Like most teachers, my schedule is very hectic to say the least. I teach 11 different classes and each class meets three or five times a week, depending on grade level. I don’t have my own classroom and am constantly on the move. In total, I work with over 250 students in any given week. That’s 250 different personalities, different needs, and different proficiency levels. So how do I keep stress to a minimum? Read on to find out!
Tip #1: Get yourself a planner, and USE IT!
My planner is my holy grail. Without it, I am completely lost as a teacher. I write down everything in my planner. Every year, I treat myself to the Erin Condren teacher planner. I want my planner to be bright and exciting to look at. Afterall, I’m going to be using it every day! Receive $10 off when you buy using my link!
The monthly view is where I can write down things like meetings, assemblies and school vacations. I transfer all of these dates to the weekly view as they come up so I won’t miss anything.
The weekly view is where I write down my lesson plans. This is the page that’s bookmarked for me. Right now, a physical planner is better for me than anything computer-based because I can easily jot down notes and reminders for myself on the side. This brings me to my second tip which is…
Tip #2: Use Google Slides to document your lessons!
I recently saw a teacher using Google Slides as a sort of menu for her classes and I decided to try it out for myself. The next day, I created a slideshow of the lesson I was teaching to each grade. I projected the slideshow in the front of the room so both my students and I could see them. The slides were simple. One said “Vamos a leer un libro” (We are going to read a book) with a picture of a boy reading a book. Another slide said “Vamos a cantar” (We are going to sing) with a picture of music notes.
With the click of a mouse, my students and I knew exactly what was coming next. A plus for me is that my students are reading Spanish every day as part of the lesson! I am staying in the target language more than before.
I love using Google Slides because everything lives in the cloud. All I need to do when I enter a classroom is log in to my Google account and everything is there for me. I am looking forward to next year when I’ll only need to tweek the slides from this year.
Tip #3: Embrace the Laser Pointer
This is another tip I picked up from a teacher I observed recently. If you’re going to adopt the GoogleSlides method, you’re going to need this lazer pointer presenter or an equivalent. With this, I am able to change slides from anywhere in the room. It is fantastic! Before, I would be chained to the computer at the front of the room. I couldn’t easily monitor my students behavior and, at times, they took advantage of this.
My classroom management has drastically improved because of this tiny little controller and yours will too. I’m serious.
I use a LOT of visuals when I am teaching Spanish. It is easier for me to maintain 90% TL when I am using visual aids in the classroom. I can use the laser pointer from anywhere in the room to point out something on the board. I don’t need to run back and forth to the board, tiring myself out and creating a more stressful classroom environment. I can move around the room how I want, helping students along the way.
If this hasn’t convinced you enough, think of how excited your students will be when they find out you have a laser pointer and think about how much fun it will be to use it in your teaching!
Tip #4: Organize your Email Daily
This next tip applies to anyone, not just teachers. Most email pages allow users to create categories or folders to organize emails but a lot of people don’t use them. I started using these two years ago to filter any and all work emails I receive and I have never looked back. When I filter my emails, nothing gets lost in the shuffle or slips through the cracks. I explain in more depth how this works in my post Simplifying Email and Becoming More Efficient. Check it out!
Tip #5: Eat that Frog!
I saw this image on Instagram recently and fell in love with its message. I have started to apply this mentality to my work and personal life and it has (so far) been successful. I am happier, calmer, and able to get more done in less time when I decide to just do it rather than wait. I am the queen of procrastination and always put things off until the last minute. This leaves me feeling stressed and anxious. If I need to photocopy something for work, I’ll wait until right before the class to do it. It’s not that I don’t remember I need to photocopy, it’s that I know there is still time to do it. But that whole time I am not doing it, I am thinking about how I need to get the photocopying done and it keeps me from focusing on whatever other task I’ve decided to do instead of photocopying. When I finally get around to it, I get anxious that something is going to go wrong.
In this example, I worry that I’m going to find the copy machine is broken, or there is a line, or maybe I’m going to run out of paper half way through the job. These worries and anxieties can be applied to any task, business or personal. Grading, calling a parent, making lunch for the next day, laundry….you name it! We put these things off and then stress about doing them last minute. Instead of waiting, do these things first! Eat that frog!
I hope these tips help to relieve unnecessary stress in your work life. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading! Have other tips you want to share? Leave them in the comments below!
Interested in receiving email updates when I post new content? Subscribe to my blog today!