It is the start of the New Year and lots of resolutions are being made! I have heard a lot of people (especially teachers) say their resolutions are to be more organized. Being super organized is one of my strengths, as a teacher, and I thought I would share my system for planning and organizing lessons.
Last year, around this time, I was suffering from chronic ear and sinus infections. These infections persisted from the middle of November to the middle of January. Those who regularly read my blog know I have Lyme disease and we found out after I was diagnosed the chronic infections were being caused by the Lyme. It was miserable but what made it even worse was the stress of potentially being out. I felt like I always needed to have sub plans prepared and things ready in case it got to the infections got so bad I couldn’t go to work (luckily, I made it through these three months and only had to call out twice!). So, I developed a new system of planning and organizing to make sure I was always prepared.
First, I plan for two weeks from the current week. I find I forget things if I plan too far ahead and waiting until the last minute creates unneeded stress. Two weeks is just the right amount of time. I am always working on plans that will be used in two weeks and write my plans in such a way that made it easy for someone else, such as a substitute teacher, to read and understand exactly what it is they are supposed to do.
The next thing I started doing made the biggest difference in saving time. I’m sure many teachers would agree the copy machine is the bane of existence. It seriously makes me sad to think about the number of hours of my life I have spent at a copy machine! What makes it even worse is my school only has 1 copy machine so we can only print copies of a few items at time since there is typically a line to use it. I have discovered there is one time of the day no one is waiting to use the copy machine… 6:30 a.m.! As much as I hated to do it at first, I started getting to work between 6:30 and 6:45 every morning. I pick one day of the week (typically Wednesdays) and make all of my copies to go with my plans for two weeks out. After I have made all of my copies, I sort them by day of the week and store them in a large basket that I refer to as my ‘Two Week Basket.’
Next, when I am one week out, I gather materials for the following week and get my copies from the ‘Two Week Basket.’ I then organize all my materials into the storage bins pictured. The labels are from Jennifer Gunther’s store on Teachers Pay Teachers. The sixth drawer, without a label, is where I put work missed for students who were absent. When students were absent they always knew to check this drawer when they returned to school. Now, all of my worksheets and materials are organized for the following week. Therefore, if there is ever an emergency all of my plans, worksheets, and materials easy to find and ready to use. More simply put… no more writing emergency sub plans at 1:00 a.m.!
So, to summarize my planning system… write plans and make copies for 2 weeks out and get organized for 1 week out. I hope you will find this to be helpful as you get organized in 2016! If you have any planning or organizational tips, please feel free to share in the comments section.