Ask any teacher about the challenges of their job, and most will say the same thing: Successfully managing a staggering number of tasks is not for the faint of heart. Today’s teachers need to prepare lesson plans, monitor classrooms, balance diverse learning needs, and conjure the resources they need out of often-limited school budgets. Then there are extracurricular activities, providing emotional support for troubled students, and engaging with parents.
If you’re a teacher, the key to success amid all this is staying organized. Learning a few concepts can help, but it begins with an all-in-one, top-of-the-class productivity platform that puts you in control, ensuring your multitude of tasks are handled efficiently, effectively, and promptly.
It all starts with a plan
Lesson planning—the primary and definitive vehicle for instruction—is an integral part of a teacher’s day. Proper preparation takes time, and without the right tools, it can quickly turn into a daily grind. Improving your workflow can considerably reduce the time spent on planning lessons, without sacrificing quality.
Keep it simple and as stress-free as possible. You may have a plan and specific outcomes in mind, but it’s important to allow for some flexibility as well as various learner profiles. Personalizing lesson plans by allowing for different learning modalities will get better results. Integrate assessment and performance task checkpoints into lesson plans to easily determine when and why students do not understand a skill or concept.
Engagement is also critical to learning and retention. Instead of simply diagramming a sentence as an example and walking your students through the concept, try writing up the different components of the sentence on placards (subject, predicate, modifier), giving them to individual students, then physically arranging them into a “diagram” format. This could even be a fun outdoor activity using chalk to diagram where each student/component belongs in the sentence. Also look for ways to bring introverted students into the lesson and leave time for “creative struggling” as a regular part of classwork.
Power Tip: You can use Evernote to gather and organize information for lesson plan development, adding and syncing notes across devices. Create tasks inside your notes to organize your to-dos, streamline your workflow, and get more done, faster. Search by names, dates, and keywords, including words in pictures. No matter how basic or complex your search, it’s easy to find text buried deep inside PDFs, handwritten notes, or other sources.
Developing learner profiles
Every student is unique, and each one responds to different kinds of teaching. That means developing smart strategies to better connect with them individually. How do they prefer to access information, engage with content, and express what they know and understand? What are their talents, interests, passions, and aspirations; and indeed, their dislikes? The more teachers understand their students, the better they’re able to ensure successful learning outcomes.
Developing a learner profile for each student is a great way to keep track of their progress, as well as providing insight on better ways to motivate and engage them. Using tables, list things the student excels at, aspirations, interests, formative experiences, dislikes, social mannerisms, and of course, areas where they may be struggling. Over the course of the year, students are going to change and grow; allow space for them to record self-reflections on a regular basis and become collaborators in their educational journey.
Learner profiles are invaluable not only for charting student progress but for engaging them on more than one level. “Crossover” activities combining multiple interests and group projects designed to accentuate each student’s strengths becomes easier as well. Learner profiles not only help a teacher better design instruction and materials, but can also offer learners a way to develop agency as they become increasingly aware of how they learn best.
Power tip: Use Evernote to create learner profiles, adjust them, and even share them with parents and students. The learner profile template can be tailored to fit specific teacher and student needs. Use tables, add images, and even enable access to resources with live links. Its workflow-sharing ability gives parents a quick, yet comprehensive, overview of how their child is doing and allows students to better assess and understand their educational strengths and weaknesses. Need help creating templates? You can find instructions here.
Stay on top of admin tasks
Teaching is satisfying and fascinating work. Except, you know, when admin tasks eat into teaching time. Keeping ahead of that curve while balancing the needs of your class can prove daunting.
In addition to keeping track of attendance and turning in grades, there are a sweep of district, county, state, and federal mandates that need attention, as well as assessments to prepare, technology to learn and implement, committees to run, parents to brief, etc. And while the experts say teachers should not be routinely required to undertake clerical or administrative tasks that do not call for them to exercise their professional skills and judgment, it is nevertheless inevitable and can be time-consuming.
Evernote is designed to consolidate and organize all of the information related to these admin responsibilities in a single app. Think of it as your compass to give you direction and control.
Power tip: Use Tasks to keep your daily schedule organized, ensuring that you don’t lose track of important deadlines. Add flags and due dates to prioritize your tasks by importance.
It takes a big heart to shape little minds
Teaching is more than a profession; it’s a calling. And today’s teachers need all the help and support they can get. With the right tools and technology, teachers can dramatically improve their workflows, refine their lesson plans, and help their students excel.