Via Hey Teach!: 5 Time Management Tips from a Kindergarten Teacher
Use these simple tips now and increase the time you have to manage your kindergarten class.
As a kindergarten teacher, it can sometimes seem impossible to juggle the day-to-day responsibilities and still have time to even use the restroom. Let’s face it; there should be a handbook with time management tips for us! After all, the most valuable resource a teacher has is time: it’s the basis to which we engage students in active learning while meeting the goals and objectives set in place by the state. Time also plays a vital role in managing the daily responsibilities in life. Finding that balance between work, family, and one’s personal life is difficult.
I am by no means an expert on the topic of managing time effectively (just ask my parents). However, I hope that you can gain some insight from this post on some of the things that have worked for me. My goal is that you will leave here with at least one idea of what you can change in the coming year.
Leave Work at School
For my first year as a kindergarten teacher, I didn’t have a personal life. As a 22-year-old teacher, fresh out of college, I was eager to get started. It was my first “big” paycheck, and I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do in my classroom.
However, the reality of time management sunk in. I found myself feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and frustrated at the number of hours I spent at school on the weekends planning lessons, learning the curriculum, and prepping for the next week’s activities.
Thankfully, I had a fantastic mentor who guided, supported, and cared for me. She taught me the importance of leaving work at school and using my time wisely during my planning and lunch period. For prospective teachers, surround yourself with people who will provide support, guidance, and strength during the overwhelming times of your first year of teaching. Devote time to yourself and prioritize what matters the most to you and what will have the biggest impact on your students. As a kindergarten teacher, you work hard and deserve time for yourself!
Use Planning Time Wisely
From experience, I know how easy it can be to start talking to your colleagues during planning time. But you’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time if you use that time wisely. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your planning period.
- Shut your door so colleagues are less likely to enter your classroom to spark a conversation.
- Position your desk so you cannot easily be seen from the door.
- Make a checklist of the things you’d like to accomplish during your planning time and before you leave school.
- Work outside your classroom in an isolated location in the school. Teachers will be less likely to bother you if they can’t find you!
Keep Lessons Simple
As teachers, we often think that every single lesson needs to be a masterpiece and that we should always go above and beyond. Although it’s important to keep our students engaged and on their toes, planning a simple and fun lesson can be just as effective. For instance, I have my students pretend they’re getting on a boat to represent addition and subtraction problems. This is a great way for students to use their imagination and focus on the concept of addition and subtraction.
I do have two classroom transformations that I go above and beyond for my students. These two lessons include a punctuation police headquarters classroom transformation and my spy headquarters classroom transformation. You can use these ideas as inspiration but go for a simpler approach.
Staying organized is key to a great school year. We often spend too much time looking for supplies or papers. However, it’s never too late to get organized! Are you ready to take your classroom organization to the next level, or are you just starting to feel like your school supplies are caving in on you? I’ve been there! Take the time to get things in order and you’ll be thankful you did.
Here are some of my tried-and-true organizational tips for keeping your classroom and files organized:
- File your content by theme, subject, or month.
- Always organize materials for the following day prior to leaving school.
- Designate bins for each day of the week and sort your papers in each bin according to your lesson plans.
- Surround yourself with people who keep you focused and organized.
Focus on Today
As teachers, it’s easy to get caught up in what didn’t go well in a lesson or how things could have gone differently. Although it’s important to reflect on our teaching, it’s equally important to keep moving forward. Every day is a new day, so embrace it and allow your students to explore, discover, and investigate the world.