As I’ve mentioned previously, I have recently read Laura Vanderkam’s series of time management books, and have been working on incorporating these strategies in my life. Unfortunately, much of what she writes about for work is difficult to apply to teaching because your day is very much scheduled for you (you have classes at certain times of the day and must be in certain meetings at scheduled times). However, I believe that there are many strategies Vanderkam outlines that teachers and educators in general can use to improve the way they spend their days. Here are my suggestions:
As a teacher, I go through tons of notepads each year. Between all the lists I make myself (I love lists!), writing notes and passes for students, etc., I usually have a pile of notepads on my desk to grab at a moment's notice. At my old school, they used to collect teacher's scratch paper throughout the year, and over the summer they would send it away to have recycled notepads created. Then they would give these notepads to all of the teachers the next school year. I thought this was a great way to reuse resources! (Who really uses the back sides of their note paper anyways?).
At my new school, they did not recycle at all (it killed me!). So I kept all of my unused papers for scratch paper, which is very handy in a math classroom. Even with this, I still ended up with a huge pile of scratch paper at the end of the year. So I decided to try and be crafty (as Pinterest always inspires me to do), and make my own scratch notepads. Here's what I did:
As mentioned in a previous post (and the reason I haven’t posted since), I recently started a new teaching job as the middle school math teacher in a new, very different district. While things have been crazy (and my hope is to post more about this craziness soon), I was able to use the blank slate of the new room as an excuse to implement a bunch of awesome ideas I’ve seen on Pinterest. Trying to give credit where it’s due, and hopefully to inspire others with ideas, I .
wanted to share what I’ve done. This post will be focused on how I’ve decorated the classroom. I hope in my next post to share how I’ve organized the classroom to maximize efficiency.
Resource, now newly titled “Guided Studies” in our district, is a difficult class to plan for and teach. While I only have 4-7 students in each class, each student needs to be working towards their individual IEP goals. Which means I have to plan between 11-14 different activities each day for those two classes. Additionally, trying to coordinate and execute so many different activities at the same time can be difficult. On top of that, I have to make sure I’m monitoring and updating each student’s progress towards their IEP goals.
This year, my goal was to make resource run more efficiently. To do so, I am trying to put more ownership on the students. This has meant a lot of preparation by me, and a lot of reinforcing routines, but hopefully it will pay off.
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the start of the new school year. Actually, let me rephrase that - I have loved buying new school supplies for the start of the new school year. The fresh notebooks, the unwrinkled folders, and the empty planner signaled my yearly opportunity to become a better me. A better, more organized, me.
It is this passion for continuous organizational improvement that remains consistent as I became a teacher. Every year is the chance for me to become better organized and more efficient than last year. This year it’s even more important, as it is my first year as a working mother. I had my son back in May, and I am obsessed with him (as every first time mom is). So it is even more important these days that I be organized and efficient at work, so I can spend the precious time I have at home playing with him. To do this, I have jumped on the organization train going full steam ahead!
Many of my best ideas I have borrowed from other fabulous educators. This blog is a place for me to share what I have done, in the hopes that someone else can find it useful in their own practice. In addition, I use it as a space to reflect on the issues important to those of us in the education field.