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Productivity for Teachers that Works

By |2021-03-09T07:01:04-07:00March 16th, 2021|

Sparkchasers Episode 27 | Show Notes

Productivity for Teachers that Works with Michelle Emerson


In a school year like 2020-2021, productivity for teachers has been at a premium. And overwhelm has become the norm. But Michelle Emerson, from Pocketful of Primary, is on a mission to change that.

Michelle is a fourth grade teacher in Maryland who is passionate about technology, time management, organization, and productivity for teachers. In addition to teaching full time in the classroom, Michelle serves as her school’s eCoach in order to help teachers integrate technology into their instruction. She creates educational videos for teachers on her YouTube channel, Pocketful of Primary, and shares productivity tips on her podcast, Teaching to the TOP. She believes all teachers should feel empowered by their profession instead of overwhelmed and seeks to help educators create a work-life balance through her tips and strategies.

In today’s episode, you’ll hear Michelle’s number one tip for easing work anxiety and how we can all become better teachers by doing less. Here’s a few big takeaways I had from our chat together:

The Power List

Michelle and I talked a lot about lists and how they can help us keep track of everything that is going on. But her big productivity for teachers tip is called the “Power List”. This is just the top 3 things you need to get done in a day. Everything else you do is icing on the cake, but if you can get these 3 items done, you’ll feel accomplished.

You get to decide what those 3 things are, but Michelle generally recommends they are items that have to be done or you’ll worry about them later. This idea works really well to help in avoiding context switching, which can zap your energy, time, and focus.

Streamline and Consistency

Michelle uses ONE platform for all of her lessons – and she’s the school’s eCoach, so she loves technology! But this year in particular, she’s become a big advocate for learning one system and then just using it with consistency. Don’t worry about all the bells and whistles – those are nice to have, but not necessary at the end of the day.

Productivity for teachers is all about streamlining your tools and content, and then consistently implementing them with your students. This leads to a sense of normalcy for students and helps your stress levels go way down.

Stick to Your Boundaries

There was one part of our conversation that surprised and delighted me. Michelle talks about only working contracted hours this year and the difference it has made in her teaching. She feels strongly that sticking to this boundary has made her a better educator and better human. It has allowed her to explore her hobbies and other interests, which makes her more joyful when she’s teaching.

There can be creativity and beauty in restrictions. You learn what’s important and what’s not, and you can challenge yourself to rethink your constraints. I’m a big believer in this concept of less is more. So while on the surface it may seem impossible to get everything done in your contracted work hours, try using that boundary as a launchpad for rethinking what is a must and what is a frill.

Show Notes

Here’s a list of the resources and tools mentioned in this episode:

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