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Business Teacher planning tips for a new academic year

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Over the years of teaching, I have chatted with colleagues and developed a few planning tips that you might find useful. Here are a few to get you started....

1) Easy email tips

Create subfolders in your home and work emails. E.g. meetings, from students, about students, enterprise and so on for work. For home also create subfolders for; things you have bought, any big projects, emails from your kid's schools and so on.

Create rules for people that email you a lot, in outlook right click on their email then choose to create a rule and you can put everything from them into one handy folder, then you don't have to pick through 200 marketing emails to get to it. I promise this takes 2 mins and will simplify your planning time.

2) Where to start

You need to set up a spreadsheet of all the planning that you need to do. This includes any resources to write, filling in your teacher planner and so on. Make a list. Then traffic light it (RAG rate); red not done, orange looked at but walked away, green done. I also have shades of green for how "done" my planning is. The darker the green the better the project progress. The next time you sit down at your computer your very first task EVERY-TIME is to open that spreadsheet and it will tell you where to start. I cannot tell you how many times I did tasks twice before I started this system. This also stops you from opening Amazon and spending 20 minutes looking at doorbells!

3) Dust off old stuff

Go through your files to organise them and have a look at worksheets that you made in 2014 for example. You will be amazed at the ways you can now rejig these activities or add to them for an exciting start. Those that are totally out of date (e.g. that case study on iPods) then it's time to delete. The key is * possibly useful ** out-of-date you can decide on further criteria but every file should have a folder. Start the year like this and it will be easier. Never a better time to tidy up your shared drive or the moodle as well. I'm just jotting this on my to-do spreadsheet now while I think about it.

4) A quick round-up of other tips.

  • Define projects at the start, outlining what you want to achieve at the end.

  • Add to be done by dates. This will not make you sad it will make you realise that everything takes twice as long, also bear this in mind when setting work for students.

  • Try and make worksheets on one page. One topic one page. Don't overcomplicate things and your photocopying will be simpler (and cheaper).

  • Plan at the same time every day. If you are great at 9 am but rubbish by about 2 pm then do all your planning in the morning.

If you really want you can add a chart where you track your energy levels. I do this with students just before revision starts and they love it.

Sarah is a business teacher trainer; she has taught business for 23 years and has been a business examiner for over 20 years. If you would like to book a staff CPD session or exam revision session for students (via Zoom) please email:
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