Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught Kindergarten- 4th grades in both the general education and inclusion settings. She is currently a 1st grade Special Education teacher. She is the owner and creator of Mandy’s Tips for Teachers website (www.mandystipsforteachers.com) and has over 13 years of teaching experience. She is married with two beautiful children.
Some of my past coworkers reading this are going to do a double take. Say what? Mandy Gregory, Queen of Working Late, is writing a post about leaving school early? Who is writing this post and where have they taken our Mandy?
Well, I am still here.
I figured the reason I could write this post is because there were a few days I left early…although mostly I did leave late. Like, almost always, truthfully. I am blogging about what I did DIFFERENTLY on the days I left early. Make sense? Here we go!
1.) Set a timer.
I had a magnetic oven timer that I used for a variety of things. It was usually next to my guided reading table or on the whiteboard. I found one for really cheap at WalMart. If I had to be somewhere, but had a few things to finish up first, I used the oven timer. It made me more aware of time and more accountable to myself for how I used my time. No more just hanging out eating M&M’s and popcorn and cutting lamination. Not that I have ever done that. FYI: Peanut M&M’s and popcorn are to die for! LOL!
2.) Keep a running lists.
Sometimes I flew by the seat of my pants after school. I kept a “mental list” of what needed to be done. I hated it. When I did this, I usually wasted time on menial tasks, rather than the biggies. When I kept an-up-to-date-written-down-list of all the important to do’s, I was much more effective. It made it easier to figure out what was a priority and had to be finished first. Writing the list down helped me remember what needed to be done. Besides, marking things off is such a nerdy high I loved!
This goes hand in hand with keeping an accurate calendar. I was good about writing most things on my school calendar I kept. However, if I didn’t have it with me, I tending to forget to write things down. Always take your calendar to EVERY meeting (from IEP, to RTI, to staff meetings) and keep only ONE master calendar for yourself at school. If my calendar was current, it usually helped to guide my to do list for when specific paperwork was due.
3.) Shut your door.
Got a chatty co-worker? Or a few? Do they like to come “hang out and chat” for a bit after school? Yeah, this can be a problem. My problem was that I was the chatty co-worker! LOL! Oopsie! I found if I shut my door, it forced me focus on JUST my classroom and what needed to get done…rather than running things to the office, copy room, see what Heather was doing (love ya, girl) etc.
Sometimes your chatty co-workers ( I may have done this a time or two) will be obvious and barge right through your closed door. That is when you go to a Code Red: Lock your door, turn off the lights, and get busy.
4.) Errand box/ area
I was a *bit* distractible after school. I would run around like a chicken with my head cut off dropping things off, but would invetiable forgot SOMETHING. Copy paper? Oops. Pen? Opps. Papers that needed to go to the office? Oopsie Daisy!
I have blogged about this area before. It was a huge help- when I used it of course! LOL! This set of stackers was RIGHT beside the door of the classroom. Anything that needed to be returned (paperwork, library books, etc) went in the top basket, copies to be made went in the bottom basket and anything else in the middle basket. I tried to check it whenever I left the room.
A friend of mine kept a tub. Anytime she needed a copy of something, she slipped the master into the tub. She put any construction paper, items that needed lamination, and anything that needed to be done all in one place. She made copies once a week and took the entire tub with her. It was very smart.
5.) Keep it clean!
I didn’t really work at my desk. It actually tended to hold my laptop. I generally worked at my guided reading table. I tried to make a habit of cleaning of my guided reading table at the end of the day. It was always overwhelming to walk in the next day with a cluttered table. Things tend to get lost in piles, so make a habit of clearing it off each day. You can do this as the kids are packing up at the end of the day or while they are playing magic trash.
6.) Use some child labor!
I am not talking about opening a sweatshop or anything crazy like that. I am just saying, use your resources. You have happy helpers are around you! Use them! Students used to file papers for me to send home in Friday Folders. This was a “treat” for students that finished morning work early. Every Friday, a responsible fifth grader that was a previous student would come down and stuff all the Friday Folders for us. I even had kids that were mature enough to handle “big” scissors cut out lamination for me.
Have you guys seen Blair Turner Paper? Her stuff is GORGEOUS! She has some of the BEST notepads for getting organized!!!!
To help you get out the door a little faster each afternoon, I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to Blair Turner Paper! Yahoo!
Did I miss any tips? Are you able to leave school at a reasonable time?
I hope this post gave some tips and tricks! If you would like more ideas from me, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Pinterest, and Facebook to catch all the freebies and ideas and more!
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