Friday, 20 July 2018

Top Organisation Tips for Teachers

You teachers out there will know that a teacher's to-do list is never-ending and we need all of the classroom organisation tips we can get. Even when you do manage to tick things off at the end of the day, there's always at least another 10 to add to it. There's no denying it's a busy job with a lot of work, but if you use your time effectively, I think you can easily have a good work-life balance. 

When I'm at work I'm usually able to plan ahead and manage my time so that I can leave work behind at a reasonable time, so here are my top organisation tips for teachers.

To-Do Lists - Every morning I write a to-do list with 10 things I want to accomplish that day. I always include a mix of things for work and things for myself as it's so easy to only focus on work and forget about the things I need to do for me. I try really hard to tick off all of the things on my list each day, and I'm usually successful. If you're anything like me, I hate having 1 annoying item left on the list. It really does help me focus on the things I need to do. I recently discovered Wunderlist and its  my new favourite thing for creating lists. Check it out!
Utilise Breaks - This is one of my top time-management tips for teachers but it depends on how you prefer to work. Some people may want to take their breaks during the day, but for me, I prefer to work through them and get those little annoying tasks done. During break times, I identify the jobs on my list that I can do quickly and get them done. It's also a time that I use to check and respond to e-mails and tidy the pile of papers that magically accumulate on my desk.

Make Use of Adults - If you have a teaching assistant, make use of them. Often, during carpet times when I don't really need an extra pair of hands, I give my teaching assistant jobs that will save time later on. This is usually cutting, tidying, laminating, finding something from lost property or delivering messages. It's a small job but it saves me and her time later in the day. 

Be Prepared - Each night, I take a little bit of time to prepare things I need for the following day. For example, if I know I want my teaching assistant to make a support pack for a student, I will save all of the printable needed to my USB so they are ready to be printed, rather than having to search for them at the time. It can save so much time!

Don't Procrastinate - I'm lucky that procrastination isn't something I suffer from at work (although it is in life!) If you know you have a job to do, just get it done quickly and efficiently. Don't get distracted and don't jump between jobs, thinking you're being doubly effective, because usually you're not. The quicker you complete the task, the quicker you can move to the next, or maybe even reward yourself with some Facebook time when the task is done. Also, if you find yourself staring at the computer and being unfocused, scrap the task for now and move onto something else. Staring at a blank computer screen isn't going to save anybody time! 

Keep it Simple - So many times I hear people talk about the classroom management systems they have in place that seem really over-complicated. I'm all about simple! If it doesn't need to be done, or won't benefit me or the kids then I'm probably not going to do it. If a system is too difficult, I'm probably going to scrap it. Teaching is hard, time is limited and there is always somebody wanting more from you - so why put more on yourself than you need to?

Tidy Up - Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place, this is the best classroom management tip I can offer. When you know where things are it makes everything quicker and easier. Having a clear workspace definitely helps you to organise your mind too.

Have a Limit - You could work and work and work and never be done in teaching. It's one of those jobs where there's always something more to do. Working constantly isn't going to make you a better teacher, healthier or happier human or a person people want to be around. All it will do is make you miserable, which will lead to you being less effective, not more. Have a cut off and stick to it. You're only human and you can only do so much in a day, and one of the most important things you have to do, is live!
Prioritise You - Look after yourselves teachers! The job is mentally and physically exhausting and you need to keep yourself healthy in order to do the job. Always remember that YOU are the most important part of the equation. Take time every day to look after yourself and do the things you love.

What are your top organisational tips?
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