Top 4 Tasks Taking Up Teachers’ Time 

Supporting educators starts with understanding their workload so you can tailor professional learning, planning, and resources to meet teachers’ needs. While teachers balance a variety of priorities in a typical day, acknowledging the tasks that take up most of their time allows leaders to identify useful ways to offer their support and assistance. Read on to learn about the four tasks that teachers most frequently spend their time on!

1. Finding Resources

Teachers may be offered district or school-wide resources such as textbooks or online platforms to use in their classrooms, but many teachers still find themselves searching for resources that meet their students’ needs or align well with content from previous lessons. The internet offers a seemingly endless repository of information, which can be overwhelming and time consuming to sift through as teachers work to find that “perfect” resource to add to their lesson plans. School leaders can support teachers across this area by offering more turn-key resources that they can count on. The right resources will alleviate stress and ensure they don’t spend their entire planning session scrolling through and analyzing resources for their lessons. 

2. Planning Lessons

Once they’ve found the right resources, teachers must determine how they will integrate the content into their instruction. Not every resource can be dropped into an upcoming lesson, instead, teachers often ask themselves the following questions about new resources they find:
  • How many instructional minutes should I dedicate to instruction on this topic?
  • Is there a simple way to share the resources I’ve found with my students?
  • How will I need to scaffold the presentation of these resources?
  • Is there background knowledge needed to access the information presented in this lesson?
  • Will this lesson be engaging and accessible for my students?
Consider how often your teachers ask themselves these questions and sit in on conversations around suggested instructional resources, LMS integration with various tools, and pacing guides to learn more about where teachers may be spending too much unnecessary time in the lesson-planning process.

3. Assessing Students

Assessment is an ongoing part of the instructional process, and teachers will often administer a variety of formative and summative assessments throughout a unit of study. Determining how and when to quickly assess students can be an uphill battle if teachers’ tools are limited. Streamlining formative assessment planning and execution can free up more time for teachers to spend time on other areas such as analyzing assessment data to better inform instruction.

Since summative assessments are generally planned before lessons actually begin, teachers are often asked to think ahead about assessment design, meaning they may plan the next unit’s assessment before they get the opportunity to fully progress through the current unit. Assessing student learning may call for multiple modalities or presentation options for the assessment itself, questions that mimic a larger summative assessment, or a variety of supplies and tools for project-based assessments. Evaluating what type of assessments your teachers plan throughout the year can create opportunities for collaborative planning between teachers working on different teams and forge new ways for leaders to support the planning process.

4. Monitoring Progress

Data analysis, like assessment, is an ongoing process that occurs throughout the school year. Teachers regularly collect and analyze data on their students’ performance, which they use to inform their next lesson planning steps. Planning intervention, remediation, and acceleration for students who need more support or learning extensions doesn’t come quickly. Instead, this type of nuanced lesson planning calls for a deep understanding of student performance levels, and that kind of analysis requires time. Ensuring teachers have the right tools and support for data analysis, such as easy-to-read reports and dashboards, opens doors for teachers to better address student needs with the right instruction.

Prioritizing what your teachers need is the best way to make sure the support offered makes a real impact and helps encourage staff. To truly support your teachers, delve into the tasks that consume their time and reflect on how your work can help alleviate some of their responsibilities.

Learn More about Maximizing Instructional Hours by Taking a Quiz on How Teachers Spend Time and Finding Strategies to Support Them!