One of the biggest challenges of teaching is finding time. Any teacher, new or seasoned, will tell you this. Classroom time management is a skill all teachers use to make the most of their time with their students. Let’s explore some ways to make time spent in the classroom the most effective for everyone!
Set Clear Procedures
When you and your students enter the classroom, it should be clear to everyone why you are there: to learn! Setting the stage in the beginning of the school year will establish effective classroom time management routines right away. Your students and you will know what to expect each day. Educator and speaker, Harry Wong got it right when he said, “The number one problem in the classroom is not discipline; it is the lack of procedures and routines.” (Wong & Wong, 1998, p. 167). Here are some classroom time management ideas to help you stage an organized and effective learning space :
- Dedicate a space to post what is important: daily assignments, objectives, announcements, resources and homework. Students will know where to look without having to ask.
- Create a seating chart or designated cubby area for each student. They will know exactly where to go and where to put their things upon arrival.
- Establish routines for the beginning of each class. Begin with a daily drill or journal question while you take attendance.
Structure Transition Time
To limit wasted time during transitional periods, foster a consistent routine so students know what is coming. Consider listing it on the board: drill, review, group work, discussion, exit ticket, etc.
Saving time on technology transitions is a life saver for classroom time management. Make sure students know where and how to access the required resources. Establish login codes, passwords, and bookmark pages. Have a classroom hub in Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams that lists all the accessibility details for your students. Be sure to dedicate instructional time to introduce students to navigate any new platform or resource so they can work out any kinks, ask questions, and get comfortable. This is a classroom time management hack that will save you valuable time!
If we have learned anything from this past year and a half, it is that we must continue to maintain our ability to adjust and be flexible. This remains true for the pre- and post- pandemic classroom. We won’t know what next school year will look like until we’re there but, plan to keep an open mind- daily and throughout the year. Your classroom time management may take a few hits as you get back into a routine (new normal? old normal?) so do yourself and your students a favor by being willing to take whatever comes your way. 2021-2022 school year, you got this!