Teaching is stressful enough without increasing your stress when you get behind in your planning, marking and so on. This is why, as I grew more experienced and was given extra responsibilities, I adopted a “Do It Now” philosophy.
Here are my reasons why. It
• Reduce stress on you personally because what needed to be done is done before any deadlines, giving you a chance, if necessary, to revise what you have done.
• Keeps everyone happy and off your back;
• Reduces your health risks; and
• Allows you time to cope with the unexpected.
Your first decision to make is to set up a system of priorities. Deciding priorities should be based on these areas:
• Urgent to you;
• Urgent to school Administration and the Educational Authorities;
• Urgent to students;
• Urgent to parents; and
• Your own family consideration.
Added to this, you should have a definite starting and finishing time for all school days except at exam and reporting times when deadlines are short and you need to work with other teachers on the marking and reporting process. This is designed to keep you happy, healthy and reduce your stress. Extending your day simply reduces your efficiency. You are better off going home and coming in a little early next morning when you are refreshed.
The “Do it now” philosophy needs a “To do” list to be effective. This list should be divided into sections to reflect the way you have set up your priorities.
The “To do” list should
• Reflected your ideas about priorities;
• Be divided into short, medium and long term issues;
• Have dates for completion of each task;
• Have you cross off each achieved issue as you go;
• Be revised weekly; and
• Use the school’s calendar to decide on completion dates and aid in prioritising tasks.
Record each item successfully concluded from your “To do” list. Record them in your personal or work diary. Look at your diary often especially when you feel you have not achieved much. You will be surprised what you have actually accomplished. This helps your stress levels by showing you how much you have been able to achieve.
The “Do It Now” philosophy together with your “To Do” list will keep you up to date and often ahead of time allowing you time to cope with the “Unexpected” which is so often a part of the teaching landscape.