5 MORE Habits of an Organized Teacher

July is the perfect time to be thinking about organizing and reorganizing…. 2 years ago I blogged about the 5 habits of an organized teacher.  And now I’m back blogging about 5 more habits of an organized teacher!

1. To-Do Lists

I love a good to-do list.  Yes, I’m one of those teachers that makes a list and writes things down that I’ve already done just so I can mark them off! 🙂

I have a to-do list in the classroom, a to-do list at home, and multiple to-do lists on my phone and my computer.  And when May comes around, I pretty much lesson plan off of a to-do list….

Maybe it’s because I love an excuse to doodle.  Maybe it’s because I’m a completionist and if I write it down I know I’ll do it if for no other reason than to get to mark it off the list.  Maybe it’s because writing it down helps me remember it better.  But most likely it’s because I’m afraid that if I don’t write it on my list, I’ll forget about it or never actually do it!!

2. Empty That Inbox

I’m admittedly a pretty obsessive person.  An email is one area I’m pretty obsessive about.  Not much makes me happier in my teacher world than to have my email inbox clear.  Seriously, it’s the stuff angelic choruses were made for…

Am I the only one that thinks this is just beautiful??

Okay, so what does this habit have to do with organization?  My email is another one of my to-do lists.  I read an email, and delete it if it’s just that FYI kind of stuff.  If it’s an email asking me to do something, I keep it in my inbox until I’ve finished that task.  It’s another way to remind me that it needs to be done.  Yes, I usually add it to a list I have going, but it always helps to have multiple reminders when you can be as forgetful as I can! 🙂  Each evening I go through any emails I have left in my inbox and delete or move to a email folder if I need to keep it for a while.

Sure, I go to sleep with emails left in my inbox sometimes…I don’t sleep well, but….just kidding!  It happens.  But my goal is to have a clean inbox each night before I go to bed because one of the fastest ways to feel chaotic in my world is to have an inbox full of emails that I can’t make heads or tails of.  It may be obsessive, but it sure does cut down on the No-I-didn’t-see-that-email problem and the Did-she-really-tell-us-to-do-that issue because 99.9% of the emails get seen and processed in an organized way.

3. Tubs, Tubs, Tubs

Bottom line:  Junk looks junkier when it’s not in a tub.

Tubs are stackable.
Tubs can be labeled.
Tubs come in same sizes.
Tubs naturally help sort junk into categories.
Tubs can be moved from one place to another place much easier than a huge stack of junk can.
And great tubs are cheap.  Like a dollar for some really great tubs.

So there are no excuses.  It’s time to take over your cabinets.  Do not let your cabinets rule your world.  Take charge.  You are in control.  Put that junk in a trunk tub.

4. One Stop Shop For Data

Nothing makes an organized teacher more irritated than having data or records or grades or information stored in a bazillion different places.  The best thing I did for my own sanity was to start keeping all of my data in one place.

No more shuffling through files.  No more flipping through student work portfolios to find that one piece of data I need.  No more telling administrators to wait a day or two until I can track down that one piece of RTI data they need on a kiddo.  In my organized world, less is more.  And in my teacher world, I can make the data I’m required to keep any less, but I can keep it in one spot and one spot only!  And that’s worth a lot in my book!

5. Time Management

Time can be a teacher’s worst enemy.  There’s just not enough of it to prepare the kids for state tests, next year’s grade or, more importantly, life in general.  There’s always lessons that get put on the back burner and then just never seem to happen.  And add in unplanned assemblies, fire drills and kid meltdowns and it’s a guarantee that something gets left out!

I’m kinda a crazy person when it comes to schedules and time management.  I make my schedule, I use these schedule cards to post it…

…and then pretty much stick to it in my lesson planning.

Yes, it may seem a little much to you.  I’m never gonna try and say I’m not obsessive about a few {or a lot} of things.  But this one I really feel strongly about….so strongly that I may just be brewing up a more detailed blog post on how to use your teacher time effectively.

But for now I’ll just say: Make a schedule.  Change it if it doesn’t work.  Change it again if it still doesn’t work.  And once you find the right schedule and the right times for each subject, then stick to it as much as possible.

It’s that important, interns.
It’s that important, veteran teachers.
Using time wisely is just that important.

Because…I can’t teach a kid anything if I don’t have the time.

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