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Whether you’ve already started school or you are about to start school, feelings of overwhelm are very real. Especially in the early months.
In this blog post, we will discuss two strategies that come from the manufacturing industry that can help you reduce teacher overwhelm and ensure a successful and manageable classroom experience as a secondary teacher.
Strategy 1: Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The first strategy we’ll explore is the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Now, don’t confuse this with the most valuable player!
In manufacturing, MVP refers to having a product that is functional and successful enough to serve its purpose. Without any unnecessary bells and whistles.
As a teacher, your goal is to ensure that your students leave your class equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to progress to the next level.
Think about the essential elements they need to grasp and focus on those.
It’s like having a reliable mode of transportation – whether it’s a skateboard, a scooter, a bicycle, or a car, what matters is that it gets you to your destination.
Similarly, in your teaching, it’s about delivering the core content effectively, without overwhelming yourself or your students.
For example, in an Introduction to Engineering Design class, the main goal may be to teach students the engineering design process.
While there may be other skills you’d like to cover, prioritize the key elements.
By focusing on the core concepts, you ensure that students are well-prepared for the next level.
Building self-efficacy among students is a powerful tool in motivating them to excel. One effective method is to familiarize students with the test format and content.
By practicing the test or offering mock exams, students gain confidence and become comfortable with the exam structure. This practice helps cut the fear of the unknown. And empowers students to believe in their ability to succeed.
Celebrate their progress and remind them that they have the necessary skills to ace the test.
Simplifying and Reducing Overwhelm
By identifying the key aspects of your curriculum and prioritizing them, you can simplify and reduce overwhelm in your classroom.
Create a visual reminder, like a post-it note on your computer, to keep your focus on the end goal.
Letting these minimum viable products guide your planning and assessment will help you streamline your teaching and grading processes.
Strategy 2: The 4S Approach
The second strategy we’ll discuss is based on Lean 5S, but we’ve modified it slightly to fit into 4S. This approach focuses on organizing and simplifying your teaching practices.
- Set in order: Lay out the standards and content you’ll be covering. Determine what to keep and what to let go of, based on your previous experiences and the desired outcomes.
- Schedule: Develop a clear plan for integrating the content into your teaching schedule, whether it’s for a quarter, a semester, or a year. Ensure that your students have enough time to meet the minimum viable product.
- Systemize: Find ways to simplify and automate processes in your classroom. Consider using reusable rubrics or assessment tools that align with the minimum viable product. This familiarity will help students understand expectations and reduce your workload.
- Sustain: Continuously evaluate and refine your systems to ensure they are effective and sustainable. Identify what is working well and replicate it. If something needs improvement, make adjustments to enhance efficiency and ease your workload. Remember, the goal is to simplify your life as a teacher and create a healthy work-life balance.
As you embark on a new school year, remember these two strategies to reduce overwhelm and create a successful learning environment.
Focus on the minimum viable product, identifying the essential skills and knowledge your students need. Then implement the Four Ss approach to organize and simplify your teaching practices.
By adopting these strategies, you’ll be able to navigate the challenges of teaching with confidence and enjoy a more balanced lifestyle.
So, take a deep breath, embrace these strategies, and have a fantastic school year!
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