Teacher Pain Points

As the new school year arrives, we will share posts from current and former teachers detailing pain points in their daily teaching lives. We hope you find these helpful as you continue educating your students!

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By Alana Cayabyab, Banyan Field Host and Teacher

As teachers, we are always in search of hacks that can save teacher time. From lesson planning, parent communications, to all the tedious tasks we face as educators, teaching can be a LOT to handle in a day. 

Jennifer Orr, national-board- certified elementary school teacher, states in Education Week Teacher, that one of her goals is to not do anything students can do in the classroom. Jennifer states she had visited a friend and former colleague who left each day when students left. Her friend’s kindergarten students had set up the calendar, the classroom jobs, the materials, and more. Undoubtedly, students feel more invested in the classroom community when they feel responsible for it.

Jennifer continues with this notion of a student led classroom: you can have students run morning meetings and get the room set every morning and afternoon. Of course, establishing routines requires more time at the start of the year. Jennifer also suggests reflecting on what you do daily as a teacher to make sure the things you are doing can only be done by you.

Another time management hack on a more personal level is to meal prep over the weekends to prepare breakfasts and lunches for the week. Having nourishing grab and go foods will make the whole week flow more smoothly.  

One of my absolute favorite teaching hacks, and one that I taught to a new teacher colleague a decade ago who has used it ever since, is having students work in collaborative groups and use the THREE BEFORE ME RULE. Before the whole group raises their hand for help, they have to ask three classmates first. This rule can be written on a bulletin or white board which teachers could point to until students internalize it. This hack will also help promote students’ problem solving skills.


Happy teaching and finding ways to maximize your time and energy in the classroom!

Source: Ferlazzo, L. (2020, August 23). ‘Hacks’ for Teachers (Opinion). Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/opinion-hacks-for-teachers/2020/08