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5 More Time Saving Hacks for Teachers




5 More Time Saving Hacks for Teachers

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post in which I shared five of my favorite time saving hacks for teachers!  Click here I got some nice feedback, so I thought I would rack my brains and come up with five more. I hope they come in handy and save you a little bit of precious time!



Organize your materials at the end of the day

I picked this one up from a teacher I worked with a few years ago. It sounds pretty straightforward but it has really helped me save a lot of time. This particular teacher would spend the last 30 minutes at work getting everything meticulously organized for the next day. This teacher would put worksheets in piles, add post-it notes to indicate which worksheets were for which class, get his attendance sheets in order, and lay everything out on his desk ready for the next morning. I have also started to do this, and it has helped me a great deal because I am not always at my best first thing in a morning. At least, not until I have had my cup of coffee!



Student volunteers

This is a great time saving hack in the classroom. In some classes, I assign a couple of students as teaching assistants for that class. They help me hand out the worksheets, take attendance, and get the class settled ready to start. During that time, I can get my computer set up and run through my plans for the class. It even gives me a few moments to chat and say hi to students as they come in. I always rotate the role of teaching assistant, and I have never had any resistance. In fact, they seem to enjoy the little bit of extra responsibility.



Set up routines

I used to spend hours thinking of inventive and new ways of getting my learners to talk to each other. I would then waste 10 minutes of class trying to explain the details to them. Invariably, the activity would be messy and I would think that I would need to tinker with it. The next time I would explain the new version of the activity and confuse the class even more! Nowadays, I try to take my time initially setting up the activity and I give it a simple name. I no longer tinker. The next time I do the activity I just tell the class the name of the activity, remind them of the instructions, and away they go!



Plan ahead

These days I try to make sure I am planned one week ahead. I prepare all my materials and make my prints and have them nicely organized on my shelves. Well, most of the time I do! I sometimes get busy, but when this happens I know I have a safety net of being one week ahead. I have tried to get further ahead with planning and preparing but I found that didn’t work for me. Keeping one week ahead of planning helps me save time and keep my stress levels down.



Make checklists

This one sounds obvious and I’m sure many of you do this already but I really do find that it helps me save time. I like to sit down with a coffee and brainstorm what I need to do for the day and the remainder of the week. I then make this into a checklist. This is great for my sense of satisfaction especially at the end of the week if I have checked off everything on the list. 

Do you have any other ways of saving time? If you do, please feel free to share them.


Neil Millington

Neil Millington

Neil Millington has taught English as a foreign language in Japan for over 12 years. He has taught a wide range of age levels from pre-kindergarten students to adults. He is currently teaching at the tertiary level. He earned his BA at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England and his MA in TESOL at Lancaster University, England. Currently, Neil is working on his PhD in language learning motivation also at Lancaster University. Neil is also the co-founder of, an English reading website with hundreds of free lessons for teachers and learners.
Neil Millington

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2 Responses to 5 More Time Saving Hacks for Teachers

  1. Great stuff, Neil! I use all of these, though I’m not so good at planning ahead. Usually, it’s same-day or the night before for me–still working on it!

    I really underrated checklists until recently. I read about some studies done where doctors instituted a checklist system. Most of the items seemed so basic and obvious that a list wasn’t necessary. But when you multiply procedures over so many days and weeks and people involved, chances for mistakes go way down. Furthermore, using them makes progress easier to feel. There’s a significant amount of satisfaction that goes into checking that box!

    One process we are working on (it isn’t easy, though) is getting kids to peer-check their homework, saving class time. Otherwise, a teacher in our system spends more time working with each individual kid to get everything correct and complete. But that might fall into your “routines” category.

    • Cheers Tristan!

      I must admit planning ahead is much easier at the start of the semester for me. When things get busy, I am just like you!

      I also underrated checklists until recently. I now have multiple checklists going at the same time. One for things to do for my studies, another for admin work I need to do, and another for lesson planning. If I keep it up, I will need a checklist for my checklists!

      Thanks again for reading and commenting!

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