Are you flushed with a lot of work as a schoolteacher? The Eisenhower Matrix, popular in business administration, can help you manage your tasks better. Here’s how.
The ability to manage your work and time together is an art. A teacher knows the amount of work that goes behind giving a lesson. They have to break the concepts into smaller parts to make them easily understandable. Apart from the lesson, a teacher goes through a lot of side work that starts after a class is over.
How to make the mammoth amount of work manageable? The answer to the teacher's woes is the Eisenhower Matrix for teaching.
What is the Eisenhower matrix for teaching?
Eisenhower Matrix is a matrix that has helped leaders, entrepreneurs and officers manage their busy schedules with ease. This matrix helps in prioritizing the work and getting it done with ease.
The Eisenhower matrix for teaching is divided into four parts.
· The first part says the task that is both urgent and important should be done first.
· The second part says the task that is not urgent but is important should be scheduled.
· The third part says the task that is urgent but not important should be delegated to the subordinate.
· The fourth part says the task that is not important and not urgent should be eliminated.
With this, the Eisenhower Matrix looks like :
How does the Eisenhower matrix apply in teaching?
The above matrix can easily be applied in teaching as well.
1st quadrant: Urgent and important
The first quadrant focuses on both urgent and important tasks. As a teacher, the urgent tasks that need immediate action. These should be completed before any other tasks. These tasks are time-sensitive and cannot be left pending anymore.
On the other hand, important tasks are those that are not time-sensitive but still require your attention.
In the life of a schoolteacher, such tasks would be emergencies like:
· reporting to the school principal,
· contacting the parent/guardian of a child that is having trouble in class,
· tasks that have deadlines like completing important chapters first,
· preparing for a parent-teacher meet,
· interview preparation and such.
These tasks vary according to the circumstances at hand. It is upon the teacher to analyze which tasks are urgent and important and fall under this category.
Performing urgent and important tasks before other tasks provide a sense of relief and you are able to focus better on the other tasks then. Your head will be clear of them, and you will be back with the right frame of mind to complete the rest of the tasks.
2nd quadrant: Not urgent and important
The tasks that fall under this category are not urgent but still pose little importance. The tasks need not be done almost immediately but require your attention for a while.
In a teacher’s life, such not urgent and important tasks can be
· making lessons plans for the next lecture/next class,
· framing unique learning strategies,
· completing mandatory lessons as part of teacher training,
· building relations with students and others,
· self-reflection, self-care and
· evaluation of your students.
These are mostly the tasks that get side-lined and overlooked because they are not urgent. But do not forget they are still important and by streamlining your work process a teacher can actually pay attention to these tasks. These tasks may also help contribute towards productivity.
Performing such tasks will feel liberated and are the elixir of your quality of life. Such tasks should be scheduled to be done later in the week. However, promise yourself you will go by the set schedule.
3rd quadrant: Urgent and not important
These are so-called urgent tasks but do not contribute much to your work. Such tasks include replying to emails, attending meetings, trivial time-consuming paperwork like making attendance registers, collecting papers, supervising the school play rehearsals and so on.
Some of these tasks can be easily delegated i.e. the teachers can take the help of either students or other staff in the school to get it done on her behalf. For instance, asking one of the students to write the names of students, get the books from the teacher’s room, clean the class cupboard or blackboard or anyway the tasks can be completed without indulging you thoroughly.
Some of these tasks when delegated actually help others to be more productive. Moreover, you can’t be present everywhere and for everyone. These are the tasks that you agree to when you really shouldn’t be doing. You delegate such tasks to people/students you feel fit for the job.
The best way to handle sub such is by streaming, delegating or simply reducing them.
4th quadrant: Not urgent and not important
Well, there are certain tasks in life that take the most of your time unwillingly even though they are the least important of all. The best example that all can relate to is scrolling through social media platforms.
Refraining from not spending your precious time on such tasks is a real challenge. However, these not urgent and not important tasks should be the last thing to do on your to-do list. Some of the tasks that fall under this quadrant include:
• Taking overly long tea/snack breaks
• Getting caught up in irrelevant reading material
• Attending school events while you have a class
• Spending time on trifle matters like changing labels, deciding on morning prayer etc.
Such tasks take much more time than required. Try to eliminate such tasks to make time for more productive tasks.
This was all about the Eisenhower Matrix for teaching. It is always a bit difficult to implement a new regime in life. However, once you start to handle tasks according to the Eisenhower Matrix, you as a schoolteacher will be able to feel the difference. It may not come in handy as you start following it but gradually the results will be visible.