5 ways to be an efficient teacher

Simi Rai

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Time is always of the essence in this profession. You have assessments to grade, data deadlines to meet and urgent emails to respond to. Since so much of our time is spent teaching and planning, it is paramount that we use our free time wisely.


It's easy to lose a free period catching up in the staff room, but if we really do want that work-life balance we have to take full advantage of those precious free periods.


1. Write things down

Whether you're in a meeting or staff briefing, write everything down. Important dates, upcoming events, pupil sanctions. These are all easy to forget in the day-to-day of teaching, so make sure you keep everything in a diary and carry it with you. I tend to make to-do lists and tick them off as I go as this gives me a sense of accomplishment. Prioritise your list with numbers, and get through them one by one.

2. Plan in bulk

I need to know that my lessons for the week are planned before I can even think about marking, so I plan a week's worth of lessons at a time. You can always adjust your planning later, but if you know what you are teaching for the week, you can prepare your photocopying and PowerPoints altogether. This is a real time saver!

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3. Delegate

Pupils love to assist teachers in and out of the classroom, so allocate classroom monitors. Assign a homework monitor, book collector, spell checker, whiteboard scribe etc. When marking, ask pupils to open their books to the page you need to mark so that you don't have to spend valuable time searching for it. Not only does this give pupils a sense of accomplishment, but it also allows you to be more productive elsewhere.

4. Create a marking timetable

Allocate a free period to marking a set of pupil books or assessments. Be realistic. Expecting to mark 30 books in an hour is optimistic, but if you can aim for 15, you're halfway there. Time yourself on each pupil book, so that you're not over marking. Stick to this marking timetable, and it's unlikely you'll fall behind.

5. Stick to one system

Every department has their own marking policy, but there are ways to simplify your marking. Try one strength and a target for improvement, or a tick sheet with the assessment criteria. Most pupils will jump straight to their grades and targets, so avoid writing too much in the margins unless necessary. Whichever method you choose, stick to it.

Teaching can be a very demanding profession, so plan ahead for that peace of mind. Efficiency is key!

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About our Community Expert

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Simi Rai
Community Expert

Over 5 years of experience in educational settings throughout London, Madrid and Barcelona. Whilst studying English Literature and Language at King’s College London and the University of North Carolina, she fell in love with her subject - both the study of literature and craft of writing.

After graduating, she completed the Leadership Development Programme with Teach First, whose mission is to provide equality through education, and attained her PGCE in Secondary English at Canterbury Christ Church University. She was then appointed as Deputy Head of English at one of the highest performing schools in England in a London inner-city academy.

Following this, she completed her Leadership and Management MA at University College London (Institute of Education) and became the director of an English Language company based in Barcelona.

Simi is our English Literature and Language Expert.

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