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7 Tips for Planning So You Can Leave School On Time

You want to leave school for the day but there’s still so much to do like planning your lessons. Here’s a secret… there will always be so much to do.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t leave school on time so you can attend to your personal life.

Here are 7 tips for planning so you can leave school on time.

Plan the Thursday before (NOT Friday).

When you plan on Friday for the following week, there’s a good chance you’ll end up staying later than you want. 

This prolongs the start of your weekend.

Try planning on Thursdays for the following week so that all you have to do Friday is tie up loose ends or make copies. 

Shut your door and set a timer

Something that I have found that works for me when I need to get something done is to set a timer. 

When it’s time to plan, set a timer for 30-45 minutes and turn off all distractions. That includes your phone, chats with coworkers, etc. 

Tell yourself that you’re going to get all of your lesson plans done in that time. They don’t have to be perfect. And you can clean them up on Friday. 

But usually, the most time-consuming part is coming up with the plans in the first place. 

You’ll be surprised how much you’ll get planned when you tell yourself you have a certain amount of time to do it!

Finish during your planning period.

I understand not everyone has the luxury of having planning periods. And honestly, if your district or school doesn’t allow you this time, go to another school or district. 

Teachers need a planning period and that’s just a non-negotiable in my opinion. 

If you have a planning period and are not able to get your plans finished in the allotted time you gave yourself during the timed planning session, finish them during your planning period.

I have not always used my planning periods wisely and can easily waste time. 

This may be true for you too. Make it a goal that you’ll be productive during planning periods so you don’t have to stay after school. And finish those lesson plans if you weren’t able to finish them.

Routine Lessons and Activities

To make planning easier, I like to do the same routines for many of the things I teach. 

For example, I use picture books to teach vocabulary. We have a 7-8 day routine so I know what I’ll be teaching each of those days. Every 7-8 days, I just switch the picture book and set of words but the routine stays the same.

This makes planning so much easier because I only have to change the picture book and words. I just plug in each day’s part of the routine into my planner.

I like to plan these types of routine lessons first and then fill in the rest of my plans with the new activities or lessons I’m going to do.

Fill in the Gaps for The First Two Days of The Week

After you plan your routine lessons, fill in the gaps with the rest of the things you need to teach according to your pacing guide. 

If you only fill in the gaps for Monday and Tuesday that’s fine. You might need to see how your students do before planning the rest of the week. 

Don’t waste time if you might have to change it.

Don’t plan any conferences on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons. 

Allow yourself Monday mornings to get ready for the week or even just the day.

You need that time to not only physically prepare but mentally as well. You don’t want to have that taken up with conferences. 

The same goes for Friday afternoons. It’s important to recharge over the weekend and you want to start it as soon as possible. 

You won’t have time to clean up or organize if you’re busy meeting with parents.

Grade Mondays- Wednesdays

Grade student work Mondays- Wednesdays so that when Thursday comes, you have an idea about what you need to teach the following week.

If you leave your grading for Thursday or Friday you might end up taking up your planning time which means you’ll have to stay later. 

For more about grading, check out THIS blog post. 

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