4 Important Ways to Help a Grieving Student

4 Important Ways to Help a Grieving Student

A guest post by Meghan Belnap


As a teacher, watching over the mental and emotional health of your students can be difficult. Students who face tragedy are often in need of comfort and extra support, but it can often feel as if your options are limited in regards to how to help. 20 percent of all kids will grow up experiencing the death of someone close to them by adulthood. Even though helping a student through grief is the primary responsibility of parents, rather than teachers, students will look to their teachers as authority figures for guidance and sympathy. Here are just four big ways that you, as a teacher, can help your students through a painful loss. 

Making sure basic needs are met

When children, teens, and young adults experience grief, they can often become withdrawn and lethargic, lacking the energy or even motivation to meet many of their basic needs. Eating, especially, can be hard for them to make a priority, as anxiety caused by grief can constrict the stomach and make food unappealing. One way you can check up on these students is to talk to the cafeteria staff to see if the student is getting lunch. Consider keeping some light, easily digestible snacks in your desk to offer them before or after class if you find they are neglecting to eat at lunchtime, and be aware of any extreme weight loss that may necessitate action from the parents. 

Consult with Parents and Guardians

Being able to openly discuss their feelings is a major part of the grieving process, but children and teens can feel worried about bringing up depressing or uncomfortable topics. Make sure that the student knows your office hours when they can come and talk to you if they need a compassionate ear, and make sure they are aware of the services offered by your school counselor. If you notice them feeling overwhelmed during class, discretely allow them to step outside or to the school counselor immediately. It can also be greatly beneficial to consult with the parents to get their perspective on how their child is handling the loss and what can be done to help them. Whether it is the passing of another student or a family member, each child deals with death a little differently and may need unique accommodations. 

Giving parents counseling information

When a student is grieving the death of a loved one, their parents are often going through a similar process and may not be aware of the resources they have for their child’s grieving. Giving parents phone numbers, addresses, and pamphlets for local psychiatrists and counselors can help ease the burden on the family and provide the student with professional guidance. Grief counseling for young adults has become more widely available as rates of suicide in teens has increased. Services like these can help a grieving student find comfort, educate parents on healthy coping mechanisms and emotional outlets, and even detect signs of depression and anxiety that the student may be repressing. 

Homework extensions and test makeups

Another way teachers can help grieving students is to provide alternative assignments. While their formal education is important, it can often take a back seat when the student is overwhelmed from the grieving process, and the last thing they need is for that grief to create further stressors through falling grades. Extended deadlines, make-up days, and a pass on quizzes can help a teen keep up with the workload and maintain decent grades. A little leniency, particularly early in the grieving process, will relieve stress from the student and make them aware that the authority figures in their lives make their mental and emotional wellbeing a priority.

As a teacher, there are limited options for how you can get involved in the personal lives of your students. This does not mean that there is nothing to be done, however. The simple act of directing a student to professional aid and showing a little extra compassion can go a long way in ensuring that the student is able to make their way through the grieving process in a healthy manner. Whether they want to admit it or not, students of all ages are greatly affected by their teachers, and they will appreciate even the little gestures of compassion you show.

The Easiest Way For Principals to Respect Teachers

Teachers are the Rodney Dangerfields of the work world, constantly complaining that we get no respect. We have to take second jobs to make ends meet. We work extra hours for no extra pay. The teacher wage penalty is at an all-time high. We have less autonomy than we used to in our classrooms. We must endure teacher evaluation schemes that measure our worth using the outcomes of standardized tests and the opinions of people who watch us do our thing for less than 1% of the year. And when we complain, nobody listens. Michigan State researchers studied resignation letters that teachers posted online and found that every one “attested to the lack of voice and agency that teachers felt in policymaking and implementation.”

Many teachers’ biggest complaints are out of a principal’s control (and principals are often just as victimized by stupid policies as teachers). But there is one thing every principal can do that sends an unmistakable message that they understand the demands of their teachers’ jobs and want nothing more than to make that job easier:

Value their time.

If principals want teachers to do their best work, they must protect their teachers’ time like a mother polar bear protects her cubs.

Time is every teacher’s scarcest resource. Teachers always, always need more of it. American teachers, because they spend more time in front of their students than any other developed nation, need it even more. Time is valuable to everyone. For teachers, and American teachers in particular, it is precious.

When principals protect teachers’ time they make it clear that they value their work, and they give teachers the opportunity to focus their attention where it will have the greatest impact: on the students in their classrooms. Here are six ways principals can protect their teachers’ time:

Cancel Staff Meetings

No employee in the history of employeedom has ever been upset over a cancelled staff meeting. Not one. Everyone feels like my favorite professor of education policy, Morgan Polikoff.

If I were a principal, I’d be tempted to overschedule staff meetings just so I could give my teachers the gift of cancelling the majority of them. There’s nothing better than found time; it’s why we all love snow days so much.

And let’s be real here: How many staff meetings have you walked out of where you felt the time was better spent than however you would have spent it had you not been required to attend? The content of most staff meetings (and I’ve attended 20 years’ worth of them) usually breaks down like this:

  1. Housekeeping stuff that could be shared in an email.
  2. Teachers bitching about things, most of which don’t apply to the majority of the people in the room.
  3. A timid attempt at professional development (book studies, jigsawed articles, a slick instructional video produced by some company selling something in which a teacher instructs a small group of perfectly behaved students using a technique that is obviously better than anything you do but that might not work quite as well in your classroom) that might apply to a small number of people in the room.
  4. The sharing of grand plans that have little chance of being implemented or pursued for longer than six months.

Principals, if you must conduct a meeting, then have a tight, relevant agenda, stick to it, and dismiss everyone as soon as the meeting is over or stops being productive. Your teachers, all of them, have better things to do.

You Don’t Need a Committee

Teachers should almost never join unpaid committees, and principals should not ask them to. This should be easy because most of the time a committee isn’t needed at all.

Then, ask these questions:

Whose decision is it to make? If it’s yours and you’d like some input, then run it by a few staff members. You don’t need a committee to do that.

Are you really going to listen to dissenting views? I’ve heard so many stories from teachers who’ve served on committees that made recommendations only to see them ignored by decision makers. That’s the leaders’ prerogative, but it’s also a waste of everyone’s time.

Have you already made up your mind? If yes, then skip the dog and pony show. Teachers can see through the pretense. We can tell, usually very early on, when a committee has only been formed to give the appearance of consensus-building and hearing all sides. Skip the committee and make the decision.

If you decide that, yes, you do need a committee, then the next questions you should ask are:

What is the minimum number of teachers needed for this committee?

What is the minimum amount of time you need to meet to come to a decision or get the work done?

Rethink Professional Development

Don’t make teachers attend things that don’t apply to them. Yes, I know. There are state laws requiring x amount of PD hours. So what? Do you really think states that don’t want to fund public education are going to perform a thorough audit of teachers’ PD time? Do what’s best for your students and give teachers as much time as you possibly can to do their jobs as well as they can.

If you’re worried about compliance, then schedule your PD day and allow your teachers to develop themselves in the manner they see fit. Set some parameters, provide some resources, and allow teachers to decide how creative they’d like to be when they log their PD hours. Damn near anything can be considered professional development, and your teachers are already experts at justifying everything they do.

Lighten Their Load

Can someone other than teachers do the small things? That’s a question principals should regularly ask themselves. I changed districts this year and one of the first differences I experienced was in how many fewer small tasks I was asked to complete at my new school.

At my previous school, I had to print off and sign my own attendance reports every week. Everything related to a field trip, from scheduling the buses to creating, sending, and collecting permission slips and money was my responsibility. If I needed a sub for any reason, it was my job to put in for one.

At my new school, office staff deals with the attendance reports, every permission slip is made for me, copied, and put in my mailbox, buses are scheduled by the office, as are substitutes for anything that’s district-related. I’m going to a conference this week and the office signed me up and booked the hotel for me. All I have to do is show up.

Removing small tasks from teachers’ plates does two things. First, every minute that a teacher spends on administrative tasks is a minute not spent on things that have the potential to directly affect students, which is what teachers are there for. Second, it shows teachers how valued their time is.

Here are just five small things principals who want to give their teachers more time might consider. With some thought, you can probably come up with many more.

1. Office staff should find substitute teachers, sign teachers up for conferences, and submit extra duty hours to accounting. These administrative tasks are just better handled by people who do administrative work all day. Fewer balls will be dropped when one or two people are responsible for these tasks instead of expecting teachers to take care of them.

2. Data entry should be done by someone other than your most highly-trained professionals. Don’t ask teachers to scan tests or input numbers into a data warehouse. That’s a huge waste of time and literally anyone in a school can do it.

3. Expedite the process teachers use to request help with technology or maintenance needs. Make the online form easy to find and easy to complete and submit.

4. Consider the location of copy machines. The farther your teachers have to walk to pick up copies, the more time they’re spending doing nothing.

5. Assign recess, bus, lunch, and hall duties to non-teaching staff. It makes zero sense to have teachers stand around watching kids when they could be planning to better educate them.  

These may seem like small things. It feels petty listing them. Surely, teachers can take a few minutes to print off attendance reports, sign them, and put them in a tray in the office. But all of the above adds up, and teachers already don’t have enough time.

Make Planning Time Untouchable

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again:

Teachers cannot prepare effective lessons and provide useful feedback to students without prep time. If your district doesn’t provide it, or if they regularly take it away, then they are telling you one of two things:

We don’t care how effective you are.

Or, more likely:

We expect you to be effective, but we don’t want to provide you with the time you need. Therefore, we expect you to use your personal, unpaid time to ensure effectiveness.

If you work for a district that has taken away your planning time, you either work for people who have no clue what it takes to do your job well, or who do and don’t care what it does to your well-being.

This includes scheduling meetings during planning time. It includes forcing teachers to do PLCs during planning time. If those things are important, then schedule them outside of teachers’ planning time.

One of the more inequitable practices in schools occur in those that schedule IEPs and other parent meetings during teachers’ planning time. I worked for a district that did this and you did not want to be a teacher with more than a couple of identified students because it meant hours of additional work without pay.

Pediatricians don’t work around parents’ schedules, and no one accuses them of being insensitive to the needs of their patients. If it’s important, and most meetings with parents are, then expect parents to find the time to attend, just like they do to get their kids to the doctor and themselves to the bank. 

Provide planning time. Treat it as sacred. Move mountains to ensure that teachers never lose it so they may use it for its intended purpose.

Stop Requiring Time Wasters

Every minute a teacher devotes to work that doesn’t improve students’ chances of success is a minute wasted. And schools love to waste teachers’ minutes with nonsense. Here are four examples:

Lesson Plans

As I wrote here, principals don’t need lesson plans if their teachers are required to teach a board-approved program with strict fidelity. The lesson plans are done for them. If principals want to know if those scripted lessons are being followed, then they need only visit teachers’ classrooms. The only time principals should ask for lesson plans is if they have a teacher who is struggling and the principal believes part of that struggle might be her inability to effectively plan. Even then, principals should only require plans for lessons they will observe, because plans don’t actually mean anything unless they’re followed.

Requiring lesson plans does two things: It sends a message of distrust, and it wastes teachers’ time. Why any principal would want to do those two things is beyond me.

Parent Communications

Good teachers communicate with parents; bad principals force them to. I’ve worked for a principal who required weekly newsletters that she wanted to see before they were sent home, a principal who strongly encouraged having a class website for parents to access, and a principal who expected teachers to make five positive parent phone calls per week. None of those things are bad (except asking to see the newsletters ahead of time), but there are good reasons teachers balk at being told to do them. The main reason is time.

Principals, everything single thing you require of teachers takes time that they do not have. Asking them to make five positive phone calls home is stealing 15-30 minutes from them. Either something doesn’t get done, it gets done poorly, or it gets done when your teachers should be detaching from work. Avoid mandates. Let teachers decide how to best use their time.

Posted Learning Goals

I’ve written about this here, here, and here, so I won’t belabor the point.


Principals should allow teachers to design their own homework policies and establish their own expectations. Since homework and grading has the potential to eat up hours of a teacher’s time, it should be up to the teacher to manage it.


Too many principals pretend as though trade-offs do not exist for their teachers. They see little problem with adding one more thing to teachers’ responsibilities. But principals who want to help their teachers do their best work don’t just avoid giving their teachers more to do. They look at the way things are done in their buildings and find ways to free up more time for their staffs. Teachers know they’ll pay for squandered time later. Principals who want the best from their teachers should recognize it, too.






The Benefits of Libraries for Teachers and Students

By Frankie Wallace


For a long time, libraries have served as sanctuaries for many students and teachers. Libraries aren’t being visited as often as they once were, but educators can still benefit from utilizing libraries in their lessons. Additionally, they provide a place of solitude and refuge from the hardships associated with day-to-day school life. Within the rows of books, there are other worlds to escape to, history to be revisited, and information to gather.

Library Importance

Many consider libraries to be dead because of today’s focus on technology. This is a common misconception; in fact, many libraries are thriving across the country. As a teacher, offering the chance for your students to spend time in their local library will continue the support that is needed for libraries to keep their doors open.

Including a visit to your local library in your curriculum can benefit your students. It is there they have access to the news stories and history of their town that they cannot find in any other library. Today, many of the libraries’ newspaper collections and historical photographs are being digitized and are available on their websites. However, research being conducted on students shows that information retention for data obtained in print is greater than digital media.

By enabling your students to become library patrons, you are empowering them to utilize a space that can act as more than just a place to study. In addition to access to information, libraries offer many benefits as an institution:

  • They serve as a community hub and meeting place.
  • They can offer a place for oral histories and storytelling.
  • Libraries create ties and partnerships between community members and organizations.

The Internet’s Role in Change

Many people aren’t going to the library anymore because they can find answers to questions online so easily. The danger of the age of the internet, however, is the lack of credible sources. This has created a need for instilling critical analysis skills to enable our students to conduct effective research. Although there are a number of perks of the age of information, access to credible resources available at the library simply can’t be beat.

With a deliberate focus on sustainability in schools around the globe, many teachers and students are asking themselves how to lessen their carbon footprint — and the answer can be found in supporting their local library. For example, much of the population believes that by purchasing a book to read on their tablet, they’re helping to reduce waste. Many people also prefer to own their books, rather than renting them — but neither of these things are necessarily good for the environment. Especially after the rise of big booksellers like Amazon, it turns out that purchasing books online is actually worse for the environment than just borrowing the physical book from the library — whether digitally or not.

However, a lessened impact may be true when purchasing or reading books online in some communities. For those that live in rural areas, the combination of technology and library support can be found online. If a student or teacher possess a library card, they can gain access to any of the digitized material on the library’s website, including e-books. Making information gathering available to all populations has always been the goal of public libraries.

New Discoveries

Libraries provide a safe space for students to focus on their learning as well as access information from their numerous resources, including librarians, texts, and technological offerings. One study found that students whose first language is something other than English benefit from libraries the most. As a teacher, making libraries feel more available and beneficial may open new pathways for students you couldn’t have anticipated before.

As a teacher, placing your student in a library can offer an opportunity for them to discover new interests. What students see in their feeds and their searches on the internet are all tailored to their previous preferences. They see the same advertisements in their social media for video games and clothing lines as a result of their search history. Their newsfeeds are filled with reports from questionable sources and saturated with pop culture.

Introducing them to new sources of reliable information can open them up to a range of thought-provoking, diverse perspectives. From their pre-K years to the day they reach for their high school diploma, books can help children learn how to take better care of themselves, make informed decisions, and strive for greater social equality. For example, Kindercare lists nine books that can help kids learn how to eat better, potentially avoiding major chronic health conditions later in life.

Moreso, allowing a student to disappear among the stacks of books at their local library may offer a chance to explore new worlds they have never known. Fostering independent reading has been found to significantly increase vocabulary development and reading comprehension. It also empowers students with the ability to use different technologies and become more competitive when they enter the global workforce.

Due to the diverse offerings at the library, there is something to appeal to every learning style and individual student. As a teacher, the numerous educational tools are invaluable resources, enabling you to develop more cohesive and engaging lessons in your classroom. If you don’t have a library within your own school, consider scheduling your next field trip to explore your local library.

5 Things Teachers Should No Longer Have to Do

Of all the nonsense today’s educators must endure, perhaps the most galling is the mixed messages we regularly receive about how to perform our jobs. Teachers, once upon a time, were essentially independent practitioners, trusted to choose their own topics of study, craft their own lessons, design their own tests (or not give any at all), enforce their own grading policies, and shepherd their students through whatever year they happened to have them in the manner they best saw fit.

In such a system, it made sense for teachers to always be learning. They needed lesson plans. They had to know why they were teaching what they were teaching. They were always on the lookout for more interesting ways to reach students. The success or failure of their lessons rested on their shoulders.

The legacy of such a model of teaching still exists, even though the reality is far different. Many school leaders act as though teachers are making decisions because teachers used to make decisions. As a result, these leaders still expect teachers to behave as though they are working in a system that simply no longer exists in many places.

When we started striving for “guaranteed and viable curriculums,” we began the process of standardizing classrooms. The adoption of common standards across many states accelerated this movement because it allowed publishing companies to sell to most of the nation. That resulted in the same programs being taught in thousands of schools. Finally, district leaders’ demands that such programs be implemented with “fidelity” drove the final nail in the coffin of autonomous teaching.

In many schools today, teachers are no longer expected to make curricular decisions. They’re told what to teach and often how to teach it. They merely deliver the content someone else created. It’s a bad model that’s led to disillusionment and ineffective instruction, but what makes it worse is that reformers and school leaders want to have it both ways: They want to treat teachers as if they’re still the chefs they used to be instead of the delivery drivers they more often are.

Reformers and school leaders want to have it both ways: They want to treat teachers as if they're still the chefs they used to be instead of the delivery drivers they more often are. Click To Tweet

As I wrote in At What Point Do We Stop Blaming Teachers?, reformers occupy an enviable position where they get to greatly influence how teachers do their jobs but accept no responsibility for the failure of their ideas. In spite of disappearing autonomy, it is often the teacher who is blamed when other people’s ideas, programs, or “research-based” practices fall short in the real world.

Outdated Assumptions


My school is doing a book study on this:

It took nine pages to realize the authors were operating under the assumption that teachers have a level of autonomy they simply no longer have. I was ready to throw the book across the room when I read this sentence:

“The most effective teaching and most meaningful student learning happen when teachers design the right learning target for today’s lesson and use it along with their students to aim for and assess understanding.”

First, duh. Second, such a sentence, and indeed the entire first chapter (and the remaining eight chapters that follow) rests on the authors’ beliefs that it is the teachers who are still designing learning targets and lessons. How quaint.

Of course, this is just one of many examples. If you work in a district that expects you to be little more than a loyal soldier who does as she’s told, then it’s contradictory for those same district leaders to also expect you to take on the responsibilities of a general. The education world has moved on, and the generals are no longer in the classroom. That reality means there are things that teachers who labor in low-autonomy environments should no longer be expected to do. Here are five:

Determine Learning Goals

All of the hubbub about knowing (and posting) student learning goals for each lesson assumes that teachers have the authority to make decisions about what their students should learn. If you work in a state that has adopted standards (that’s all of them), and if you work for a district that has adopted programs that are supposed to address those standards (a lot of them), and if district leaders have told you that you should be teaching said programs with fidelity (way too many of them), then your learning goals for every lesson are already decided. They’re probably printed at the top of each student workbook lesson. You don’t need to know them.

And if district leaders tell you, “Well, no program is perfect. You still need to look at the lessons and determine what’s most important,” then it’s reasonable to ask them why in the hell they’ve put all their eggs in the program’s basket and point out that monkeying with imperfect lessons is the opposite of “fidelity.” They might have saved a lot of hassle by empowering you to make curricular decisions in the first place.

Write Detailed Lesson Plans

If you’re being handed a curriculum and told to teach it, then your lesson plans need to consist of nothing more than “Pages 131 – 135,” or “Lesson 4.1.” Everything else can be seen in your teacher’s guide or online portal. If you have a principal who demands you teach a program as it’s written but is still requiring lesson plans, then he’s just giving you busywork. Teachers in compliance-driven schools should never have to write down lesson plans; at most, they should simply be asked to photocopy the pages out of their district-mandated curriculum. But of course, if the principal is such a believer in whatever curriculum he’s mandating, he should already know the thing like the back of his hand and shouldn’t require any lesson plans at all.

Know the Standards

The state adopts a set of standards for each subject. The district chooses a curriculum for teachers to use to teach those standards. If it’s chosen well, then the teacher needs only to teach the lessons in the program and students will have been taught the standards. That is, theoretically, how it’s supposed to work. That is, in fact, the very reason districts adopt programs. Why, then, do teachers need to know the standards at all? If the expectation is that the board-adopted curriculum is better than anything teachers will decide to do on their own, then teachers need only to follow directions and students will learn what they’re supposed to.

Supplement the Curriculum

You have your standards. You have your curriculum. You’re teaching it the way it’s designed. But it’s not working for some kids. It’s at this point that leaders, coaches, colleagues, and your own brain might tell you that it’s time to try something else. So you ask other teachers what works for them. You Google. You head over to TeachersPayTeachers. If you’re lucky, you bail out the program you weren’t supposed to deviate from, the kids learn something, and nobody finds out. If not, get ready for a slap on the wrist, you incorrigible rebel.

If district leaders trust the programs they adopt so much more than they trust the decision-making of their teachers, then they should have to live with the consequences. One of those consequences is that the program won’t always work. When that happens, it shouldn’t be teachers who are on the hook, but those who chose the programs.

Grow Professionally

Consider a pizza joint. If it’s my pizza joint, it’s in my business’s best interest that I continually educate myself about toppings, cooking techniques, ovens, and whatever else people who own pizza joints must concern themselves. I want to serve the best pizza possible so that my business succeeds.

But if I’m a delivery driver who has nothing to do with the product being served, I don’t need to know about any of the stuff the owner does. I just have to know how to drive my car and follow my GPS.

This is the problem with asking teachers to do little more than deliver other people’s products. Where’s the motivation to learn and grow? If all I’m going to do for the next 20 years is open up a teacher’s guide and read scripted lessons, why do I need to know how to engage students, or identify learning targets, or design rigorous assignments?

Why do I need to behave like a professional when no one expects me to do the work of a professional?


All of the above, of course, is a terrible way to teach. Much of the disillusionment teachers feel doesn’t come from where many assume it comes. While pay could be improved, especially in some areas and especially for younger teachers, pay raises alone won’t restore meaning to teachers’ work. Better discipline and more supportive administrators would help. Mentoring is proven to help keep young teachers in the classroom.

But when districts strip away the agency of teachers, they destroy teachers’ motivation to do their jobs well. This is what teachers are talking about when they say they’re not listened to, not respected, and not trusted. If teachers can’t be trusted to decide what, or at least how, to teach, then what can they be trusted with?

Teachers who create lessons are more invested in those lessons. They will, therefore, be more invested in their students’ learning. Teachers who are asked to be nothing more than deliverers of others’ work will rightly question why they need to be any good at all. Schools that take away every reason for teachers to be motivated should not be surprised when they have unmotivated teachers. 

Let’s allow teachers to pursue the meaning that their jobs inherently have. We can start by allowing them to make more decisions about what goes on in their classrooms.

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I write books for overworked teachers. My latest, The Teacher’s Guide to Saying NO, is now available on Amazon.

11 Time-Saving Tips for Teachers

A guest post by Lauren Adley

Teachers are often overwhelmed by the numerous lessons they have to plan, the piles of marking waiting for them, and the various tasks on their to-do lists.

Here are useful time management tips that will help teachers tackle those tasks and reduce those piles efficiently.

1. Clear your laptop

According to Brother International Corporation research, over half of employees spend thirty minutes a week looking for things they can’t find on their laptops. If you clear your computer and organize your digital workstation, you could gain back time that would be otherwise squandered.

Delete documents you don’t need anymore, transfer important files to a cloud service, and make an organizational system that works for you.

2. Organize your desk

Additional research from Brother International shows that two-thirds of workers spend a minimum of 30 minutes every week searching for misplaced items. Piling things on your desk is a sure way to lose them.

Therefore, declutter and organize your physical space:

– Use shelves or labeled bins for everyday submissions.

– Use an inbox/outbox system for permission slips, notes from home, and other things that come to your desk.

– Each item on your desk should have its own place; make sure you put it there every time.

3. Manage papers efficiently

Are you overwhelmed with the piles of tests, memos, attendance forms, and letters? If so, it’s time to bring some order.

– Assign a file drawer for every subject you teach.

– Use colored files to classify papers by topics, like red for quizzes and tests and blue for lesson plans.

– If you haven’t used the paper in six months or more, recycle it.

4. Grade papers effortlessly

Grading student papers is one of the most tiring and tedious tasks for teachers. Pointing out each mistake on a student’s writing can be so time-consuming. Instead, focus on the errors that are directly related to the lesson. Then, create a document with frequently-used comments you can copy and paste. That way, you will automate the process and save time and energy.

5. Plan your lessons online

Planning your lesson is another activity that takes a lot of effort. However, it doesn’t have to be like that if you use lesson planning sites which are great time-saving tools.

Use CommonCurriculum or Planbook to create lessons easily and quickly. Not only can you organize lessons around Common Core standards, but you can also design custom schedules for every class and allow students and other teachers to view your plans online.

6. Use the 2-Minute Rule

When you need to tackle tasks that actually aren’t difficult to do, you tend to procrastinate and wait for the last minute to start. An efficient way to crush your procrastination is to apply the 2-Minute Rule, suggested in David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.

The rule says that if a task requires less than two minutes to complete, then do it right away. Don’t wait to answer your email or file a document.  Instead, embrace the 2-Minute Rule and boost your productivity.

7. Plan your day

To make the most of your time and use it wisely, it’s crucial to plan your day. Spend a few minutes after school each day jotting down what you’ll do tomorrow. Use an agenda with time slots to schedule every task at the appropriate time. That way, you will use your time more efficiently and get more things done. Without proper planning, you won’t be in control of your time so you’ll be at the mercy of other people’s schedules.

8. Eliminate all distractions

Nowadays there are many distractions, such as social media notifications, emails, text messages, or incoming calls that pull teachers away from their plans and waste precious time.

For that reason, limit your time on social networks or check your emails only twice a day. Also, put your smartphone on Airplane mode while working and avoid unpleasant interruptions. Everything can wait until you finish your job.

9. Automate some tasks

Sometimes you don’t need to work harder to be more efficient, just work smarter. This means you can automate some tasks and save some time.

For example, you probably send many emails to parents and students on a variety of matters. Instead of squandering your time writing the same email over and over again, create some templates you can quickly revise and compose emails in no time at all.

10. Go digital

Printing and copying class materials take a lot of your time. Besides, it requires time to store all the papers and find one when a student needs it.

That’s why you should consider going digital and using cloud services for storing your documents. That way, you will always have a ready copy that your students can download and more importantly you will save time and drawer space.

11. Learn to delegate

Learning to delegate is a crucial skill that every teacher should learn. Use tools that can give you a hand and work more productively.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Don’t shy away from using aides, paras, or even asking parents or students to lighten your load. There are always some simple tasks that they can assist you with and many are more than happy to do so. As a result, you’ll avoid burnout and feel more energized.

If you’re serious about saving time and recapturing your personal life, try Angela Watson’s acclaimed 40-Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Thousands of teachers swear by it; you can see what they say here. If you decide to give it a go, do so quickly so you can take advantage of the Early Bird benefits to help you spend your summer effectively and early access to the Facebook group so you can begin sharing best practices with other teachers who’ve decided to make a change. Teacher Habits is an affiliate partner of the 40-Hour Teacher Workweek.

  Lauren Adley is a writer and editor Paper Essay and Edu Birdie. She is dedicated to her family, work and friends. She was dedicated as a writer to Assignment Holic for a long time. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter and Google+.