Tag Archives: Time Management

Wise Words of Yoda

6 Jan


“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”


Like many people on the planet I went to Star Wars over the break. And afterwards I went back and watched parts of some of the previous movies.This quote from Yoda really stood out for me. It might be a mantra for many this year.

This quote is all about developing a lets do it attitude. I’m sure you can make up a thousand of good excuses for your procrastination. And thousands of excuses why you failed to achieve your own personal goals. But it isn’t any good.

If you feel there’s something wrong with your time-management or organizational skills and you cannot work in a productive way, you’d better make use of tools that ex-procrastinators advise. They help staying self-disciplined and efficient. I know it is one thing to identify what is off course.  The key is to do something about it.

How are you going get back on course in 2016? Have you answered the question is there a better way?


The Race Against Time

27 Jun

Time is something we can’t ignore. Time is something we can’t get more of. Time is the enemy we all must endure. Time can never be defeated, and how you use it makes all the difference. In schools we need to be clever in the way we use it

We asks questions such as….

– Will you spend the extra time it takes to speak with a child to find out why he/she has been struggling lately? (what will your other students be doing at this time…)

– Will you take the long way just so you can say “thank you” to that colleague who really helped you out by going the extra mile? (will you need to get up earlier than usual for this to happen…)

– Will you notify the parent of a student who has shown great improvement recently? (how do you decide which parents to call and which parents not to call…)

– Will you complete all the necessary paperwork/documentation that is being requested of you? (which of your other duties will receive less time while you complete these tasks…)

As educators we all lead busy lives and we all have more on our plates than ever before. As our responsibilities and expectations increase, the only thing that remains constant is the amount of time we have. This post is not meant to be a pity party for educators, but rather a reminder that the choices we make every day on how we utilize our time have an impact much longer than we might realize.

Every time we make the decision on what to do or which task to complete first, we are making a decision that involves time. Guard your time and prioritize your time. Focus your time on what must be done to effect the greatest good, and never take your time for granted. Most importantly, recognize that when you decide how to use your time, you are also deciding what you don’t have time for.

How do you prioritize your time?

Web Tips

3 Nov

When preparing lessons or staff meetings I often spend hours sorting through videos, in search of a high quality one.   Check out the following:

YouTube for Teachers : A collection of playlists of videos that align with common educational standards, organized by subject and grade. These playlists were created by teachers for teachers so you can spend more time teaching and less time searching.

YouTube Education: An area within the larger YouTube site that restricts access to only videos from well-known organizations like StanfordPBS and TED as well as from up-and-coming YouTube partners with millions of views, like Khan Academy, in addition the TV3 and TVNZ websites are rather good.

Google also has a Google For Teachers‘ Section with advice on how to search more effectively with Google.

The site offers quick access to resources for:

Using the Google Apps

Creating and using YouTube videos in your classroom

They are just getting started with a  Lesson Plan Search Engine but it needs a bit more development before it will be particularly useful.

TED – Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing site has the same overall theme as the TED conferences but has  ideos geared specifically for use in the classroom.

Leadership Lesson from the Week

Over the course of the year in my NAPP inquiry and in this blog I have written about a range of issues but the central theme has been about learning and teaching in a contemporary and connected world. The more I reflect on this, the more I recognise that improving student learning is about improving teacher quality.  It’s not pie in the sky stuff, it’s achievable when we get teachers working and learning together, opening their practice up to critical reflection and setting high benchmarks for themselves and their students. In this process I have found it useful to use the student voice and ask hard questions.

I know this has been the road less travelled in our profession for the past hundred years and I suppose it can be difficult to imagine how teacher practice could change.  Opening your teaching up to comment is a huge risk but when done in the spirit of continuous improvement, the rewards can be great.

Professional Reading

Clyde Piercy Sabbatical Report 2012

On the subject of student voice I enjoyed this report this week. The subject to explore the extension and building of the role of student voice when building ‘learning – focused’ relationships. In an inclusive and integrated curriculum environment, what are the successful strategies in engaging learners right from the new entrants in building their ability to own their own learning and have their voices heard in the development of their school’s curriculum and culture?


Lessons from Triathlon

22 Sep


Last year, as many of you may know, I took started the journey toward a marathon which I completed last March. Now I am heading towards a half ironman and believe it or not it has helped me as an educator.

It’s only in the last couple of months that I’ve really appreciated some of the analogies I could draw between by experiences training and facing the everyday issues in schools. Having being involved in sport all my life I have always taken from sport and tried to apply it to life.

1. Time is precious

There are so many hours in a day and you can’t waste them. This year I have spent less time sitting wasting time and being more efficient. This time management has made me better at what I do. It has become more about quality rather quantity of hours at work.

2. Plan my week

With training I make notes on the whiteboard at home about what is required. The same process at school has meant that again I have become more efficient. The unplanned such as the parent phone call or that upset student does no longer throw the day out.

3. The harder the session the better I feel

I love the idea of get out there and punishing or pushing yourself. The thrill you get from carving it up down the road is awesome. The sense of accomplishment I am finding is a buzz. So when pursing my own goals I take this on board. If something seems too hard, it’s probably worth doing. If something seems too easy, it probably isn’t. I pass this onto my students.

4. Self-reflection

Being out training by yourself is a great time to reflect. Some of my best lessons or ideas for the College have been solved or conceived while flying down a hill or running down a road.

5. Don’t stop ’till you get enough

Often you need to slow right down to handle the toughest parts. Some time I need to slow down to a walk or paddle. But I don’t stop even though my initial instinct may be to do so. As soon as you stop that’s it go home. Momentum helps you maintain my focus. Any progress is good progress because as soon as you stop, you fall.

3. Keep focused: what is your goal?

Its hard swimming in open water as there is no line to follow. You need to keep reevaluating. When competing or training in a new area the body is constantly challenging itself. Where to next? When pursuing goals, I have to keep on the targets. I have learnt through my own inquiry this year it is about the process not the result. Some days it is tough but other days the entire team is on board. It may be a matter of years before I achieve an ironman but it will happen. But the process is important. Regularly reminding myself of what I want to achieve – and why –helps me to keep going.


Work Smart – Stay Sane

21 Jun


This week we are still in the middle of reports and various projects that occur in the second term of a school year.   The best advice I was once given was not to take it home with you, where possible. Trying to live by this advice has been hard but it has kept me, my family and friends sane.

Once I could not believe that I could still be an effective teacher and not take home any papers to mark, lesson plans to write or parents to call. How can teachers not take any work home?   That’s part of the unwritten portions of a teacher’s contract – to be willing to work long hours for which you are hardly ever reimbursed.  The advice, not to take work home, was radical but I was determined to see if it would work.   I decided I was no longer going to take my work home.

After some thought and having put the advice into practice, I thought I would share some of my hints and practices with you.   I hope they will be of some use.

1.I pace my marking/report writing.

I decided that I had to take control of the amount of marking and work smarter.   So I devised a plan that would let me handle the amount of work, I had to mark without losing my mind.   Once a term I have a lengthy writing assignment to mark. To better help me mark those essays, I mark the students as they go along in the assignment.   I call it conferencing.  It serves as a kind of double whammy, if you like, as I then have evidence of a student’s progress  . When the final drafts are due I usually have around 100 papers to mark within a 1-2 week period. So I take the amount of papers to mark and divide it by the days in the week (100 papers divided by 10 school days) and the sum is the amount of papers I need to mark on a daily basis to meet my goal.

2. Planning.

Everyone gets a planning period, but unfortunately we, as teachers, are usually called to do other things.   Knowing this, twice a week I close my office door and request not to be disturbed (within reason).   It’s amazing what I can get done.

3. Emails.

I only check my email three times a day. 7:00am, 10:00am and 4:30pm. You would be amazed what a time waster this otherwise can be.

The following helped me with email.


4. I use extra work time at school.

On those late nights e.g. socials, talent nights etc. I use the in between time to catch up on work.

5. I lesson plan during the summer.

During the summer, I carve out 1-2 hours a day to work on unit plans.  By the time summer is over, I have plenty of units that I will use during the school year.   Of course, things change and I have to modify, but I find when I can begin the school year with units already complete, it makes things easier during the year. All my work eLearning material is then set and saves time later. I use this time to work on Learning Plans.

I hope these tips help you as they sure have helped me work smarter and more efficiently and stay sane.


Professional Reading:

This a great piece for reflection for your next staff meeting.



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