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10 Everyday Classroom Tasks Teachers Need to Ditch Right Away


10 Tasks Teachers Need to Ditch Right Away

Boundaries. We all know we need them, in our personal lives and in our classrooms, but are we actually implementing them? If you are like most teachers, you’d do anything for your students, and you probably do more than you should on a regular basis. We may think we’re doing our students a favor, but overworking ourselves on unnecessary tasks is a direct path to burnout. It’s time we recheck ourselves and figure out what tasks we can give back to students. This not only empowers them to solve their own problems, as well as taking care of themselves and others, but alleviates some of the load teachers carry so we can do important things like, you know, teach! We also know that some age groups, students with special needs, and other exceptions come up. Keep helping those kids with the tasks they need. But for the others, they may be relying too much on you. Check out these 10 tasks you may not even know you are doing for students, that they can do themselves.

1. Coats, gloves, and shoes, oh my!

Anyone who has their own small child at home knows what a task it can be to get them ready to go outside. There are shoes, gloves, hats, socks, coats, and more. Multiply that by 25 kids, and you will spend until your lunch break just dressing kids.

2. Sharpening their pencils

If they don’t like sharpening them, everyone’s second choice should be mechanical pencils, not asking you to do a task that even a preschooler can complete.

3. Doubling as the school nurse

While you may be tempted to check a student’s bruise, cut, headache, bellyache, and other bumps and lumps, it’s not your job. Instead, if it’s more than handing out a Band-Aid, send them to the nurse. Let’s stay in our lanes.

4. Cooking, heating, and cutting food

With more students staying put in one classroom through the pandemic, you may find yourself eating with your students. That doesn’t mean they should be handing you their pasta to warm up for them. If you do have a microwave you allow kids to use, show them the buttons once and let them have at it! (Maybe review that no foil in the microwave suggestion though!)

5. Finding the owner of “no-name” papers

If you are still listing off students who didn’t turn in an assignment or trying to match the no-name papers with their owners, it’s time to stop. Throw them in a no-name drawer or pin them to a board and watch the kids go. If they want the points, they will find their assignments.

6. Cleaning up project supplies

Make enough time at the end of the project to give students their own clean-up time and process. Nobody should be leaving unless it’s clean, and that doesn’t mean you are the maid who needs to do it.

8. Chasing down missing work

If a student is missing an assignment, it’s their job to figure it out and turn it in. Whatever grading system you use will clearly communicate this to them. If you find yourself verbally reminding them, especially more than once, it’s time to give the choice back to them.

7. Acting as a human spellchecker

Sure, kids may act like they don’t know what a dictionary is (totally valid, it’s 2021) but they sure do know how to Google, ask their devices, or check with the classroom Alexa.

9. Carrying their stuff

You are not a pack mule, and you do not need to carry backpacks or other supplies for students. This is a great chance for them to learn to ask each other for help to work as a team.

10. Providing answers to questions they can find themselves

Just like you aren’t a human spellcheck, you also aren’t Google. If you answer each question for them, they won’t rely on each other for collaboration, and they sure won’t become the expert researchers you hope they will become by college and life beyond.

Any of these sounds familiar? Shake off that I’m-the-teacher guilt, and return the responsibility of basic, everyday tasks to your students!

Also Check Out:

10 Tasks Teachers Need to Ditch Right Away

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Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost is a freelance journalist and high school publications teacher in Cincinnati, OH. She's worked with other publications such as Glamour, Women's Health, Reader's Digest, and more. She has three young sons under age four and has been teaching high school for ten years. She encourages her students to develop communication skills, independence, and a passion for writing in their authentic writers' voices. To connect or read more of her work please her website or follow her on social media: Twitter Instagram Linked In.

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