Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.
Starting a new position as a teacher is never easy, especially when transitioning to a busy classroom setting as a CTE health science instructor. While you may be used to long hours working under pressure in a clinical environment, teaching brings with it a different kind of stress.
Discovering the sheer amount of work you are required to do--and the relatively little time you have to do it--is one of the most overwhelming and dismaying feelings you can have as a new health science teacher.
Going into your first year, you might have felt confident in your material and your capability as an instructor. But suddenly, you are drowning in work and using your precious personal time just to finish what you need to get done for the next day.
It’s become clear that to stay afloat, you need to save time wherever you possibly can.
Below, you’ll discover four ways to save time as a new health science teacher:
Use Resources from Other Teachers
Implement an Electronic Gradebook
Assign Independent Work
Adopt a Digital Curriculum
When you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a better idea of the strategies you can adopt to take back your own time and be more confident in your new CTE health science classroom.
1. Use Resources from Other Teachers
One of the most underappreciated challenges facing new teachers is that they are often afraid to use resources produced by other teachers.
When you arrive at your new school, you might feel a bit alone--like you’re teaching in a silo rather than on a team. You report to your administrator, but you’re often left alone when it comes to your instruction. You might be afraid of collaborating with other teachers for fear that they will judge you for using their ideas, or you could be frightened that an administrator will be unimpressed with your lack of originality.
Sometimes, teachers also feel as though they have no other professionals to collaborate with. This mentality is particularly challenging for health science educators, who are often the only individual in their building qualified to teach this specialized subject. With no one to talk to, health science teachers like you often feel like they have to build their entire curriculum from scratch, costing them countless hours and making them feel isolated and unsupported by their school and administration.
How Collaborating With Teachers Can Help You Build Better Lessons
The reality is that you aren’t alone in teaching health science. Thousands of educators like you across the country are working in similar environments, teaching the same subject material, using similar course standards, and often preparing students for the same certifications.
Many educators who have taught before you have seen great success simply through collaborating with other professionals, whether through conversations, professional events, or simply sharing lesson plans and classroom resources.
Working in a community of other instructors allows you to make sure your students receive the best instructional materials. While this starts with working with colleagues in your school or district, it certainly doesn’t have to stop there.
As a new health science teacher, you’re probably facing a wave of new instructional technology that your institution expects you to become fluent with right away. Each school has its own way of reporting student absences, requesting substitute teachers, sharing worksheets and resources with students, and managing payroll. It can be so frustrating to have to use all of this technology at once, especially if you haven’t been trained to implement it properly.
One technology that new teachers often neglect in the shuffle is the all-important electronic grade book that automatically calculates student performance in your class.
Since you’re already spending so much time preparing your lesson plans and managing your classroom, you may be putting off learning to be adept at using an electronic grade book. Worse still, you might not be using an electronic grade book at all and are recording all of your tests, quizzes, and worksheets by hand.
How an Electronic Grade Book Makes Your Life Easier
New teachers are often shocked by how much time they save simply by implementing an electronic grade book.
The few hours you will spend learning your way around an electronic grade book will pay dividends when you’re entering complex student data. Gone are the stacks of misplaced papers and spiral-bound grade books of decades past. Instead, you’ll save hours and offer your students, families, and administrators transparency with a clean, easy-to-understand digital grading system.
Chances are that your school may already have a grade book as part of a more extensive learning management system. If this is the case, you’ll often be able to automatically grade some of your student work, saving you time and energy--or allowing you to rest at home.
One of the best features of an electronic grade book is that it flags students who are falling behind. You’ll be alerted automatically about learners who are missing assignments, habitually late with their work, or failing altogether.
Early detection of a drop in student performance can be pivotal in ensuring that a student can recover and be successful in your class. Through the aid of a digital grade book, you will have the tools you need to stay on top of your students’ academic outcomes without wasting your time calculating grades for yourself.
3. Assign Independent Work
When you first start teaching your new health science courses, it’s pretty easy to feel like you’re on a stage. If you worked in the industry, you might be used to collaborating with a team of fellow healthcare professionals. But in the classroom, you are alone, and students are looking directly to you for guidance on the skills and knowledge they need to learn.
Many new instructors believe that it’s their job to fill all of their instructional time with lectures. They spend long periods leading students through presentation slides and procedure demonstrations, with the occasional teacher-led class discussion sprinkled in. This teacher-focused instruction is exhausting, requiring lots of time and energy from you as a teacher to keep your students engaged.
This approach doesn’t go far in differentiating instruction and actually costs you more time reviewing material that students didn’t master the first time you taught it. Instead, you should save time by bringing back that same spirit of collaboration that made you a successful healthcare professional.
How Group and Independent Tasks Help Students Grow
Fundamentally, giving students assignments to work on independently and in small groups alleviates pressure on you as an instructor to fill time during class. But in reality, it does so much more for your learners as they seek to master material critical to certifications and their future careers.
Individual and group work is an essential part of the learning process and can also form part of a solid differentiated instruction strategy. When students work on their own, they’re forced to think and synthesize course materials for themselves, leading to a more complete knowledge of a subject. When working in a group, students can learn from each other, collaborate to solve complex problems, and discuss ideas.
It’s a proven strategy to place a student who is falling behind in a group with students who already understand the material. This way, you can use your best students to help struggling learners, all while saving time as an instructor.
4. Adopt a Digital Curriculum
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you don’t know if there is a way forward in your current job? It’s possible to feel like you are so far behind in your work that continuing as a new health science teacher seems like a daunting task. If you’re drowning in work and find that using just one or two time-saving strategies isn’t working, you might be seriously considering quitting your job as a teacher and returning to the healthcare industry.
You don’t want to abandon your students in the middle of the year. Still, you need serious time-saving help on several different fronts if you’re going to have any hope of finishing the year and becoming a successful CTE health science educator.
At times like these, it’s crucial to find a solution that saves you a lot of time in a hurry, allowing you to manage the biggest challenges to your courses and reclaim the time, energy, and rest you need to be successful inside and outside the classroom.
One encompassing solution you can consider to save time as a new teacher is adopting a digital curriculum.
How a Digital Curriculum Uses Multiple Time-Saving Strategies at Once
A digital curriculum is unique in that it combines several technologies to give students an outstanding blended learning experience while saving teachers time.
When used effectively, a digital curriculum allows you to be fully present with your students in the classroom. You can engage them with your healthcare experience and unique perspective without worrying about time-consuming activities that hold new teachers back.
A digital curriculum accomplishes this by addressing all three of the time-saving strategies mentioned above. While you’ll still want to collaborate with other teachers to provide the best experience for your students, a digital curriculum provides you with complete teaching resources, so you won’t need to worry about constantly searching for materials shared by other instructors.
An electronic grade book comes included in many digital curriculum systems, so you’ll be able to track student progress through digital instructional components and if they have completed worksheets, quizzes, and exams. It’s easy to see where your students are excelling and when they might need additional remediation.
A thorough digital curriculum also includes components for independent student work and group assignments. As part of a blended learning strategy, these elements reinforce what you’ve taught students in class and, through eLearning, help students further develop their understanding of each health science subject.
With a digital curriculum as part of your course plans, you’ll minimize the time you spend planning and grading so you can go back to devoting your time to better preparing your instructional materials and working directly with your students.
Save Time and Address the Challenges in Your New Classroom
Starting as a new CTE health science teacher can be incredibly challenging, especially when you don’t have enough time to address everything you are responsible for handling in your school. This is why it’s so important to save time whenever you can so you’re able to prepare for class, teach effectively, and rest regularly.
Each one of the time-saving strategies in this article can go a long way toward helping you save time as a new teacher while providing the best possible learning experience for your students. In particular, a digital curriculum can accomplish multiple time-saving tasks while helping your students learn and grow in a blended learning environment.
However, as a new teacher, a lack of time might not be the only challenge you face. To learn more about five major challenges many health science teachers encounter and how you can overcome them, download this free guide.
In this guide, you’ll receive insight into some of the biggest obstacles you could face as a new teacher. You’ll also be able to access resources to directly help you handle these challenges and succeed.