Little and often

When I was training to become a teacher, I was encouraged to do tasks like marking, planning and self-reflection in short, manageable bursts. I found this advice to be easier said than done during the early stages of my career. However, I eventually reached a point where I found that I had fully subscribed to a ‘little and often’ philosophy. I have refined it over the last few years and thought that I would share ten of the most useful facets here.

  1. Keep a note book (or folder) of lesson ideas, activities and homework; keep it with you to jot down ideas on the fly.
  2. Mark and assess work in small batches avoiding the dreaded “marking pile”.
  3. Make feedback short and precise to make it meaningful and to keep it manageable for yourself.
  4. Take 15-20 minutes to reflect on your day: what went well, what didn’t, how can you do better tomorrow?
  5. Read blogs, articles and books every day – it’s important to keep learning. Save longer material to be read in short flurries once or twice a week.
  6. Collaborate with others but make meetings short and emails brief; instead get on with the doing, focussing on the outcomes instead, evaluating as you go.
  7. Share ideas, resources and useful links via email, Twitter or Facebook immediately; don’t wait, don’t stock pile.
  8. Once a week turn off email, Twitter and other distractions; focus on the work. (If you suffer from severe bouts of procrastination then once a week might not be enough)
  9. Don’t let things become untidy. Fix displays, put away resources, tidy your desk when you see that it needs doing.
  10. If you blog, write a bit every day. The previously mentioned note book comes in handy here for drafting posts and recording ideas.

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James Michie

Husband, Educator, Writer, Runner...

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