Classroom Management

A Simple Trick for a Better Work Day

As art teachers, we have so many responsibilities to fit into our days besides teaching students. These can be work-related, like extra duties, coaching, or a second job. Or, they can be personal, like finding time to spend with your partner or children, exercising, or caring for an aging relative.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the daily grind, try this:

Instead of looking at your day as a whole, think about breaking it up into distinct, identifiable chunks. It’s akin to making a to-do list for tasks, but instead, you’re making a to-do list focused on chunks of time.
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Let’s say you have an especially busy day. You have a morning meeting with a parent followed by back-to-back classes. You have lunch followed by prep and more classes in the afternoon. After school, you have bus duty before you head off to pick up your kids from daycare. Dinner, baths, and bedtime routine round out your day.

If you think about doing all of those things at once, you likely won’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. Thinking, “I won’t get a break until 8pm tonight!” can induce stress and worry.

To make things more manageable, each morning mentally (or physically!) break your day into its different parts. Focus solely on the thing at the top of your list. When you make it through, mentally cross it off your “to do” list and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Then, move to item number two.

Breaking up the day allows it to become more manageable. In turn, you’ll be focused on the present instead of worrying about the future. Give it a try and give yourself the gift of feeling calm and in control.
How do you make your work day more manageable? 
Any other wise tips out there?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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