I put in my last blog post how I was trying to create more family time and less work time. This is my fourteenth year teaching and I feel like I have spent just as much outside the classroom working on things as I have inside the classroom teaching my kiddos.
My husband (a jr.high/middle school teacher) has told me numerous times that if you do things---things are expected. HA! ;) It seems like in education the demands keep piling on, and we get less and less time to do things. In my district, we do what's called "Connect Time." We are to collaborate with other teachers in our grade level and plan for inventions. We meet during the day (while kids are at specials) two times a week. We really have no planning period other than the time before school starts (we report 30 minutes before students arrive). It's rough trying to find time to get it all done in the day. Sometimes, you just don't. My family time and me time is more important. I don't want to say I'm one of those teachers that work 9-3, because school is constantly on my mind, and granted, I create things to share on my blog, or on TpT, but I don't "have to". I choose to do that, in my own time. I want to make things fun and meaningful for my students.....something other than worksheets to do during guided groups. With that said, I have to find a healthy balance.
I'm going to share with you a few other ways I have saved myself time so I can come home and enjoy family time/me time. You can take or leave these tips--you may find you already do them---you may find that it's not a great idea. This works for me.
Tip 1) Eating in the Room:
Tip 2) Cleaning Up:
This looks like my classroom sometimes. We have great custodians, but I hate them thinking I'm a slob! Occasionally (days when my room is a TOTAL disaster), I play a game called "Special Piece of Trash." Creative title, huh? I've been doing it for a few years and I'm really not sure where it first originated from. Basically I skim around the classroom floor until I found the "special" piece. I say, "One, two, three, go!" Students have to walk, no talking, no crawling under desks to find the piece I deemed to be special. That person is awarded with a treat (candy, no homework pass, etc). Sometimes, if the class is really awesome at doing the clean up, I give everyone a treat. I also will try to make sure everyone gets a fair chance at finding the special piece. This game has helped me get my room back in order, and keeps me from picking stuff up when I come back in at the end of my day. The kids are always asking to play! :)
Tip 3) Packing Up:
Tip 4): Arrive Early? Uhm,---see below
Tip 5) Organization:
I am somewhere in the middle of these two photos:
I have found that if I keep my desk tidy, and papers in a pile for grading and passing out, I don't get as overwhelmed. We do basal tests on Fridays (and spelling tests). One thing I like to do during that time, as I'm walking around the room and monitoring, is take down that week's words (high frequency words, spelling cards), and clean up stations. I put all our stations back inside their baggie. Then I put out the new week's words....new spelling cards, new sight words, and place out new stations for the next week. I also put up our guided reading books and lay the new ones on my reading table.
I have to use the most of my time at school, because when I come home I sometimes feel like this: