Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #143
The four skills innovative teachers need to thrive with millennials and in the digital age.
4. You have to know how to get the most out of your time, effort, and talent.
How can you argue over this one? If I constantly return papers six weeks later, how can I demand my students turn their work in on time? I can, but I’d be a hypocrite.
So, I made a promise to capitalize on my time and effort to extract as much as I could from my talent. Lord knows I’m not smart enough or talented enough to get by on those two things alone. I’d have to work. Work very, very hard.
So I developed unique (well, unique to me, anyway) strategies to maximize my time and abilities.
Here are some of my hacks (and I’d love to hear about your hacks)
1. I try to write some every single morning. I’m a total morning person. I’m up at 5 or 5:30 at the latest. Since I often use my writing as a model in my comp classes, here is a great time to write a blog post or journal entry or respond to something I’ve read.
2. I try to maximize my prep block. Duh, right? I will purposely not go to my computer if I have papers to grade. I know myself too well. If I log on to Yahoo or Wikipedia or Youtube, I’m going to waste 20 minutes. That’s two papers I could have graded and returned to students. I used to go to the media center where I knew (most likely) no one would bother me until I got a certain amount of papers graded. If I’m at home, I’ve learned to knock off a couple papers while my kids are riveted to Star Wars Rebels or Dog with a Blog in the quiet time between getting home and making supper.
3. I make time every single day to read. It will be easier this year since I’m instituting silent sustained reading into each College Comp class period, but I’ve always made time to read. And with such limited amounts of time to read, I don’t waste time on crap. I’m all in on nonfiction about leadership, teaching, and composition. I try to read one book a month and three books a month in the summer. I’ve even ventured into Mr. Geiser’s territory and bought an audio book, but I keep wanting to pause and write stuff down, so I found that won’t work for me. I’m too old school about annotating a text to go exclusively with audiobooks.
4. When I was a young teacher, I made it a habit to take one night off a week. I purposely wouldn’t bring anything home. I’d rent a movie or go to a movie or watch a football game. I felt guilty, but that guilt was short lived after I found how much it re-energized me.
What productivity hacks do you have? I’ve seen teachers bring papers along for bus rides. I’ve heard of teachers only grading papers when the kids are in bed. I know one teacher who promised that she’d get the themes back to her students the day after they were due. Man, I admire that. I always wanted to do that too. It would make me way more conscious of due dates, for I’d have to have the theme due on a day when I didn’t have anything going on that evening. But I always thought that was a brilliant (and noble) idea.