With the end of year examinations upon us, education experts say it’s important for teachers and students to manage their time well so that they don’t end up stressed or overwhelmed.
Why it’s important
Francois Xavier Ngabonzima, a biology teacher, says when one manages their time well, they accomplish more tasks in a short period of time; and by doing so, it gives room for free time.
For students, he says, time management comes with many benefits. For instance, learners who are able to manage their time well are more focused, which yields better results as far as learning is concerned.
The benefits are for all parties — teachers, students and parents.
“When teachers are on time, they ensure that their programme is finished early enough. This is important, especially for tutors who have to sacrifice their weekends and holidays to teach students because of poor time management,” he says.
Ngabonzima says that when students utilise time well, they are able to cover what is required within a specific period of time, thus, they won’t need any extra time, like after school classes.
He notes that to ensure time management, teachers and other partners in education should not make excuses, rather, they should respect time as it determines how a school performs.
“As teachers, we need to change our attitude in order for us to complete the curriculum,” he says.
John Nzayisenge, the director at Good Harvest School in Kigali, says it’s important for teachers to understand the education system, especially the 12-year Basic Education policy, and what is required to finish the curriculum within the time given.
He says everything starts here, and if a teacher is well organised, they can be able use their time well to cover all the work that is supposed to be done within a specific period of time.
Jacky Irabagiza, parent, counsellor and matron at Martyr Secondary School in Remera, says the success of any learner depends on the efforts made by both teachers and parents.
She says that what parents should understand is that they shouldn’t assume that everything as far as education is concerned is the school’s responsibility.
“This is a misleading perspective and just like teachers, parents should use their time well, so that their children are able to emulate this habit,” she says.
She gives an example where some parents decide to sit back and wait for their children to come back before they start preparing food, either for lunch or dinner.
This, she says, is not a good example to set for the children because they will do the same, and it can be seen when learners wait for the last minute to do revision or homework.
She adds that giving them enough time to do their revision is part of helping them manage their time well; and that balancing between household chores and tasks assigned for students, such as homework, is vital.
Aminadhad Niyonshuti, an English teacher at Apaper Secondary school in Kicukiro, says that teachers need to be role models before expecting their learners to respect time.
He says sometimes students fail to be in school on time because their teachers are always late. They also fail to finish assignments in time because such work is never attended to.
Niyonshuti says that if all this starts with teachers, it will be easy for students to learn to do the same.
For one to manage time, Nzayisenge says they should first be able to understand why they should do so. This, he explains, can act as a driving point and push one to work towards their goals.
“Teachers should help out when it comes to this, after making them understand why it is important to be time conscious. It’s possible for a student to work independently without necessarily being pushed to,” he says.
He adds that this acts as motivation for students, they will always thrive to work hard no matter the circumstances.
Jacky Uwimbabazi, a teacher at St Patrick School in Kicukiro, feels that when learners are helped to manage their time, they improve their ability to focus.
She notes that for anyone to succeed, including students, they need to be able to do everything at a certain time.
She says when you find students panicking during tests or examination time, it is because they didn’t utilise their time well.
“Learners will feel overwhelmed with everything around them, especially if they haven’t been able to control their time well before examinations,” she says.
This, she says, won’t happen if learners are encouraged to finish work in time, as this will give them time to relax, an added advantage for anyone.
How to do it
As part of disciplining learners, Ngabonzima says showing them how to manage time is the perfect way to ensure this.
This skill, he says, will not just help learners while in school, but it can be applied outside the school environment, especially when it comes to employment.
“When learners start their careers after graduation, they will definitely need to be able to manage their time effectively in whichever environment they are in. This habit, when practiced at an early stage, grooms an individual to be a versatile citizen,” he says.
To stay on the right track, he says, students should be in a position to set their priorities; they should come up with important aspects they think should be handled first.
Teachers should help learners prioritise tasks and accurately calculate the amount of time needed to complete them, Ngabonzima says.
He says that these are skills that teachers have to instil in learners.
Niyonshuti says students should always monitor their own efforts and actions and at the same time, have the need to complete whatever they have been assigned within the time given.
He says this can’t be achieved without the guidance of teachers and parents.
At home, he says, parents should do the same to avoid late coming in school.