It’s not uncommon in the modern school to receive up to 100 e-mails a day. These vary from tasks to do, reminders and advertising from publishers selling you the latest and best resource ever. The teacher and laptop combination has meant you are never far away from your e-mails and if you throw e-mail addiction into the mix then if you are not careful your productivity levels will drop and your stress levels will rise.
Here are a few tips to avoid e-mail addiction:
Set yourself times when you will check your e-mails. The times for checking can be flexible and found by trial and error. For instance you might find checking twice a day too few or too many.
Sometimes it us useful to check your e-mail first thing in the morning and categorise them into urgent, non urgent and deletable. Did you know that 50% of e-mails are deleted before they are opened?
Don’t be tempted to have your school e-mail installed on your phone. Do you really want a message from your line manager at 11.00 in the evening before you go to bed?
Think before you send an e-mail whether you need to send it or not. Could you not walk and talk to the person instead?
Is there such a thing as e-mail competition? For instance, does sending an e-mail late at night impress anyone? Does the recipient really think – gosh, they’re working late!? Don’t point score by sending your e-mail later than anyone else.
Limit yourself to a set number of e-mails a day. Sometimes I set myself a 5 a day sending limit. If I have to send more then I will go and find the person or phone them.
Remember there is no such thing as an e-mail emergency!
If you have a way of avoiding e-mail addiction then please comment freely.
Schools are full of opportunities for pupils and teachers alike. Teachers by the nature of the job are kind and caring individuals that are genuinely helpful. When you join a school you can be put under a certain amount of pressure to run a sports team, get involved with drama and contribute generally to the extra-curricular side of the school. It may even be in your contract! I personally think that its a great idea to do something in the school that’s away from your subject area, as you see the pupils and students out of the context of your subject. Useful bonds can be made that can not be created in the classroom. I think it’s important however that you don’t say yes to too much or volunteer yourself too much. Early on in my career I became involved with the Combined Cadet Force, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and took a Cricket team in the summer. This at first gave me a sense of satisfaction as I felt I was giving to the school and enriching the students but in the end my weekends were gone and quite a few evenings during the week vanished. This became limiting and resulted in my non-school life suffering. My teaching also was not quite as good as I could not spend the same amount of time planning. I think the lessons have to come first, always. So do get involved with things as this is good and will develop you as a teacher but you can say no. Other people will be, just look around you!
Do you find that you are just buried under endless pieces of paper? Do you have so many emails marked as urgent that you do not know where to start? It is quite easy to feel like you are drowning in the amount of paper work, glossy brochures offering exciting trips and opportunities for career development and urgent memos. I often found I had stacks and stacks of documents and emails I thought I would get round to sorting but at that specific moment I did not have time to act upon. This was until I went on a course and learnt this simple yet essential tip: do, delegate or dump.
The idea is easy, with the aim being you only handle one piece of paper work once. Either do it there and then if it is something worth doing. If you don’t have time to do it, give the job to someone else to do. Or if it’s one of those things you think you will put on the list of things to do but know deep down that you’ll never find the time to do it, simply get rid of it and live your life clutter-free!