Managing your time and workload in your training year

Lucille RostronIn a teacher training year, at times it can feel like there is too much to do to fit into the day.  Initially, I found it difficult to fit in all my lesson planning and resourcing as well as switching between my ‘placement’ brain and ‘university’ brain to manage both the workloads of being in school and completing my PGCE course.  However, throughout the year so far, I have picked up some great tips from others to make this so much more manageable!

1. To do lists will be your saviour
I have an ongoing to do list on my computer, any anytime I think of a new task, I put it on the list straight away, to stop it from being forgotten (even if I don’t get round to it for a few days).  Then I’ll prioritise the list to make sure I’m spending my time first on the things that really matter.
2. Work Smart, not hard
My mentor gave me this advice very early on.  Think about ways that you can make your work more efficient, for example scanning pages of notes for your teaching evidence rather than retyping everything up on the computer.
3. Timetable weekly tasks
To help make sure I am spending enough time on both my school placement tasks and university work, I timetable Fridays completely off for university assignments.  I also timetable an hour each week where I collect all my teaching evidence.  I have found that setting aside specific time for recurring tasks makes it more likely to get them done, as well as stopping me from procrastinating/ spending more time than necessary on a certain task.
4. Use a teacher planner
I use a teacher planner to write for each day: what classes I have, lesson objectives, homework to be taken in/ set as well as other important reminders.  This helps to keep all this information in one place to see exactly what my week looks like at a glance.
5. There will always be more to do…
I think one of the main realisations I have had throughout my teacher training year so far is that there will always be more you could be doing.  Therefore, I have found it useful to set a ‘working day’ for myself, where I will stop working by a certain time and either exercise, spend time with family or just relax!  As my wise teacher educator once told me, you can’t fill up the cups of others if your own glass is empty.

By Lucille Rostron