Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guest Blogger- Gina with Tips for Prioritizing and Organizing!

Before I introduce you to your guest blogger today, just a reminder that I'm having a Spring Cleaning Sale at TpT and TN!  Everything is 20% off today and tomorrow!  If you're looking for me, not only am I in Massachusetts this week, but I'm also gust blogging over at Creekside Teacher Tales today for my sweet friend Tracy who is on vacation too!  I hope you'll pop over there to check out my post on my favorite read alouds...

And here's my guest blogger...

It's Gina today... and I'm so happy to have her!  After moving to 3rd grade this year, I've loved connecting with other 3rd grade teachers and Gina is a great one!  I know you're going to love her post about holding it all together... which is not an easy thing to do!  Thanks, Gina, for sharing your insight... and for being here for me today!
Third Grade Tidbits

Hi everyone! I'm Gina from Third Grade Tidbits. I am sure you can guess that I currently teach third grade (this is my 5th year in third). I am not sure what I will be teaching next year but I do love the age group I am with right now (and I do have the most amazingly sweet class ever.) I am so honored that Christina has let me come over to her fantabulous blog and guest post while she is enjoying a lovely break. Are we all jealous? Or are you on a break too? Mine is long over. But while I was on mine, I got to thinking about what I call the juggling act.

The- mom, teacher, wife, person- juggling act. It has taken me a long time to figure it out, and I am still not sure that I have it all figured out. I am sure I can't be the only person with this problem, so I wanted to share some things that I have figured out the past (almost) 2 years (since my daughter is almost 2- pre Payton I didn't juggle. I just worked- a lot). 

The first thing that I had to realize and accept is that there is one of me, 22+ kids and parents, a lot of administrators, and tons of paperwork. There isn't enough time in a day for it all. Once you get past that, follow these quick easy tips to help juggle without dropping the ball.

Now that you have realized you can't do it all, you need to prioritize your time. I get to school about 20 minutes before my kids. I wish I could say it was more, but I value my sleep too much. I do not stay late. (I can't due to our current child care situation.) Do I bring work home? You bet. Do I touch it every day? Not a chance. But it is there just in case I have down time. Utilize your planning time for PLANNING. Allow no more than 30 minutes (or choose your own number, I chose 30 because we have 30 minutes of Chinese daily so I pick one Chinese class) of your scheduled planning time for the busy work paperwork. Use the rest of your planning time to do your lesson plans, find amazing resources on TpT, grade papers, prep materials, whatever it is YOU need to do.  For me this is always completing things on my to do list for the week and planning for the following week. 

Another time saver is to bring a stack of papers with you every time you take your kids somewhere. In my case, we have 2 class restroom breaks a day. I bring papers with me and grade them. I also bring them when I am picking my kids up from support so that the few minutes I am waiting for them I can grade papers. (And to make grading more fun, get yourself some pretty colored pens that are happy.) I don't have any papers to grade with me, so instead I am showing you a picture of a portion of my pen collection (I may be a little bit more of a pen addict than the average teacher.) These are my current favorites. Just look at my plan book and planner up there- everything is better in pretty colors. 

When you get home (ESPECIALLY) if you have kids, don't spend ALL your time working. Yes I admit that I do work when I get home. Usually it is finishing something on my to do list for the next day. But don't work your entire night away. Enjoy time with the family. Once the kids are in bed, work for a set amount of time (I give myself about an hour). What doesn't get done, move to the next day. Start with the most important this way you get necessities done. If they are all equally important, I like to start with the shorter ones so that I can feel like I accomplished something (crossing things off my list makes me feel better). 

The most important thing is to take time for yourself. At the end of the day, you need to be happy with yourself. If you let yourself get overworked, drained, etc, you aren't going to love your job anymore. And we as teachers know that loving what we do and why we do it is the most important thing. Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and step away from it all. Get your hair done, get a mani/pedi, read a book, go on a hike, anything that works for stress relief for you. 

And since this post wasn't full of content and pictures, I thought I would share a little freebie with you. Nothing fancy, but if you read my blog, then you know I am obsessed with to do lists. This one is made to match my blogging calendar that makes me smile. Click the picture to take you to the file on google drive. 


  1. A lovely post Gina! I don't have kiddos, but so much of what you say resonates with me. I find myself at school or working on school ALL THE TIME. Then I come to a place where I just need a break. Really trying to put more of those breaks in there REGARDLESS! School will ALWAYS be there, I will ALWAYS have something to do, but I need to also live life! Thank you for the reminder! BTW instead of a crazy picture of pens...I have a crazy pic of Post-It notes! LOVE them!

  2. Gina, glad I found your post! I have been struggling with juggling it all for the past few years. I have a 4 year old daughter and i'm not the best at time managment so this year has been tough. School just started back up after spring break and I took the time for ME and it helped so much!! Sometimes I need to remind myself that my family/hobbies that make me happy deserves some of my time too. It's so easy to get caught up in all my 2do lists and work myself ragged. It sure is tough when adminstator's forget and there's younger teachers with no kids/husbands that I get compared to! :(
    Thanks for this great advice! I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling this!

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