When students go off for study leave, teachers pick up 'gained time'. We explore the best ways to utilise this time.
‘Gained Time’ is a period of time common amongst secondary school teachers whose students have ventured off for study leave. During the season of study leave and exams, the time slots originally designated towards teaching the students with impending exams become free, leaving the teachers with valuable ‘gained time’.
Although these times are now available, they are not to be wasted (they call it gained time for a reason!); the question is knowing how to make the most of this time, and using it in a way that can benefit both the teachers and students.
Depending on personal preferences or plans that the senior leaders of the school may have in place, ‘gained time’ can be used individually or with the rest of the department for future planning and preparations. Here are some approaches to making the most and getting the best out of your newly discovered ‘gained time’:
It is a good opportunity to drop in on fellow teachers whilst they are teaching. You can develop a good relationship and rapport while simultaneously observing specific teaching techniques and methods that you may want to implement in your own classroom.
Start preparations for the new academic year – you may have encountered issues or problems that resulted in setbacks during the course of the current year, so this time can be used to think of strategies to stop these recurring. Additionally, there may be impending changes to the syllabus, curriculum or exam structure that you need to take into account and consider appropriate preparations and approaches to.
Reflect. Look back on the events and classes of the past year. What was good? What generated excitement and engagement amongst students? What caught their attention? What did you do that produced a great result? What did they respond to? What pushed them to perform and entangled them in a web of intrigue and fascination? What bored them? During which lesson did you find them to be distracted and restless and what was the reason for this? It’s a good time to question your methods, find what worked and what didn’t and consider what you could improve upon, and what you could eliminate altogether. Learn from your mistakes and your success.
Consider putting together classes to ease the transition of moving to a different year group. If you have Year 11s staying on for Sixth Form, start the induction and transition early – you could set up workshops where you guide and advise them on their Year 12 options; what will be in store for them; reading lists to gander over; the difference in expectations and objectives and so forth.
‘Gained Time’ is valuable, not all teachers are lucky enough to have this luxury (as some may say) as some teach at different levels and this means remaining in the classroom all year round. Be sure to consider and plan what tasks you want to allocate this time to and use it wisely.