Education Evolutions

Practicing Time Management

Lana Learn instructors are practicing time management to ensure accountability and consistency throughout its programs.

This is a response to my previous article on practicing time management, and I thought to give a view of how I use the tips in my day-to-day. 

Plan Ahead 

At Unit 871 in Hanoi, we run a 24-week English language training program for Vietnamese military officers funded by the US Air Force. The course is rigorous and expectations are high. To facilitate that, planning is key. 

The first and most important companion ought to be the calendar. Mine allows me to look at the time period and see how I can maximize time versus performance for both myself and my students.  This is very easy to access as our team has a regularly updated SharePoint site in which we can access our shared program calendar.  

75 percent of our day is spent teaching, so I like to do my planning at the beginning of each book, so that I can also accommodate for differentiation. 

I leave completing reports for the second half of the week as it allows me to have a better view of the flow of that week with my students. 

Delegate Responsibilities 

Fortunately, I work with military personnel; they are very disciplined and enjoy being given roles. That is a reality that they operate in day-to-day so they often volunteer themselves for classroom roles and responsibilities.

A great way to delegate and also build confidence is to assign a student that demonstrates a strong attribute with another. I like to give them a specific task at the beginning of an academic week and get the student to monitor another. This can include drills, written work, and mostly presentations. I highlight the work that needs to be done to the leading student and then meet with the pair and discuss the assignment. I find this breeds accountability and has shown great results. 

Set Boundaries 

In terms of setting boundaries, it is incredibly important that one starts with oneself. I love exercise and fitness. I find that when I am in a great routine, setting boundaries for myself as well as my students becomes easier and also creates a better understanding of where they are in terms of the curriculum. It also allows me to manage expectations a lot better. We have busy days on the base; however, we are fortunate to have breaks every 50 minutes. I encourage my students to to go for walks, stretch, and move their bodies. I have to set the example and be strong about it. Otherwise, they continue to do work which puts them in an exhausted state. When students are exhausted, they struggle to retain information. 

Reflect and Improve 

Once I have identified an opportunity for growth, I can then assign individual work with the student.  I don’t always get the time to sit down and discuss an area of opportunity with the student. However, I do use technology, namely Quizizz to isolate the area of opportunity whilst maximizing the limited time that I have at my disposal. 

This is especially important if you enjoy teaching and understand that there is always room for improvement.  I use my diary every day. I record the events that happen in my classroom. Things like growth paradigms, blockers, and anything that can help me access my students better.   

I keep a collection of methodology textbooks and am always referring to them.  I find this gives me added confidence. When a method works well I use the it again, making adaptations as necessary.  I enjoy sharing my experiences with my colleagues.  We have a safe space whereby we feel very comfortable asking each other for advice when in challenging situations. 

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