perfect – but definitely useful. I found that students memorize much more when they make their own exercises, for example. Learner autonomy rules. 🙂


  5. Just stopping by to let you know I really enjoy reading your posts , this one is one of my favorites ! I find myself all the time thinking that my time is not enought to cover my everyday activities. Thanks for the tips , personally I am trying to get myself into technology , that way I can be updated at cutting-edge technology and organize my time at the same time.
    Cheers from Mèxico!


  6. Great ideas!! We’re all looking for more time during the day. I will add make the most of your meeting time (reducing it of course) by flipping your classroom http://vodcasting.ning.com/ this also hits “talk less” and provides opportunity to employ many of your other strategies. finding balance between social face to face interactions and the efficiency of using technology to do more at once is a tricky one!


  7. Love these tips. A couple of my own are: make a to do list-breaking tasks down into small manageable tasks, then star the priority items.

    Use your website to record daily lessons. Insist students check the site before checking with you what they’ve missed /what they’re missing. I use the projector, put the instructions or notes up, then I cut and paste to the site. It takes very little time each day (seconds really) and is very useful for students and parents. When students need to catch up in my high school classroom they can be self-directed this way.


  8. Hello Edna! This is Sheena Nettles again. I am a student in Dr.Strange’s EDM 310 class at University of South Alabama. I truly enjoyed reading this post. I agree with you 100 % that teachers never have enough time. All of the ways that you have listed for teachers to manage their time are excellent. I especially like number 10. Teachers need to learn how to consider what is urgent and what is not. I know that I need to do better at managing my time. I am going to take all these ways that you have listed into consideration. Thank you for the very helpful advice!


  9. I agree with only meet if you have to and keep meetings short. How many meetings have I sat through that were just a waste of time. Hate to think.
    As a leader now I try to keep them short and only when necessary.
    I also find when I am getting swamped I back pedal, I stop trying to achieve so much, I coast for a day or two. Then I am off and can pick up speed again. I agree with a favourite person of mine, Iyanla Vanzant, “When you stop struggling, things get better. Struggle goes against the flow. It creates exhaustion in the mind and body.”


  10. Not everything has to be graded! Sometimes I just have students hold up their homework – if they can hold it up they get credit. I can check it off in 30 seconds – done.


  11. Filing of emails is a waste of time. Recent versions of email clients (Outlook in particular) have powerful indexing and search functions that make it easy to find that email. Dont waste your time filing them in different folders. Besides you’ll forget which folder you put “that” email in


  12. Break the routine. Sometimes we are so set on following our routines (in the class, during our day, in live). Like you said, prioritize and be flexible. Sometimes what is on your mind isn’t the most important thing at hand. Look at what will make the greatest impact.

    Oddly enough, a lot of these sound familiar, almost like I’ve already had this conversation… 🙂


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