Getting Organized – Teachers

For beginning teachers, getting organized can be extremely challenging.  Without a good system of organization, success as a teacher will be just out of reach.  If you are not clear on what needs to be done and when it is due, getting everything done will be almost impossible.  Much of the organizing needs to happen even before the school year starts.  Then, as the year progresses, it is vitally important to take time out, even during the busiest time, to stay organized.

Organizational Answers – What You Need to Know to Get Organized

What is the task?

For teachers, the ‘what’ can be confusing.  It is not sufficient to simply go through a certain textbook from front to back.  Teachers need to refer to the curriculum for each subject to see what concepts/skills are to be taught.  From there, teachers will need to think of activities that teach those things.  Then teachers must decide the best way in which to do those activities with the students.  This process can be challenging and very time-consuming.  It helps if you can collaborate with other teachers of the same grade level.  In this way, the burden of planning will be eased and good ideas will be shared.

When to do the task?

Teachers first need to take a look at the units that the students must complete.  Then they need to spread these units out over the school year.  After that, teachers must look within the units and determine timelines for specific learning activities, projects, and assignments.  Beginning teachers who fail to do this time management planning find themselves too far into the year without enough done and, consequently, facing an impossible task.

What materials are needed for the task?

Well ahead of the planned learning activity, project, or assignment, teacher needs to carefully consider what supplies will be needed.  It is very disconcerting to a teacher to be scrambling for equipment the day that it is needed.  Being less than well prepaid can result in behaviour management problems as students do not wait patiently for the teacher to get ready.

A handout explaining each assignment or project and stating when it is due should also be prepared in advance.  A rubric is another helpful tool to give to the students so that they will understand what is required.

Organizational Tools

A calendar is the central tool needed to get and stay organized.  Many teachers use large calendars that sit on their desk.  Day planners in a binder or in small notebook are also popular.

Another option is to use an online Google calendar.  It is free to sign up for a Google account.  When using the Google calendar, you simply enter the assignment or event on the correct day.  Then you can set if/when you want an e-mail reminder sent to yourself – one hour, one day or one week beforehand.  Google calendars can also be configured to send a reminder text message to your cell phone.

A ‘to do’ list is also an integral part of keeping organized.  Some teachers prefer to keep their list in a notebook/journal and strike off items as they are completed.  For the more technologically inclined, they can keep the list online.  Google has an excellent feature on their gmail accounts that is called ‘tasks’.  Here a teacher can list the things he/she has to do and strike them out when they are completed.  Related emails can be attached to the tasks list, and this list can also be viewed/edited from a smart phone.

To make the students’ learning experiences the best they can be, getting organized is a requirement.  Don’t let your best ideas slip away!  Organize today!

© Celesta Thiessen
 
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