Our top tips for improving your time management skills
Regardless of whether you’re filling a temporary role or a fixed-term contract, time management is one of the essential components of a smooth, stress-free work life. Time management isn’t something we’re born with; it’s something that takes time and experience to hone.
That’s why this month we wanted to explore some of the practical steps you can take for improving your time management skills to help your transition into a new supply teaching role.
Organise your day by priorities
Before starting your day as an agency worker, it’s important to understand whether the class or group already has a set work schedule or plan in place. This means that you’re able to start your role with minimal disruption to their daily routine. You should be advised by the school or nursery about planning that has been left. You will also be advised by your agency before you set off if there is no planning.
When you arrive, you should be advised about any children in your class or group with additional needs and be introduced to the support assistants if there are any. You should also be shown where the staffroom and toilets are.
If your supply agency has given you a guide on the school or nursery ahead of time, then review this carefully. It should include information on the location of the setting, the main contact names who you can refer to for help, any health and safety information, and sometimes even marking policies, behaviour management policies and a general overview of the school or nurseries ethos and culture. It can also be useful to look at their website.
If you are not given this information, ensure that you ask for it.
Remember the “Two Minute Rule”
In the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, he explains that we should apply the two-minute rule to everything we do. For example, if a task only takes two minutes to complete, then get it done first.
Whether this is answering emails, checking in with other members of staff, completing admin requests or taking the register, it doesn’t matter. If you’re able to get the smaller tasks out of the way first, then you have more time to focus on the needs and education of your pupils.
Take advantage of downtime between lessons
You might not believe it, but you may have more downtime than you think, especially if you’re taking on a role over a set period of time.
For example, if you’re covering a lesson where pupils have a test planned, then the time when they’re answering questions could be used for creating additional lesson plans.
Even if it’s just one piece of admin or one email answered, it’s a task that you won’t have to do at the end of the day.
Plan for potential disruptions
Whilst there are potential disruptions that can’t be planned for such as a flu outbreak, one of the easiest ways to manage time effectively in a classroom is to plan around the needs of pupils.
If an Agency Worker understands the needs of certain pupils beforehand, whether that’s additional attention or certain teaching styles, they can adjust their teaching accordingly.
By learning about students before they enter the classroom, teachers can create a plan of action to avoid triggers and stop distractions early.
Practice mindfulness of what you do and your wellbeing
When you’re going from one placement to the next, it can often become overwhelming and you can lose sight of why you chose to do agency work in the first place.
That means it’s important to focus on the tasks that you enjoy, the placements that have given you the most satisfaction and if needed, time off so that you can recharge and relax.
To streamline your next supply role and make sure you make the most of your time with the school or nursery, take a look at the articles we’ve written below:
- Prepare ahead of time: activities to fill free time during lessons
- What you need to prepare for your first supply teacher role
- Five tips for helping introverted students
In summary, if you are able to effectively plan, ask for help, and take time off to relax and recharge, then you’ll find that your time is used more effectively. If you’re struggling, then there’s nothing wrong with asking for help from the other staff in the school or nursery, or your supply agency.
Remember, if you need more information on anything you’ve read in this article, or would like to discover more about working for a supply agency, get in touch with our team today. They’re more than happy to talk you through all available options.