Productive Teacher Activities During Down Time

Post in News by RobertAbraham on 6th April 2020

As most educators know, there is rarely any down time during the school day. In addition to seeing students, papers must be graded, assignments prepared, rooms cleaned, bulletin boards created, and more. Most teachers arrive early, leave late, and work weekends just to try and catch up. However, during this strange time in education, there are inevitably going to be some periods in the distance learning day with some down time. Here are some options to use the time creatively but also positively.


Teachers, as well as students or even parents, can now access almost 1.5 million books for free as part of the National Emergency Library. This is a project by the Internet Archive to help in remote learning times. With public libraries closed, this is a wonderful resource for teachers to catch up on some reading, or explore and share wonderful works of literature with their students. Unlike public libraries with long waitlists, multiple users can access the same books at once. This will be available until the end of June or the end of this national emergency. This is a free and available resource to anyone, and not limited to U.S. residents.

Learn a language

Learning a new language is a great way to be productive while at home. Whether learning a language that may help you reach some students or prepare for a vacation abroad when things go back to normal, learning a new language is very rewarding. There are many free apps out there such as Duolingo which is a free app available on iPhones and Android phones. If working on a computer, you can Google “Free Online Language Learning” for a list of sites… a popular one is

In this time of social distancing and remote work, this is a WONDERFUL opportunity to reach out to someone that speaks a foreign language you are learning and have a conversation with them using Zoom, Google Meet, or Facetime. This way, learning a language and connecting with another person can make you feel less isolated.

For those who have an iPhone and a friend with an Android, or vice versa, I highly recommend using an app called Google Duo. This is a Facetime-like app on your device that can bridge the gap between iPhones and Android phones.

Learn to play an instrument

I have a nice collection of instruments that I have bought during the years but are collecting dust as I have not had any time to devote to them. This is a wonderful time to pick up that guitar or even harmonica and learn how to use it.

Learn to code

With the strong push on STEAM, teachers and students will be introduced to coding and programming in schools. While at home, learning to code can be a very good primer for those new to coding or a way to learn some advanced skills.

Many online coding platforms, like, offer free coding lessons. Khan Academy ( is also a wonderful site for free program learning. Whether it is block-based coding or Python, there are many sites available and great apps for your phone as well. Teachers can also learn some basic 3D designing skills at

Of course, there are many other positive ways to spend productive time at home including:


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting our schools and learning, Teq is making all of our PD courses on OTIS for educators FREE to help schools and districts implement distance learning. Sign up for a FREE Basic account!

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