Beyond the




4 Spring Time Management Tricks for the Last Weeks of School

Two boxing gloves smash an alarm clock.

Beat the clock with these time management strategies.

The last weeks of the year can be hectic with testing, field-trips, extra meetings with parents whose kids are hanging by a thin academic thread. The days are also crowded with your own professional development evaluations and meetings and special assemblies. 

Further reading: 5 Major Time Management Challenges

This is a time when teachers need to find ways to beat the clock and reduce the time they unnecessarily spend on their numerous tasks. These four ideas always help me during the final sprint to the summer break: 

1. Avoid the teacher workroom during planning periods.

Instead, go to the library or go to an empty room near a copy machine. You are less likely to be disturbed in the library than in the teacher’s work room. But there's an additional benefit to this: talking and food are generally not allowed in the library. That means you're also saved from listening to all of the gossip and snarkiness that sometimes happens in teacher's workrooms, and you can avoid the extra calories from sugary snacks people bring in to share. 

2. Arrive early (I mean really early) to make copies and learn the secrets of the copy machine. 

If you have the luxury of having a copier room with two machines, you can get away with using them both at the same time when no one else needs them. Otherwise, as you probably know, running two print jobs at the same time on two machines during the day makes other teachers really unhappy with you. 

That way, you'll also be seen making less copies during the day, which will make you more mysterious to your colleagues as they whisper, 'How does he do it?' 

Also, learn about the copy machines’ special features. For instance, the scan to USB feature is a lifesaver. You can take articles, books, drawings, pictures and scan them to a USB drive, transfer them into Google Drive, modify them, and save them to your LMS. It will look like you’re doing an incredible amount of work.

3. Do not reinvent your curriculum wheel.

This is not the time of the year to look at your material in terms of how you can get extraordinarily creative with it and change it up. 

Use lesson plans, guides, worksheets and PowerPoints supplied by the textbook company. If the textbook company doesn’t offer them, what you need is likely on the internet, just be sure to check if the material is copyrighted. I search for a topic and add “.pdf” at the end. This way I can download PDF’s and use Google Docs to convert and edit to my needs. 

If you use a document from the web that has an answer sheet, change the wording or the answers for your use if it’s not copyrighted. Students are honing research skills and copy down anything that looks similar to what they’re working on. 

One year, just to have fun, I downloaded a test supplied by a book vendor. I changed every True/False to be opposite the original answers, and the multiple choices so that a different choice worked. I also changed numbers in the problems to create a different numerical answer. Students learned a hard lesson that day.

4. Use an online Learning Management System (LMS) to give tests.

Tests are graded automatically in these systems, which speeds things up. Or, you can use a bubble grader like GradeCam. I once had a student tell me I was biased against him. Seems he was telling his mom that was why his grades were low. So, I switched to online tests to ensure no bias and guess what? His grades stayed low.

Further reading: The 3 Biggest Classroom Time Management Issues

These four time-cutting strategies are simple, but they can save you a lot of time for end-of-year items that you really need to finish now. The most important perspective to managing your time now is to ask yourself, “Is this really needed to get my class to the end of the year?” Otherwise, file those extra creative ideas away and pull them out later this summer for your class next year.