Ciara McGuane is the Summer Course Director
Her career highlights include being filmed by
BBC London teaching in the classroom and guest-lecturing at the Institute of
Education in London. She has worked as a teacher, school leader, teacher
trainer and initial teacher training tutor prior to setting up Rahoo.
One of her favourite memories of teaching is
when her class (with the help of kind colleagues!) organised a surprise
engagement party for her and sung Bruno Mars “Just the Ways You Are” to her!
One of her most embarrassing moments is
getting locked into the school building when working late in her NQT year, set
off the alarm and had to squeeze under the big school gate and two women
passing by had to drag her out! All caught on CCTV!
Ciara is passionate about teacher and
student potential – and believes accessible, informal
and enjoyable CPD is one of the best ways teachers can develop. She currently
works with Rahoo and misses the classroom – she will be back someday soon!
She shares some insight into 3 time-saving
tips for teachers:
Use a lesson planning framework
This is the ultimate tip in terms of
stress-free lesson planning and halving your planning time! It creates total
ease and flow for teachers and takes the hassle and the indecisiveness out of
lesson planning and where to put activities.
According to Albert Einstein, “Everything must be
made as simple as possible. But not simpler.” In order to achieve balance in
lesson planning and in lessons themselves, it is best to have a system.
Of course, in teaching it is necessary to be
flexible – as literally anything can happen to thwart your plans! Nevertheless,
a system is solid and will help achieve consistency in the quality of lesson
planning and lessons themselves. It doesn’t mean that all your lessons have to
be the same, but by creating some sort of consistent approach, it will make the
planning process flow easier.
I use the 4-Step Framework called KISS. This simple
lesson planning process is explored in detail in Rahoo’s EPV Summer Course
“Effective Lesson Planning”.
2. Who are you spending time with?
Whilst this may not necessarily be
time-saving – it is time-preserving and management.
Be careful about who you choose to
spend your time with – be conscious of staffroom politics, complaining and
begrudgery that might negatively affect you in the moment, but also the rest of
your day or week.
It is important to protect your time
and energy. Teaching is a draining job – it saps your energy so make a
conscious effort to gravitate towards people who lift you up.
Mark less, but better
This is a huge bug bear of mine and something
I come across regularly with teachers I work with. One of the biggest mistakes
a teacher makes is thinking that ticking and flicking every page and signing
their name is necessary and adequate marking. This is a huge drain on teacher
time and resources.
If you are doing this, you need to reflect and
ask yourself these questions:
What is the purpose of marking?
Who is it for?
The purpose of marking is for students to
learn and improve from constructive feedback. The purpose of marking is also
for the teacher to learn about how individual students are doing and if they need
to tweak their teaching.
Marking is fundamentally for the students and
Please don’t fall into the trap of marking for
the parents or principals. Many teacher tick and flick in books so that the
parents or principals can see that they have looked at the page. Ticking and
Flicking is NOT good quality feedback – it is not purposeful and it is a waste
of your time.
It is better to choose a piece of work to mark
– and mark that to a good standard using a feedback framework like two stars
and a wish to provide constructive feedback to students.
There is a whole section on effective marking
and feedback in the Work
Smarter, Be Happier EPV Summer Course.
I hope you found these 3 time-saving tips
useful – they are a snippet of what is shared in our EPV Summer Course “Work
Smarter, Be Happier”. Please feel free to check it out HERE.
Thank you to Ms Forde for hosting this guest
Rahoo Summer Course Director