It is said that failing to plan is planning to fail. Teachers need to put in enough time to prepare schedules and timetables. The importance of timetable in a teacher's life cannot be sidelined. What is a timetable?
A timetable is an effective tool used in a range of procedures in order to complete tasks within the allotted time. In schools, these routines make sure that students and teachers work in coordination. They can also range in terms of daily or exam-specific schedules.
In the teacher’s toolkit, a timetable is considered to be one of the most important aspects. It not only helps them achieve targets in their lesson plans, but also allows them to grade papers, create presentations, and develop teaching strategies to tap on their students’ highest potential. Moreover, it helps streamline the work progress, thereby helping identify areas of improvement and where to increase productivity.
But what makes an effective timetable for teachers? Here are seven ways in which you can create and use a timetable for teaching without any hassles!
Before you start to actually create a timetable, it is important to sit down and analyze your day-to-day activities. How many classes do you conduct per day? How long are these classes? Are there sufficient breaks between them? A good way to make sure that all the details are in place is to make lists. Note down all activities, from your first cup of coffee in the morning to the hours you dedicate in building lesson plans. Once you have done that, you can prioritize them according to your needs and allot suitable timelines within which you see yourself completing each task.
Set achievable targets
One of the common mistakes when making a timetable for teaching is to pack each day with too many objectives: don’t bite off more than you can chew. An ideal way to approach daily goals is to first visualize and understand how many targets you can possibly achieve in a day. Then, take 2-3 things off the list to create space for events that may take place in short notice or even occur as an emergency. Whether in a timetable for teachers or those in other professions, it is important to keep some leeway for unexpected situations that might take place in a day. At the same time, in case your classes are running longer than usual, or your students have one too many queries - the timetable should allow you sufficient time to manage these within your schedule.
Give yourself sufficient breaks
Breaks are not just opportunities to take a breather, they play a significant role in helping you perform better. Take the Pomodoro technique, for instance. A method developed by productivity expert, Francesco Cirillo, which alternates between 25 minutes of work and 5-minute breaks. The breaks help sustain concentration and allow us to work for longer periods of time. Sipping a cup of tea or sorting out your files during a break will allow you to get rid of stray thoughts, which often erode your ability to concentrate. So, make sure that your timetable is giving you enough time for breaks!
Use a database management tool
Database management tools can be quite nifty in fulfilling your time management objectives. They usually work in tabular formats, which can be handy in creating scheduled lists. With features that allow us to create multiple tabs, you can create daily, weekly, and monthly schedules that will have your entire year going smoothly! Options such as drag and fill prevent you from wasting too much time in typing every detail in, for instance, dates and timings. Saving your schedule as a template file will further reduce the time it takes to create a similar schedule in the future. If you are creating the time table for your class, you can make use of online teaching apps such as Teachmint where you can make the timetable in just a few clicks.
Print your spreadsheet
Once you have completed arranging your timetable for teaching, you should print a few copies of it. Keep these in areas that are visible to you throughout your work hours. You can either keep some of these on your desk or stick them on a bulletin board. Try not to put your timetable inside a folder or between your notes. You want to avoid losing it! You will find yourself referring to this sheet throughout the day. Printing multiple copies also means that you can mark quick changes with a pencil and later incorporate them in your digital spreadsheet.
Schedule events, tasks, and reminders using a calendar app!
In the post-COVID world, the solution to most of our problems comes from technology. Our smartphones and computers are flooded with applications and software that aim at enhancing productivity. In fact, there are several that help us automate timetables! However, one of the most efficient tools for teachers is calendar extensions, software, or apps. Once your tasks are synced with a calendar app, you can receive notifications on all of your devices and even receive emails reminding you of your scheduled events. Moreover, calendar apps make it very efficient to schedule meetings that are not part of your routine.
Be flexible and strategize alternatives
As we have established, timetables are infinitely beneficial tools for enhanced productivity and time management. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that no routine is set in stone and that there are various issues that can prevent us from following it unfailingly. There might be technical issues such as a power cut or network issues when the Wi-Fi is not working. One might also face personal emergencies or one of your students might encounter roadblocks - the variables are endless. For this reason, we need to create flexible timelines and be ready with alternate plans so that our work is not adversely affected by external and unexpected factors.
As teachers, you are faced with the task of molding the leaders of tomorrow. Hence, you must approach each day at a steady pace and with a calm demeanor. Nothing helps in achieving those two qualities better than a set routine, which is most efficiently established through a timetable. A timetable for teachers considers various factors that make the job enjoyable and at the same time dynamic irrespective of its challenges. With our seven tips exclusively curated for teachers, we hope that you can continue to flourish in this noble profession!