Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Tip

I was debating on calling today's blog a tip, or a tell it like it is, but tip sounded  more positive.

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:
Yes, I have learned to eat quickly, or grade papers in front of the computer while eating my lunch.  I work through my 30 (more like 23 minute due to duties) lunch time.  I rarely go to the teacher's lounge.  I found that if I work through lunch, I can get somethings accomplished and it saves me less after school time.

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:
My students sit in tables, and our lockers are off of our main hallway by the office.  I call a table at a time to pack up.  Our busers leave earlier than others, so there's about a 10 minute gap for packing up and just unwinding.  It takes ALL. TEN. MINUTES. for some of my students to pack up.  I play youtube videos/songs (Big Number Song, Phonics Songs, Contraction Song, Skip Counting Songs, etc.) as they are coloring in their behavior chart and packing up.  This keeps them calm.  I check the folders as I move their clips back to green for the next day.  (During this time, I also move their lunch choice men back to the original spot, and move centers around for the next day).  A few minutes here and there adds up in the classroom.

Tip 4):  Arrive Early?  Uhm,---see below
Yes, that penguin was me....kinda.  I found when I would go early, I would piddle and talk and never really got anything accomplished.   I have found I can do just as well if I spend 15 minutes after work cleaning up, and making my copies for the next day.  Some weeks I am so organize using my file organizer for each day of the week.  In the winter, I just do one day at a time.  I never know what I will get accomplished in a week (snow days, or delays sometimes happen).  Having my copies on my desk the night before is a great time saver in the mornings for me, and also if I am in need of a sub unexpectedly.  Again, 10-15 minutes after the kids leave and I'm done with the copier for the next day, and have all my pages returned to their original folders.

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:




17 comments:

  1. I totally get you with having no time at school. My school has specials twice a week and we are expected to be planning as a grade level while the kids are away so there's no time to play catch up with other things and on top of that teachers have to eat with kids at lunch AND go out with them for recess :( I love my kids...my school...sometimes not so much

    Sarah

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    1. Do we work in the same building??? :) It's so hard. I think we need to find that healthy balance and not let work consume us! :)

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  2. DeAnne, I agree! Time at school is soooo full there is barely a minute to ........well you know. Our team time has to be on our own time by contract. So we are after school or super early to school :( During school is a constant run....right now with the amount of interventions going on.....it's nuts! The best advice I can give you.....take time for your family and don't feel guilty!!! God gave you a beautiful family - love on them and enjoy them! Believe me....they grow up way too fast!!! Again....I want to thank you for all the wonderful things you create!! You make my job easier!!!

    Linda

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    1. :) thanks so much Linda! Family time is very important to me. When I wish for snow days, it's because I love being in the kitchen with them! :) WE can do this!! We will do this! :)

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  3. I love reading your blog. At work, I need my breaks and lunch to get away from my classroom. I work a lot at home but both my children are now in college. I find that I can come home and talk to my husband while he cooks dinner (yes he cooks dinner) while I work at the wonderful workspace he built for me. I admire your very productive use of time.

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    1. Aww, thanks Cecilia! You are too sweet! :) My hubby does a lot of things around the house, and cooks a lot while I'm blogging. We now try to do our meals together as a family--my ten year old and 6 year old are in there cooking right along with us. :) Love my family time! :)

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  4. I have been trying to do many of these same things. Last semester I felt like I spent 30 minutes after school every day trying to clean things up and then the next morning I still came early to prepare for the new day. I am really trying to use every second of my day to get it all done! It's amazing how quickly things pile up! Ahh. Good luck and great tips! : )

    Yeehaw! Teaching in Texas

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    1. Thanks! :) They probably aren't ideal for everyone, but I have to remember that my family is and should always be my number one! :) Things do pile up quickly, and I need to stay organized. This really helps me out :)

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  5. Excellent post DeAnne, I definitely need to follow these tips. I am guilty of wasting a lot of time talking after school. I've been know to sit in another room talking to a teacher while they are working! How dumb is that? Thanks for the tips!

    Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

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    1. Thanks Kelly!! I know we've talked about making more time for family! :) You know they are my number ones! :)

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  6. Time management is a struggle for me. I need to pick up some of your multi-talented-ness skills during the day. My favorite part though is that picture at the end. I feel the same way about my couch!! Ha ha!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

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    1. I don't know if it's a talent---as much as a NEED to find my balance for my kiddos. It's something that I wish teachers would do more often---leave it behind (The work that is). It's so hard to find that balance in life if you let it consume you. No stress this way ;)

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  7. Hilarious post!!! Love it and the pics of all the kitties. Thanks!

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  8. What a fantastic post!! I know we all feel like this sometimes and this was great to read! I must admit that I am a stalker of your blog and enjoy reading it! I've just started my own blog and looking to have a huge giveaway! Head over and have a look!

    www.misspeachsclass.blogspot.com

    Sally xx

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    1. Thanks so much Sally! It's so hard to be able to leave it behind at school. I wish more people would do that once in a while---and create time for themselves! :)

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  9. I really appreciated this post. I am a first year teacher and seem to have a million things to do. Thanks for you're advice and all you're freebies. It makes my life easier! The cat on the couch is how i feel every Friday!

    Laura

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