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Do you ever feel like you’re working to your max—maybe even more than that!—and still don’t get through your list of to-dos? Or despite all that work, you’re not seeing any tangible impact in your classroom and student outcomes? Most educators will feel this way at some point.
Enter: Work Less, Teach More. It’s our signature course and a philosophy discussed many times on the Time for Teachership podcast. In this episode, I break down how to use the Work Less, Teach More planner to maximize your planning time, protect your mental health, and reach your goals.
The Work Less Teach More planner is available for purchase, but you can also work on these exercises independently and use a notebook or your computer to keep track of things. Each section of the planner addresses daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals and priorities. Let’s look at the highlights for each.
We’re starting with the yearly planning because there is some big-picture goal-setting activities to do at the beginning of each school year:
Clarify Your Vision:
Before the school year starts, get clear on your vision and goals for the year. Do this by asking the following questions:
Take Stock of Your Health:
At the root of almost any conflict are unmet needs. We have needs in four areas, which you can remember with the BASE acronym: Belonging, Autonomy, Survival, and Enjoyment. Within each category, reflect on three questions:
Each month, you’ll set priorities and goals. For example, in September your first and only goal might be for everyone to feel welcomed and included in the class. For January, it might be to re-focus on establishing a routine after a holiday break.
Each month you can also:
Weekly planning and reflection are essential to managing your time and reaching goals. There are a few key areas in which you’ll do this:
You have limited planning time each week, so focus on what is proven to make the most impact on your students. This includes:
Clear Your Plate:
Each week, eliminate eight unnecessary tasks from your to-do list. This can be in both your personal and work life. Be specific about what it is and how you’ll pass it off to someone else. This is part of self-care, which is preventative—you must plan ahead to protect your time and mental energy.
Your daily responsibility is simple. Ask yourself these two questions:
There it is—the Work Less Teach More planner in a nutshell! But there is so much more to the approach. Work Less Teach More is backed by research and has helped so many educators claim back their time while making maximum impact. You can learn more about Work Less Teach More here and follow along with the Time for Teachership podcast as part of your commitment to professional learning.
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.