At the start of a new school year, we all have too much work to do. It can be tempting to focus on paperwork that we are required to complete instead of our students. When teachers do this, it sends a powerfully negative message to all of our students.If you have an inkling that you may be one of those too-busy and distracted teachers, try this self-assessment from the professional development guide to the First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide to see how effectively you put your students first.
TEACHER SELF-ASSESSMENT: STUDENTS SHOULD COME FIRST!
Use this self-assessment to help determine just how distracted you may be in class. Use these questions to reflect on how well you stay focused on your students while you are in class.
- Do you grade papers in class instead of working with students?
- Do you leave your cell phone on while you are supervising students?
- Do you check e-mail during class?
- Do you conduct personal business or deal with your family responsibilities during class?
- Are you distracted by routine paperwork tasks such as book counts, attendance forms, or parent contact documentation?
- Do you spend class time on extracurricular activities such as clubs orsports that you sponsor?
- Do you confer with other teachers while you are supervising students?
To combat the tendency that many busy teachers have to be distracted during class and to make sure that you put your students first, consider these remedies:
- Learn to ask for help and to delegate whenever possible. Your students can often offer valuable assistance to make routine tasks quicker and easier.
- Arrive at school a few minutes early and stay a few minutes late.
- Plan ahead so that you can use your planning time at school as efficiently as possible.
- Establish routines that will allow you to maximize the time that you have available for the tasks that make your classroom run efficiently.