4 Time Management Tips to Combat the Spring Slump
February and March are arguably the toughest months to be a teacher. The kids are getting antsy, but summer still seems like a distant thought. The momentum you built in the first semester never really started again after winter break, and to top it all off, you just had Valentine’s Day which was either a hormonal nightmare or sugar nightmare, depending on what grade level you teach.
Don’t despair! Recharge your teacher batteries with these time management tips:
- Get a calendar you like
If you started the year organized, by now you may have let your good habits fade. Where do you keep track of your deadlines? If your answer is “in my head or on a garden of multicolored post-it notes” commit to getting a better system of organization. Start using that calendar you bought in August, take a moment to sync your work calendar to your phone, etc…When your deadlines are organized, that frees up your mental space for your teaching!
- Stick to your recruitment plan
When you’re feeling a bit burned out, it’s easy to let recruitment efforts slide. Unfortunately, this will only bite you later after you’ve come out of your slump and ready to start another great year. Pull out your calendar and commit to four actions you’ll do in the next month to increase your recruitment for next year. Whether its visiting a feeder school, or reaching out to parent groups, recruitment takes time and proactive planning.
- Go sign 5 pieces of paper
Paperwork is a necessary evil of the teaching profession. Many of those papers end up in the black hole of your desk saved for “later,” or until the deadline is a week past and you have an angry voicemail from your secretary. Take 5 minutes and sign 5 pieces of paper. Maybe it’s a field trip request, a benefits form, an IEP, whatever it is, I bet you’ve been putting it off and in a few minutes you could have it completed and off your mind. Never underestimate the stress relief of removing small tasks from your to-do list.
- Reconnect with your “Why”
Don’t let a stressful week undo all the positive reasons you got into teaching. Why do you come to work every day? You may wonder how in the world you’re going to accomplish the mountain of tasks before you, but when we reconnect with our “Why” the “How” becomes that much easier.
Next time you’re at Teacher Happy Hour, after the obligatory 30 minutes of venting, be the one who brings up the positives that have happened. Think of it as making a time investment in positivity instead of negativity. We have to work together After all, every job has its frustrations, but the rewards of music teaching are unmatched in any other profession.
About the author:
Dr. Emily Schwartz taught band and general music in Mesa Public Schools before teaching music courses at Arizona State and Ottawa University. She is a speaker, and author of “Life in Cut Time: Time Management for Music Teachers.”
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.
Kristen Rencher. March 12, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)