Time Management

Another important classroom-management tool is the skill of effective time management. American author and home economist Ann Smith Rice defines time management as “gaining control over what you do, when you do it, how you do it, and why you do it.”

In other words, your lifetime inevitably passes, minute by minute — and you aren't getting any younger. So if you want to achieve your goals, you've got to get organized, plan carefully, then act decisively.

The time that you're trying to manage falls into two broad categories:

  1. Adjuvant instructional time

  2. Instructional time

“Adjuvant” simply means, “in addition to.” Your adjuvant instructional time is the daily time you spend in addition to your instructional time, before and after class, getting ready to teach and manage your students. During your adjuvant instructional time, you can engage in professional activities including:

  • Planning lessons

  • Grading homework and classwork papers

  • Entering grade information into your classroom computer

  • Filing students' papers in their portfolios

  • Regularly preparing progress reports

  • Providing instructional tutoring to challenged students

  • Personally conferring with students, parents, teaching colleagues, administrators, and others

  • Posting students' work and school information on classroom and hallway bulletin boards

  • Procuring needed supplies, books, and equipment or setting up audio-visual equipment and materials such as transparencies, tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.

  • Accessing and studying students' cumulative files (commonly called “cums”)

  • Checking with school nurses on the medical status and requirements of certain students

  • Checking with bilingual coordinators on the status and requirements of English learners

  • Meeting with special-education teachers regarding disabled students' individual education plans (IEPs)

  • Arranging logistical details for field trips

  • Sponsoring after-school clubs and sports teams

  • Attending seminars, completing courses, and sitting for examinations for professional growth

In contrast to adjuvant instructional time, your instructional time is the daily time you spend during class teaching and managing your students. During your instructional time, you'll engage in many of these professional activities:

  • Instructing your whole class directly

  • Instructing small groups of students directly

  • Presenting PowerPoint or other audio-visual instructional presentations

  • Helping inattentive or distracted students remain on task

  • Guiding students' written responses to direct instruction

  • Working with individual students who require extra tutoring

  • Monitoring students who are using classroom learning centers, especially computer centers

  • Grading papers along with your students, for instant feedback

  • Sending ill or injured students to the nurse

  • Sending responsible students on important errands to the main office or other classrooms

  • Acting as mediator for formal classroom debates and informal classroom discussions

  • Acting as timekeeper, critic, and grader during students' oral presentations to the class

Don't try to be a superhero, but instead realize that most jobs, including teaching, can never truly be completed. There's always more to do, no matter how superhuman your efforts. Therefore, work hard, but don't endanger your health or your peace of mind. Keep your nose to the grindstone, but remember that noses are designed for smelling flowers, too.

In subsequent chapters, you'll learn how to do the seemingly impossible task of budgeting your limited, valuable time so that you can effectively accomplish your professional duties and still have time left over to enjoy your life.

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