T2
Strategies for Teacher (T) and Time (T) Management


By

Dr. Viju Mathew
Asst. Professor
MOHE
Department of International Business Administration
College of Applied Science, Salalah
P.O. Box 1905, Postal Code 211, Salalah, Sultanate of Oman

Mrs. Mary Kavitha
Independent (Senior) consultant based in India
 


Abstract

The time management and the positive effect of utilizing time properly have given many benefits in the past history. Many of the scholar from there experience have told that "Time is Money" and so on.  The paper, describes various methods and techniques for managing the time related to academician especially in case new recruited academic teacher to the institution or the university, casing a wide range of areas and field. It includes recommendation, students research proposals, development projects, consultancy, area of reference, tips, emailing, to writing research/grant proposals and teaching, assignment, services and other helping the faculty to develop and grow professionally with better utilization of the time.

Introduction

Major aim of the any academic member in the university or teaching institution is concerns more about teaching and research. The teaching member has to teach, prepare proposals, supervise students, attend conferences, give talks, write papers, interact with the industry, serve on departmental/ various committees, organize projects, conduct research, consultancy and other so many activity. How can it be possible to find time to do all this? The time management of teacher is so formed that he will be involved in all the activity. Overall he also has to spend time with his/her family member. He is also required to attend some get-together useful for establishing professional relationship, network and undertaking combined projects, proposals etc.

By systematic managing the time and having the planned schedule for the day, week and month the teacher can make it possible to meet all the ends. This paper, describes some of the methods and techniques for time management. This methods and technique have been used by various teachers and learned during the experiences in teaching as professors, and developing the way to find some time for various work and arranging the regular work for some urgent need really important things in our life.

Exchange of ideas and association

Most of the significant time we have to spend in teaching, advising and doing the regular preparations which require time and effort. The major work in term of the teacher is exchanging the ideas, knowledge and experience to the students and fellow research associate and other member of the institution helping and contributing for the development. In addition, we often spend time for the association with colleagues from various other institutions, department, industry and related field for the research and other purpose acting as the major advantage of the job. Knowing large number of people will help a teacher to develop and understand the practical life for e.g. the teacher related to finance; management can understand and develop the cases for the students with the help of the association. At the same time he/she can contribute to the business with consultancy with the knowledge, experience and skills.

Regularly, the students, colleagues and visitors requested some time for meeting regarding some issues like grades, research, personal discussion, departmental chores such as participating in committees or organizing events, approvals, discussion various issue related to the duties and jobs etc. Most of the time these requests come through mobile, e-mail, regular visits, and surprise visits. Most of the time attending these requests is not always easy and we do not know if we have time or want to fulfill the request, and we certainly do not have time now to think about what we should do.

Arrangement of agenda based Meetings

Scheduling meetings with students, department meeting related to academics, students, research and getting contact with other faculty are important part of the work and our calendar often fill with regular discussions and meetings. Sometime, these discussions which will lead to loose our time based on issues talking about electricity problem, water problem, transportation service etc. The author suggests few guidelines that will help the academic member to plan meeting and discussion giving much time to the faculty to concentrate of other productive activity.

To manage our time being a teacher we have to regularly schedule every bit of our moment which includes the class schedule, research agenda, discussion with other faculty, concentrating on the new academic outputs and so on. Without having a daily time schedule it is sure that we are going to waste our time which will not be productive. Timely and accurate plan for each hour should be scheduled every day. The tasks which are taken into calendar should be properly arranged as per the relevance and priority. Arranging task according to the time and relevance or scheduling time does not mean that you have to spending some time to discuss about the issues related to the department. The first priority of an academic teacher is the teaching and research. Each faculty member has to spend some time for the addition to his knowledge and teaching. It will be very important to a newly recruited academic faculty to spend more time to gain knowledge and learn related to his/ her specialization helping them to sustain in between other experienced teacher with same specialization and coordinate for the research.

Sometimes, we have to rearrange and allocate time for crop up meetings. Schedule your regular meetings, and arranging slot to assign to non-regular meetings. Whenever anybody ask you the time for some meeting like to have orientation to the staff, students you will have a chance to rearrange the time schedule and give him non regular meeting time.

Schedule the time by the use of the mind to form thoughts (thinking) i.e. doing some productive activity or to develop some important things. It is often happen that we give first preference to those who are waiting to meet us or requesting for meeting. It should not happen that we spent all our time in meetings and have no time left to form thoughts (no, you cannot put you maximum efforts at night after a day in which you two to three class, attended three meetings within department and visitors and arranging the other activities ). Schedule the time for use of the mind to form thoughts in your busy calendar to. That way, you will be less tending to bestow it.

Arrange the time schedule in such a way that you should get a day more from your regular meeting of your weekdays. This day or two in your schedule with no regular meetings will helps you schedule valuable, uninterrupted research time in that day. Never arrange any schedule meeting without a clear agenda and goals, and without a clear ending time. Meetings with no agenda and goals are the biggest waste of time. For the awareness of the time, arrange a clock in such a way that you can look at without your visitor noticing. To avoid overtime meetings without having to look at your watch during the meeting, hang a clock right above the visitor's head. This will help you to plan the remainder of the meeting. The arrangement of any meeting from any body should be pre decided unless or otherwise some emergency comes. The arrangement of the meeting should be planned including the time period and the agenda. Make note in your diary of the major points in the meeting and the activities which you took the responsibility for fulfillment including the deadline which help to undertake and fulfill the responsibility without failure. Being a good professional the responsibility should be fulfilled in time which represents some of your qualities.

Plan your time for discussion with the research, advice and other regular class students. Arrange and allocate time of the meeting and schedule, before a week by posting it or put on the organizational website where every student can have an access. Ask your students to arrange their entire discussion problem in a notepad and bring the items during the discussion time allocated and issues they want to discuss with you. That should be the same note pad every time. Explain to them that this way they have all your meetings transcribed, they get the best out of your (and their) time, and they have all the material available when they need to put together a paper outline. Always set a plan of action with goals for the next meeting. Plan and allocate regular time for body and health exercise. Body exercise is very essential to keep you healthy and mentally fit helping you to think and act wisely. Without the fit and health body you cannot act properly or even think properly.

Avoid gratuitous events

Your have to categories the useful task which is equally important. Avoid unnecessary and unwanted events which may lead to spend sometime for an unfruitful action. You might have tasks that should be there at the end of the day, week, month, year and you will not have been able to get to them despite all your good intentions, this is majorly involvement in unnecessary events which waste time and will stop the teacher to be fruitful.

Develop the habit of prioritizing the works. The list activities should be recorded with respect to the deadline and the responsibilities. It includes information, assignments, task description, people involved and the stage period. By specifying and knowing the tasks based on the priority at every given period of time helps you not to get involve in new task which you cannot fulfill and you cannot spend the time keeping you from over-committing your time. The valid reason can be given to the peers group looking you to get involved to new project, task and research. Readily producing the reasons for not getting involved in the said activity will be looked as a positive quality of your being a professional which will get you admiration. Based on the deadline, improvement, commitment, time involvement etc you can prioritize all your tasks. Much priority should be given to the tasks which are important and fruitful and lead to development (e.g. seminar paper, conference research presentation, research projects etc) and more time should be given in the task list rather than to non-important.

Try to avoid administrative function rather than delegate to your administrative assistant. Assign as many administrative tasks as possible to your assistant like printing, ordering materials for the department and research, sending files, searching the items on internet etc. Keep the entire documents which you want to go through, save it and take few times for reading it per week. Administrative staff should be oriented about the activity and requirement of the task to be done any time during the appointment. The admin staff should take care of the post received except personal in your table and send it across with your signature for the action by preparing letter and other activity consulting you with a telephonic discussion for the arrangement. Spend time on important and urgent issues. Your time schedule of the week should fix schedule for project meetings involving several people, but on an on-demand schedule. The suppleness to selectively focus on different topics over a few weeks, while still making balanced progress on bigger projects.

Updating yourself

Accessing the internet, reading newspaper, journals, business issues, research papers and other secondary sources should be regularly done for updating yourself with the latest and getting aware for the information. Reading your E-mail is the way where you will get new information and also the contact point where other will ask you for your time. It also acts as a destroyer of your time management. Unless you keep a firm hands over your time calendar. Here is some advice for getting informed and email management:

  • Assign some time for reading. With the morning tea time or while taking your breakfast you can read newspaper for the getting updated about business, economy, politics, international news, new upcoming etc. Reading journal and other can be taken when you are traveling in the taxi, train or other vehicle to your office.
  • Assign specific time for reading e-mail. Two times a day is more than enough. It is recommended to look once every morning and second when day ends.
  • Try to read the electronic research papers and other material during allotted time and recommendable to be in print form.
  • Keep blockage to all unnecessary notification, popup, other links, noise, advertisement, music etc. which will distract you concentration.
  • Delete or transfer the appropriate the message to the appropriate folder to read later. Many of us found that the empty inbox is a huge stress reliever. This way you will never keep the read message in inbox.
  • Install a good spam and low-priority message filter, to reduce the filtering time needed for you to process your inbox.
  • Transformed into a task and transferred to the task list and/or the calendar

Being "A TEACHER"

Teaching

The new teacher will be excited and full of energy for taking class and engaging much of their time in preparing for the class and reading, learning and invest unlimited sum of time into teaching, as you it will help the new teacher to develop in his/her specialization and receive immediate reward from the students getting round of applause after the class, and you will be admired, become popular and likely. The students from different department, faculty and areas will try to even talk to you. Large group of your students will try to engage your time for discussion. But bear in mind that your job is based on a combination on teaching, research and various other activities that without an outstanding work within following years it is very unlikely that you will get tenure. In fact, for most tenure-track positions, what counts is your research based on the tenure and the future development of the career. Therefore the faculty member has to indulge himself in various research activities.

This means that the faculty in the college or in an university should concentrate on the teaching area as well as side by side on research too for his development and other activity. He/she should take more care of his actual professional of teaching the students but be careful that you do not invest too much time into it. Try  to build some professional relationship which help the faculty to get some resources like teaching material, notes of the courses which the other faculty have already taught before. This will help the newly recruited faculty to spend more concentration and reduce time gap. The reference from the library for the use or the faculty members from the other universities who have taught a similar course can recommend the books, reference and or use a textbook that comes with plenty of teaching material. This will help the faculty to develop the notes and teaching agendas in very less amount of time and can concentrate on other activities.

Class teaching

The teacher is the only commander of the class in a class room teaching. The faculty should understand that the subject which is handled by the teacher will create the positive and negative effect in the mind of the students. The career of the students is dependent on each individual teacher from which he learns. The teacher should try to give maximum output to the students in a predetermined number of time/ hours. He/ she should be well prepared for each lecture. Try to prepare slides for each class; this will literally limit and maximize value for the number of minutes that you spend on each slide. If you have taught the same subject or course before, then you need to go through the slides and additional note before few hours of the class and that will be easy and comfortable. The faculty should predetermine the assignment, teaching methods and tools, examination and related activity to be at better end. The faculty should adjust the time so that the ending of the course should be at least a week before the exams. The problem solving or tutorial should be arranged well in advance.

Research

The faculty should also concentrate to the research which will help the university and the department to earn revenue, reputation and develop the ranking position in the country. The research and publication will help the faculty member to earn extra income and add to the reputation. Being a good researcher and having ample of research the students and the other university community will admire you and appreciate you for the efforts. Research will also help you to develop your teaching knowledge and professional development as you will be involved in lot many professional organization, having relation with lot many people and so on.   

Writing Research funding Proposals

Developing research grant proposals is one of the most competitive jobs you might ever done in your life. The competition will be developed among the group of people which belong to your same department. The faculty in any department as a new will have to same idea and develops the concept or the research grants based on the announcement.  He/ she have to develop the better proposal covering all expensed. Sometime you have to be competitive to your immediate head, professor, and colleges whom you are regularly taking a tea or sharing the apartment.

In the research grants proposal you need to beer the travel cost, equipment cost, support the group, and lot of other which need funds to be fulfilled which need ample of time and understanding of the areas helping you to develop the grant proposal. The positive effects of developing the research proposal are that you try to understand and anticipate the future needs ahead and recording it. The problem may be relevant to some of the business, NGO's, government agencies, industry which will help you to develop relationship and consultancy with the agencies. It will also help the faculty to understand the concept beyond certain limit of problem solving and system. Sometime developing research grant proposal can take as much time as writing a full paper, and it is sometimes doubtful whether the money is worth all the time you invest or you will get much return as a professional development as you are expecting. The negative effect of writing research grants proposal is that you will be competing with the senior professors in your field. The competition between you and the community who have expertise, established research record, contacts, influence, sometime your supervisor and who tend to get much larger grants from funding agencies.

It has highly recommended to write small research grants proposal which you can handle as a new faculty and to keep safe of all competitive efforts from the other university and professional community, professor who are trying for the large grant proposals. This will add to establish a good research record in your area, and to look forward that in hardly any years you will be well thought-out one of the higher-ranking professional in your field. Try to make a combined group of people from your department, university and also fro the other university which will help the group to develop and grow for capturing and handling large research grants.

Evaluation Panels

Evaluation panels for analyzing and giving comments to the research grant proposals, research are a good way to learn and understand that how evaluator evaluate, the areas, how to write a successful good grant proposals etc.  You should accept only those proposals for which you have enough time and can do high-standard evaluation. Being a member of the evaluation committee will help you to understand the view point of other evaluators for which they are looking for the approve research grant and other things. This understanding will help you to write successful research grand proposals, research papers and other development projects. . One approach that has worked for us is to start evaluation right away: Give the proposal/ paper to one of your best students and schedule a meeting to discuss the paper within a couple of weeks. During this time you also read the proposal paper carefully. Then in a meeting with the student, you discuss the evaluation, and the student writes a first draft of evaluation that you can then revise later.

Service

As soon as you enter as a new faculty in the institution it seems, suddenly you become very popular among the institutional community and industry. You will be contacted for various numbers of services to be offered. It include review papers, panel member for new recruitment committee, act as a conference chair, serve on program committee member and proposal review panels, and many other university level committee member like examination committee, curriculum development committee, student  research  review panel etc. which leads you to have no time. Agree to only those activities for which you have time to perform while maintaining high standards and act effectively and efficiently.

Committees

It is recommended to get involved in agenda committee work which will extensively improves your level of exposure to the community, and it offers you a valuable overview of the current research in your area of interest. Be careful that the responsibility you undertake should be fulfilled well in time otherwise it will hurt your image in the community. Therefore you should get involved only in that committee for which you can devote time and efforts for the success. It is a true honor to be in a committee doing community service and commit yourself for the completion of the undertaking.

University Service

The faculty appointed does not have much idea about the committee and the associations related to the department, university and other for which he / she can serve. It is recommended to get involved in the university level after some time of your service (approximately 1 year) during the time you will have an overview of the system, relationship and the connection among different areas. Playing a role in shaping the development of a new area within your university will help you to develop administrative, organizational and innovation skills leading you to undertake higher responsibility. Sometimes, there are always cases where it is clearly beneficial for you from the start to serve on a committee but remember some services and responsibility will require huge amount of time and commitment.

Students and office

Being a teacher, you are responsible first to the students and the problem they are facing in your subject/ course. Make yourself available to the students during one or two hours per week in the office/ department/ chair. Solve the problem preferably in group which will minimize the time and efforts to do repeatedly the same. Encourage the students to form study group and help each other to understand and solve problem among the group and if the group have any problem they can approach other group. In this way you will develop the quality of team efforts, group problem solving, communication problems, helping nature which is very much necessary in the professional life after there course. Strongly discourage students to show up randomly at other times. Discourage the students to approach you in the library, during the meeting, lunch hours, residence and so on. Develop a routine on how to maximize your efficiency of interaction with the students.

Answering questions about the lectures or clarifications about research, assignment and project and concerning specific questions about the subject/ course/ projects should be handled in as soon as possible or short duration of time with an appointment or extra class. It does not require to be in the class room, you can discuss in the a conference hall, cafeteria, and vacant space available around, if class rooms are not free.

Overload

If you think that you are over loaded with work and you are too high to bear your work or you think you cannot do the activity with high standards due to overload then talk to your department head or dean or chair. The department head or dean or chair can give you time off teaching and research and release you from committees being overloaded. Don't think that this will lead to create bad image or doubt in you efficiency. It is better to deal with the worst situation rather that doing a wrong thing due to overload. 

Conclusion

Being a teacher it is the best thing you are doing to the community but always keep in your mind that "TEACHER IS MAKING THE NEXT GENERATION". Therefore be aware that you are doing the best job that can be imagined. You have the full independence to think and act. You can decide the program, research, and service to the university and the community. You are the only person who will make your own career and develop your inner being. You will be responsible for doing good and also to create your own image.

People will eager to learn from you and try to grow. You act together and work together in a group/ team with colleagues at your department who are the experts in their fields; you serve for various committee, association and you will become part of the community where you can play a role in shaping the goals of this community and where you will make friends that last a lifetime of a TEACHER fulfilling the best with TIME.
 


Dr. Viju Mathew
Asst. Professor
MOHE
Department of International Business Administration
College of Applied Science, Salalah
P.O. Box 1905, Postal Code 211, Salalah, Sultanate of Oman

Mrs. Mary Kavitha
Independent (Senior) consultant based in India
 

Source: E-mail November 29, 2008

          

Articles No. 1-99 / Articles No. 100-199 / Articles No. 200-299 / Articles No. 300-399
Articles No. 400-499 / Articles No. 500-599 / Articles No. 600-699 / Articles No. 700-799
Articles No. 800 to 899 / Back to Articles 900 Onward / Faculty Column Main Page