Thursday 11 February 2016

Saving Time or Cutting Corners?

If teachers could save time on their everyday routine tasks then inevitably there could be more life in the balance.

I love finding time-saving techniques but in many cases my methods of doing things backfire on me. Last night I tried to move the table without first moving the chair. The chair fell on my foot and hurt me and then I had to bend over and pick it up. It would have been quicker to have just moved it in the first place. This is often the case with attempted corner-cuts. The old saying goes 'More haste, less speed'.

When looking for realistic time-saving methods you will inevitably make mistakes and end up doing some things twice. But in the long run you'll find some truly effective shortcuts.

Last week I did a small thing which has already impacted and saved time. I made a list of all the resources (websites, books, downloads) we use in our maths teaching as some weeks we forget to check all of them for suitable ideas and activities. This week whilst planning we referred to the list and found some great resources for our next week of teaching. In previous weeks, we invariably ended up making our own resources, therefore increasing the amount of time we spend in preparation. In making a simple list to refer to, we saved a lot of time.

It's worth noting, however, that sometimes a great deal of time can be spent searching for the ideal resource, the one you've imagined in your head, when in fact it would have been quicker to just set about making it from scratch. On other occasions when you pick a pre-made resource in an attempt to save time, you can end up with something which isn't up to the job so the children don't learn and you end up repeating the lesson using a resource you had to spend a bit of time making. It's no good cutting corners sometimes; you end up spending more time on a job.

For most teacher tasks there will be a hack - a way to do it more quickly and more efficiently. Make sure that you look for those time-saving techniques in everything you do but be aware of the corner-cuts; they may end up wasting your time.

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