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5 Tips for FE teachers: working SMART!

1. Standardise your marking short hand

If you’re marking by hand, anything to make this process quicker and uniform across student work can help you use your time more effectively. We’re created a poster which you can download, use in your classroom or on email to remind students about what those little icons and symbols mean on their work.

Download the poster here

2. Make use of your students

Use peer marking for formative assessments. Not only will it help your learners gain a different insight or perspective on the subject matter, it’ll save your valuable time which can be spend on marking formal assessments.

3. Planning is key

  • Planning delivery is essential but also planning in time for marking, catch ups, administration and having a life is important!
  • Additionally, make the above easier with effective calendar management – not just meetings and teaching but also diarise everything else including your own personal development and admin time.
  • Embed key themes into schemes of work so opportunities for highlighting key themes have already been planned and are not a last minute panic for internal inspections.
  • Follow nested suite programmes like those from NCFE to look after Success, Retention and Achievement data to support learners at risk with appropriate drop off points in year.
  • Prioritise workload – if everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. Use something like a grid with ‘must, should, could, would’ and categorise your to do list according to these categories.
  • Using multiple session planners – instead of having just one lesson plan for every lesson, save time and use a weekly lesson plan template
  • Effective file management and standardising the names of your files will save your from feeling overwhelmed. Do this during the summer and start as you mean to go on.

4. Make use of technology

Using SMART applications for delivery – Nearpod for example – there are loads out there to pick from to support with teaching and delivery to assessment to tracking and monitoring.

5. Increase capacity during delivery

When you get a quiet 5 minutes such as during group discussions, use this time wisely rather than catching up on the news on your phone. You can take a look at admin tasks in lessons during group work such as emailing slides or uploading resources.

You can also use the time to clear your inbox. If it’s to do, flag it. If you’re not sure, reply and get the information. If it’s dealt with, delete it.

About the author

Chris spent over 10 years as a lecturer and curriculum manager in both schools and FE colleges. Chris specialises in Travel and Tourism, Sport, Outdoor Education, Health & Safety and Uniformed and Non-uniformed Public Services, with experience teaching and lecturing across all levels from 14-16 up to HND.


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