How Teachers Can Decide What’s Important, Then Ditch The Rest

Teachers have a student for only 7 hours a day, maybe even less if they teach in a half-day kindergarten program. With so much that needs to be accomplished each day, each month, each school year, it can be challenging to figure out how you will get everything accomplished. The trick is not to let yourself get overwhelmed with all of your tasks. And then you can figure out and plan your time so that you will accomplish what needs to be done.

Where to begin?

There are many methods and strategies available for teachers to use, it is easy to find ways of managing a classroom, discipline, lesson planning, etc. The critical factor here is to pick a system or create your own that will be easy for you to follow. Perhaps the very first step you need to take is to think about all the tasks you need to do during a school day…and then prioritize that list. At the top of your list should be the most important tasks, things that must be done daily.

When making this list of tasks, consider things such as communicating with parents, discipline, and administrative work such as entering grades into your school’s system. These are probably at the top of your list. You should also make sure your plans for student injuries, substitute plans, and school closings are up to date. These areas are most likely the most important ones in your day and the areas that need to be covered in case you are out, and a substitute needs to step in.

What should be next on that list?

Now that you have scheduled the most important tasks that need to be done daily without fail, you can look at those tasks that are a step below.  This is a great time and place in your master schedule to work on your lesson plans. It is also the perfect space to map out any professional development you are interested in so that you can build it into your schedule. You may also want to use this time to talk to your in-classroom support members or aides. Be sure that you are delegating work that can be handled by them. They are there to help you!

Time wasters

In our ever-connected world, it is very easy to get caught up in Pinterest and blogging hype. Without a doubt, there are some incredibly cute and elaborate classroom ideas floating around in the virtual world.

While some of these ideas and systems are great, ask yourself if they are vital for managing your time. If you can quickly prioritize your tasks and day, you will be able to accomplish a lot. There is really no need for elaborate setups, labeling, or organizing systems. Although they may be cute, if it costs you too much time in setting up and following through, it is not the right system for you.


Educators have a tremendous amount of responsibility each day. And with a limited amount of hours in each day it is imperative, for your students, and your own well being, that you schedule the most critical tasks first and then work backward down your list. It is as simple as writing it all down on paper, but it will be the perfect guide to accomplishing all you need to during the day.

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