Time management in the classroom. It’s the bane of our existence when it doesn’t work and it’s the reason why things move smoothly when they do work!
A sub-question of “How do I work to get my kids to do what I want them to do?” is “I keep running out of time…if you could give me more time, I could ‘fit it all in'”.
I would be a gagillionaire if I could give you more time, but I can’t. And I REALLY wish I could, because being a gagillionaire sounds like it’d be GREAT! I mean, all that cashola just hanging around…purses, trips, shoes, lip gloss, etc……what, what was I talking about again?
Oh that’s right…time management…
The first place to start is by asking a few questions to see where the problem is. I shared these questions recently with a coach client of ours who was struggling to support her teachers in hitting the time management marks.
- Are you seeing them taking longer than they should in places? Which places are these?
- I wonder are they doing lots of worksheets (those are optional and shouldn’t be used as time fillers)?
- Are they teaching the whole time?
- Are there management issues that are taking up instructional time?
- Are they starting on time/ending early?
- What parts are they getting bogged down on?
- Have they timed how long it takes each band of instruction so that you can look at the data of what you find in the classroom, not just the “feeling” that the teacher has?
- Do they have a swift pace?
- Are they adding additional things to the block from outside of the program?
- Are they taking drink/bathroom breaks during the block? (I certainly hope not)
The great thing is, when you figure out where the “sticking point” is, you can fix it! Yep, just like that.
Fix it by keeping a timer and moving yourself along when you’re running slow.
Pick up additional instructional minutes by shortening the “morning routines” or the “after lunch routines”.
Plan ahead for what your direct teaching time will be and what time will be student practice and then opportunities for feedback.
Figure out if you’re adding “would be nice” content – that content that would be nice, but is not necessary.
The bottom line? You can control. You can fix it. BUT you have to begin by isolating WHERE the problem of time management is coming from!
Leave a comment below to tell me WHAT IS YOUR MOST COMMON TIME MANAGEMENT PROBLEM?
Proverbial Bird Walks. Building background knowledge. Going off on tangents. Wanting to fit in the “cool” stuff, or answer the off topic questions in the moment, or take every “learning” opportunity that happens over the course of the lesson. I finally had to just admit that I like to talk and that was causing the direct instruction to take to long and I wasn’t getting to the small group /independent work. I had to set a timer to stay on track. These are great questions that I can’t wait to share with a few teachers who bird walk even more than I did, and are some of the biggest offenders with complaining about not enough time.
Like talking? I think that’s why we all GOT into teaching to begin with! The timing issue is really not one that we should complain about IF we are taking executive control over the classroom and the content.
The answer ALWAYS is within the teacher…if not, then we’re doomed! 🙂