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Summer Teaching Skills Boot Camp: Multitasking

July 30, 2019

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Jeff Hersh

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Revving up for a new school year is essential for all teachers returning to work after a summer break. While the summer might have been a wonderful time to recharge, teachers need to be ready to dive back into the busiest of workloads.  


Multitasking is one of the most important tools a teacher can employ. However, it can be challenging to turn this switch back on. Here is a list of tips to review to help all teachers prepare to take on all the duties, expectations, and challenges that come with the start of a new school year.  Summer means teachers have some extra time to contemplate the areas of their job they hope to improve this new school year.  

 

HOW TO MULTITASK 

 

Teaching is the epitome of multitasking. Teachers are responsible for the education of upwards of hundreds of students at a time, multiple lessons, stages of planning and implementation; and that’s before we dive into the conferencing with colleagues, administrators and parents.  

 

This is a lot of work and a lot of separate tasks that all need full attention.  

 

DEFINE THE TASK

 

When faced with so many tasks, you first need to organize and understand what each individual one calls for.  Once you know the expectations, you can begin the process of determining time management and priority.

 

ORGANIZE 

 

You will discover that once you know what the tasks are, you can see how they fit into similar categories. There are natural connections that mean you can accomplish multiple goals at once. This works best during your lesson planning stages. Find the connectivity and go from there.  

 

TIME

 

What do you need to tackle right now? Group tasks into the order of importance of when they need to be finished. Can you grade assignments now, or hold off for later? Do you have a parent conference to prepare for this afternoon? Perhaps this means you should grade the latest project so you have something current to discuss with the parent. Taking the time to assess when you need tasks completed will allow for more productivity.  

 

FOCUS 

 

When you have determined the order of your workload, it’s time to forget about the tasks you aren’t working on.  All your attention should be on the task, or tasks, you have designated as being most important. The same is true when you are teaching. The lesson at hand is all that matters, so shelve the thoughts that drift towards other tasks you need to finish. Be present in the task at hand and you will find success.  

 

MAKE USE OF DOWNTIME 

 

Break down the tasks you can do when you are waiting on something else. Grading in-class assignments and quizzes can be done while you wait for an appointment, or even during lunch.  Remember to eat, and take breaks when you need, but any smaller tasks that can be completed during these times will help break down the massive workload facing you.  


Include periods of rest, even taking time to stretch, breathe and snack. They are essential in keeping your strength, focus, and energy steady so you can continue working at your highest level.  

 

ACCEPT WHEN YOU CAN’T MULTITASK

 

Not everything you attempt to fit in your day can be done along with other work. Some tasks require all your attention -- particularly when you are teaching lessons. Don’t worry about not being productive, as simplifying the work at hand will end up going a long way and help you remain fresh and focused later when you take on the work that remains.  

 

Everything will get done. These tips are useful in breaking down all the tasks and seeing what can be done together and saved for later. Remember to adjust as you go. Keeping your stress level low will help you in the long run.  

 

What are ways you return to your highest multitasking levels at the start of the school year?  

 

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