Maximize Your Prep Period Productivity with the Pomodoro Technique

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Any teacher will tell attest that their prep period is sacred ground. A nook of time that presents a golden opportunity to accomplish EVERYTHING!

However, when teachers are swamped with grading, planning and emails valuable prep time is often lost to frivolous exercises such as hyperventilating, staring gaunt-eyed at the ceiling tiles, and hoping for a sudden snow storm that would force an early dismissal while surfing Google images for “white sand beaches”.

If this sounds familiar then I would suggest, on your next prep period, giving the Pomodoro Technique a try.

The Pomodoro Technique is a simple yet effective productivity strategy created by entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s to help him meet deadlines.  Cirillo named his technique”Pomodoro” (which is Italian for tomato) after he used a tomato-shaped timer to develop his methodology.

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The Pomodoro Technique works like this:

  • Set a timer (Cirillo suggests 25 minutes but this is flexible. Consider the tasks you want to complete and the length of your prep period.)

 

  • Start the timer and get to work. The key is to work with focus and intensity for the set time and avoid distractions. If you want to maximize your prep period productivity it’s crucial to avoid distractions. If someone does interrupt your Pomodoro flow, then of course, punch them in the face and scream,”I”M ON MY PREP!”– seriously don’t do that, simply pause the timer, address the interruption, resume the timer and return to your previous work.

 

  • Once the time expires, stop and take a short 3-5 minute break. Take a walk, drink some coffee, conduct your daily “white sand beaches” search. It’s important during your break to relax your brain and breath.  However, when break time expires, reset the timer and begin another interval of hard, concentrated work.

I value my prep periods because when I return home from work I’m met with the demands of parenthood.  Demands that stretch well into the nighttime, leaving me little time and energy to devout to school work.

If you’re like me– a little stressed, easily distracted and eager to punch someone in the face then I’d recommend giving the Pomodoro Technique a try.

Teach like a champion today,

Jay