All teachers want less stress and more time to fulfil their passion for teaching. Effective organisation plays an important role in your success as a teacher. It builds confidence and helps maximise your overall teaching time to benefit student learning. It’s frustrating knowing you have this amazing resource for a lesson and then having to tear the classroom apart to find it.
I also know that the best kept secret to a calmer teacher is effective Classroom Organisation. Whether it comes naturally or not, I want to share ten classroom organisation tips that have helped me over the years.
- Make the most of your free time.
Purchase all your stickers, stamps, certificates and class prizes for the year during the Christmas holidays. No more mad-dashes to the shop! Place your supplies in labelled drawers on your desk. Prewrite all your birthday certificates and keep in a pile with a bulldog clip.
- Have a teacher survival drawer.
Buy panadol, hand cream, nail clippers, lip balm, easy snacks or microwaveable meals if you get stuck. If you are a teacher and a Mum, I also keep spare shoelaces at the ready for my kids. (It has saved me a number of times)
- Write it down.
Write EVERYTHING in your teacher planner book including appointments, PD meetings, staff meetings, other important notes and highlight them so you won’t forget! This way all reminders are in the one place. If you are more tech-savvy, add the aforementioned to your calendar and create a parent contact list for emails or phonecalls.
- The ‘lost property’ box.
Cover an old box and label, ‘Lost Property Box’. This is where all the loose pencils and endless glue sticks end up. If students have lost a particular item they know the ‘Lost Property Box’ is their first port of call. It would also help if students had their items clearly labelled. (INSERT SCREAM HERE) 🙂
- Label everything!
If you are a Mum, I’m sure you ‘label’ already (no more lost jumpers and hats). Assign a place for everything in the classroom. Write up labels for where books, items, art supplies and homework belong. We have some awesome art supply labels you can purchase HERE! Label all your teacher stationery and supplies so when other teachers borrow them they become a boomerang and come back to you. Dymo labeller machines are great for this.
- Declutter! Declutter! Declutter!
I cannot stress this enough. As a minimalist, trust me – it creates a calm life! I have seen many classrooms which have boxes and boxes of worksheets and old materials that are so outdated, still stored in the classroom from 20 years ago. I have had to restrain myself so many times from wanting to get in and clear the lot. Sort through your resources and keep the best ones. Yes, it does take time but just break it down into manageable chunks. You will wish you had done it sooner. I promise. 🙂 Teach your students the benefit of decluttering. No matter the grade, set aside 5 minutes per week for the students to have a desk/chair bag/tidy tray clean out! We would do this each week and it would pay off big time!
- Think ahead.
Think weeks and months ahead for special days and get your resources ready eg. Father’s Day, Easter, Remembrance Day. We have unique and awesome Father’s Day cards, so you won’t hear your students say, “We’ve already made those!” Click HERE to see them.
- Photocopy ahead of time.
Some schools have teacher aides to do this. I was organised last year and didn’t need to photocopy a single page due to having it all ready in advance….a huge time-saver. Photocopying ahead of time ensures you get your copying done before the photocopier room runs out of the coloured cardboard that you desperately needed.
- Teacher Aide.
If you are fortunate enough to have a teacher aide or volunteer parent through the week, decorate a box and label “Teacher Aide”. Whenever you see a task that needs doing like filing, cutting out templates, laminating, helping a child one on one – pop a sticky note on the work with instructions and place into the Teacher Aide box. You will save so much time not having to do all those time consuming tasks and no more panicked looks when the Teacher Aide arrives and you forgot they were coming! Learn to delegate.
- Timetable Zone.
Students love routine..it makes them feel secure. I established a timetable zone on my whiteboard so students could plan for the day. Planning ahead and making sure they have the right books and materials is crucial training for high school. See our fantastic downloadable timetable resources HERE. Use them on your whiteboard.
I hope you have found some of these ideas helpful and I have many more to share with you. It’s amazing how a little classroom organisation can go a long way in keeping you cool, calm and collected. One final tip and shameless plug. 🙂 Why not keep our website bookmarked on your computer or iPad so you can make use of our awesome time saving resources? www.pointpro.com.au
‘till next time, Naomi xx