Are you an organized teacher OR are you an unorganized teacher?
There is no shame in the latter… raise your hand high, girl.
Have you ever found yourself looking at your desk wondering how all those papers got there?
Have you ever had to search for those copies you made last week?
Have you ever felt overwhelmed looking at piles of “stuff”?
At one point in my teaching career, I felt all of this. For me, a messy classroom is a messy mind…
If my teacher area was in disarray, that meant I was in disarray. What about you?
Finally, I realized that this was a problem I could fix, and I got to work and created a system that had a whole bunch of positive effects on my classroom, my organization, and let’s be real, my sanity:
This teacher organizational system:
- … organizes my weekly copies by day and by subject so I never have to look through a pile to find what I need.
- … has a place for all the papers and copies for next week so that I can get ahead of schedule in an organized way.
- … is a place where I keep emergency sub plans so I am prepared just in case I am unable to make my own sub plans.
- … stores all of the important information so that when I need something, I can just grab it — stuff like parent phone number lists, student information, schedules, username/password lists, blank student rosters etc.
- … holds all of those things that I didn’t have time to do in case I ever find myself with some extra time and want something meaningful to do with my students.
- … houses all of the important info that a sub will need such as a class picture, sticky name tags, student rosters, emergency procedures, important student info, and a list of our daily routines and schedules.
It is sooo important for us to be organized as teachers.
Those few minutes that you spend per day looking for a paper you put “somewhere,” reprinting student info for the sub, looking up a phone number in your computer, tracking down the stack of math homework that you know you copied… those minutes add up.
Think about it. If you spend just 3 extra minutes a day LOOKING FOR STUFF that, if you were super-organized you could just grab and go…. that is 540 minutes of wasted time per school year. 9 hours of time that you could have spent doing something useful.
Your time is valuable, being an organized teacher will save you so much of it!
Here are the things you will need to put together your simple organizational system that will save you time and maybe save your sanity, too 🙂
- Hanging file crate
- Hanging files (About 35-40) with the plastic label holders
- Free printable labels (these are the ones I use and I want you to have them, too! Keep reading for the link <3)
First, you will need 5 hanging files that you label – one with each day of the week – I recommend writing each day in a different color so it’s easy for you to visually see your week in the crate.
Then, decide which subjects that you want to have a spot for. I needed reading, math, writing, and then I combined science/social studies because I didn’t always have anything for both of them in a day.
Once you decide on the subjects, write a label for each subject for each day of the week — if you wrote Monday in blue, write all of Monday’s subjects in blue… and then if you wrote Tuesday in Green, write all of Tuesday’s subjects in green and so on.
You will keep copies of activities, read aloud books/mentor texts, homework sheets, and papers that you may need to pass back in each of the subject folders for each day of the week.
In the M-F hanging files, you will stash anything else that is specific to that day — maybe there is a permission slip that needs to be sent home on Friday so you can keep that in Friday’s file. Bus evacuation on Tuesday? Keep the schedule paper in Tuesday’s file. Meeting on Wednesday? Keep a copy of the agenda you need in Wednesday’s file.
Grab another hanging file, and label it NEXT WEEK.
This is where you will keep your papers, reminders, and other important things that you will need for the following week.
On another hanging file, write the label SUB INFORMATION.
This is where you will keep student roster/pictures, emergency procedures, student information, a school map, and other info that any sub in your room should have access to.
Make a hanging file label called EMERGENCY PLANS.
This is where you will keep a day or two of sub plans that can be used anytime to keep in this file – just in case!
On another hanging file, write a label called CONFIDENTIAL.
This is where you can keep info like a list of your usernames and passwords, parent contact information, student data, IEP/504s, and other info that you don’t want others shuffling through.
Some other suggestions for hanging file labels:
- Extra Activities: Stash some of the activities that you didn’t have time for in this file so that you can pull it out later when you find yourself with a few minutes to spare.
- Master Copies: Keep a master of all those things that you constantly need copies for… things like your class roster, word work recording sheets, discipline forms, homework check in sheets etc. so you don’t have to send it to the printer every time – just grab your master copy and go!
- To Grade: Store the papers you have to grade here so you can grab and go!
- To Pass Back: Store graded papers and assignments here.
- To File: This can be a temporary holding place for things that you need to take some time and file during plan or before/after school.
- Professional Development: Stash those notes and papers you get from your professional development meetings — if your admin thought it was important enough to give to you, it miiiight be wise just to keep that info handy?
- … & anything else YOU need! What other things do you need at your fingertips?
I hope you find yourself feeling more ‘with-it’ once you implement this super simple teacher organization system in your own classroom.
Talk to you soon!