Do you want to know the best productivity tips every middle and high school teacher should know? These are the tested and approved productivity tips to reduce burnout and save time.
It’s no secret that working in a school setting with teenagers can be exceptionally busy or even chaotic, but if you are anything like me, you are doing all the research to prepare.
As an Occupational Therapist who works with middle and high school students, I am sharing the top productivity tips I swear by.
You will learn about the best productivity tips, from scheduling demanding tasks during certain times of day to high-tech applications, low-tech devices, classroom management, and more.
After learning about these productivity tips, you will be a pro and extra prepared to teach a lesson to teenagers.
This post is all about the best productivity tips for middle and high school teachers.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. This is all at no extra cost to you but helps support my small business.
Executive Function skills are essential for increasing productivity and achieving success, and they are a better indicator of intelligence than an IQ test.
Executive Function skills are a set of higher-level cognitive processes that enable us to:
“Play chess. Not checkers.”Courtney Benner
Assistive Technology is any device, equipment, invention, item, product, or system utilized to maintain or improve daily life tasks.
There’s a misconception that Assistive Technology is only for disabled people, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here are just a few examples of assistive technology devices that improve everyday life:
Assistive Technology falls on a spectrum from low-tech to high-tech.
Adjectives that best describe high-tech devices are:
Examples of high-tech devices are:
Adjectives that best describe low-tech devices are:
Examples of low-tech devices are:
“Work smarter. Not harder.”Courtney Benner
Productivity is the efficiency, consistency, quality, and quantity with which an individual achieves a goal or completes a task.
Being productive allows us to balance and manage life’s demands and progress toward our full potential.
We are only human and can accomplish only so much within a day. Our time and energy are precious resources, and we must conserve them for what we value most.
If you want to feel less stressed and more prepared, continue reading.
“It’s a mathathon. Not a sprint. You have to learn how to pace yourself.”Courtney Benner
Atomic Habits deep-dives into why humans struggle with setting and achieving goals. It’s all about consistency which is why you should start easy.
Here are four takeaway lessons:
The most effective approach is to incorporate small changes that can become habitual. Bad habits, such as weight gain or debt accumulation, do not appear overnight. Rather, they develop slowly over time, which is the key to reversing them.
When you do set goals, make sure to add a number so it’s more specific. For example, if the goal were to save money, you would add a specific amount, such as $100 a month or $1,200 a year, so it’s easier to measure and track progress.
Humans are sensitive and heavily impacted by our environments, so you must use visuals to your advantage.
Hang your visuals above your bed or on your fridge so you can look at them often.
Here are four important visuals you will want to look at every day:
Lastly, be specific on the exact location where you plan to work on your goal.
Here are some examples of locations:
“The days are long, but the years are short.”Gretchen Rubin
Calendars provide a visual layout of the year:
They are useful tools for :
A desk calendar is an excellent option if you desire to decrease your screen time or if you need to view your schedule but the internet is down.
A yearly calendar provides a big-picture visual for the entire year. The two days that are shaded out represent the weekends.
If you have a Gmail account, you can access Google Calendars.
In the top right-hand corner, click on the stack of grey squares (3×3). You will see a drop-down menu that looks like this:
The red box that outlines “Calendar” is the one to select because it will take you to your Google Calendar.
If you plan to add your bell schedule, you will want to “Add Calendar” and “Create New Calendar.”
Name the new calendar and add a description if desired. Click “Create Calendar” and exit “Settings” to return to the main Google Calendar page.
Repeat the process of creating a new calendar until all are added.
To color-code your Google calendar, search for hex codes and color palettes on Google or Pinterest.
Hex Codes are a format of letters and numbers and refer to specific colors.
Hex Codes keep color schemes consistent and help designers communicate.
There are only 52 weeks a year, so having a weekly planner is an asset for prioritizing and managing tasks and goals.
Weekly planners provide direction and structure with how we will accomplish everything we need to do and make the most of our time.
Most planners also have a section for tracking finances and budgeting, which adds an extra organizational element.
There are only 24 hours in a day, so I recommend starting with a “brain dump, ” which involves writing down everything on your mind and then circling the top three priorities.
A daily checklist allows us to conserve our most valuable resources: time and energy. It’s also very satisfying to check off a task you’ve completed for the day without worrying about it.
The Google Tasks app will sync with your Google Calendar and Apple devices to remind you. Simply create a new task and add a date and time you want it to notify you.
If the task is really important, you can “Star” it, and once you complete a task, you can check it off.
There are only 24 hours in a day. A daily schedule provides structure, routine, and guidance to navigate life’s challenges and help us better achieve everything we need to do.
A daily schedule specifies the time frame the task will be worked on and sets deadlines.
Examples of daily schedules include:
An Alexa Dot is a high-tech device from Amazon with many cool features.
By saying, “Hey, Alexa…” you have the power to:
Visual timers are an inexpensive assistive device every parent or teacher needs.
With a twist of the dial, the clock adds color based on the amount of time, which helps understand time’s passage.
Here are some ways you can use a visual timer:
The reminder app is available on all Apple devices. It’s a great option if you think of something and don’t have a paper and pen handy.
Here are some examples of ideas to jot down:
Time-lapse videos (TLV) are great for showing progress toward a goal and trusting the process.
TLVs are also fun to create and watch over and over again.
There are so many activities where you can create a Time-Lapse Video:
“Less is more when it comes to wall decor.”Courtney Benner
Returning to the lesson on the importance of visuals from Atomic Habits, use visuals in the classroom for students to reference.
Use wall decor sparingly because it will make the environment too busy, distracting, or overwhelming. Less is more, and it’s a delicate balance.
Here are some examples of classroom posters that are functional and decorative:
The Circle of Control is important because it reminds us to focus our energy and attention on what we can influence and let go of what is beyond our control.
Imagine drawing a circle around yourself, within which lies everything that you have control over:
Things outside of this circle are beyond your control:
Calming strategies are essential to help individuals manage their emotions and stress levels. Benefits of utilizing calming strategies include:
In a fast-paced world, it’s important to learn effective ways to calm and relax the nervous system, such as:
Emotions shape the way we perceive and interact with the world around us. To develop emotional intelligence, it is crucial to be able to identify and acknowledge a wide range of emotions.
Emotion identification plays a crucial role in our social interactions, allowing us to understand and connect with others on a deeper level.
By accurately recognizing and interpreting emotions in ourselves and others, we can build empathy, foster positive relationships, resolve conflict, and effectively navigate social situations.
From joy and excitement to anger and sadness, emotions serve as a powerful language that allows us to express ourselves and connect with others on a deeper level.
Executive functioning is a set of cognitive skills that enable us to plan, organize, and regulate our behavior to achieve goals.
As mentioned earlier, Executive Function skills are essential for increasing productivity and achieving success, and they are a better indicator of intelligence than an IQ test.
Grounding techniques are strategies that can help us stay present and focused, especially during times of anxiety or distress.
One effective way to ground ourselves is to engage with our senses. By doing so, we can bring our attention back to the present moment and create a sense of calm.
Voice volume levels allow us to express our thoughts and feelings accurately.
Speaking too softly may cause the listener to miss important information, while shouting can be perceived as aggressive or rude.
By finding the right balance and adjusting our voice volumes appropriately, we can create a comfortable and engaging environment for communication.
Using appropriate voice volumes also helps individuals express their confidence, assertiveness, and conversation engagement.
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