One of the greatest challenges for student teachers is time management. Managing a classroom while imparting knowledge at the same time is tough. If you’re a student teacher, you can be sure of one thing on your first day: there is never enough time.
Time management plays a big part in almost everything you’ll do in the classroom. According to Scholastic, once a student begins teaching, he or she often has less time than envisioned. Interruptions, lunch, recess and other periods when you’re not actually teaching can scarf up at least 27 percent of the day in an elementary school classroom.
Here are 10 tips to help you manage your time as a student teacher:
1 – Keep a Calendar
Whether you rely on a paper one or use your computer, you need a calendar to record important dates and times. Student Teaching in Special Education indicates that having a calendar handy is much easier than having to locate and open your planner throughout the day.
2 – Figure Out What You Can Control
You might be teaching for an entire school day or just for a few hours designated by your master teacher. Either way, you need to find out which aspects of time you can control. For example, can you ask the office to screen unexpected visitors to minimize interruptions? If you have an elementary classroom, will the master teacher let you flip the schedules for social studies and math?
3 – Use Homework to Extend Practice Time
Assigning homework doesn’t just to let parents know what their kids do all day. It’s an opportunity for more practice time on a learning concept and allows more time for classroom instruction.
4 – Set a Positive Mood for Tomorrow
It’s much more difficult to manage your time when attendance is poorer than you’d like. One way for a student teacher to get students to look forward to the next school day is taking a minute to explain what the class will be doing the next day. Creating an upbeat expectation helps kids settle down more quickly the next morning.
5 – Schedule Restroom Breaks Efficiently
You’re half an hour behind, and Sarah needs to use the restroom. John and Jeff’s hands go up as soon as she returns. Scheduling restroom breaks for elementary students can help you better manage time in the classroom.
6 – Give Specific Directions
Student teachers should concentrate on giving the class specific directions to avoid confusion and wasting time. “Get ready for your social studies quiz” is ambiguous. “It’s time for the social studies quiz, so put your books and papers in your desk and get out a pencil” is much clearer.
7 – Computerize Everything You Can
Your school might require that certain student teacher responsibilities like parent contacts and grades be automated. If so, you can go a step beyond by using a computer for your lesson plans, worksheets and tests. If you don’t have access to a database of student information, make your own. Use it to create name tags, birthday cards, labels for student supplies and files, locker tags and class lists.
8 – Use Internet Lesson Plan Sites
Assuming your assigned teacher has no objection, familiarize yourself with Internet lesson plan sites for the grade level and subject matter you’re teaching. Using the samples provided or customizing them is great time management.
9 – Keep a To-Do List
In addition to lesson plans, you’ll need a running list of what you have to do each day. Prioritize each task and label it accordingly, such as 1, 2, 3 or A, B, C. Whether it’s electronic or on paper isn’t important. What counts is checking off each item as you complete it and making a list for the next day before you leave school.
10 – Use Project Checklists
They’re useful for older elementary students. Kids can check their own work and take responsibility for their learning. They also free up some student teacher time.
Master teachers are often wizards at classroom organization. They’re also frequently the best source of information on time management for student teachers because of their familiarity with procedures at the assigned school.