How to Go From Classroom Setup to Maintaining Order
Once the school year gets going, some years I start to feel off kilter, out of sync.
Do you ever feel like everyone else seems to have it all together and you are playing catchup all the time? Yeah. That's the feeling. It's so easy to get there after the hustle and excitement of prepping for and starting a new school year. The hard part is getting back on track.
As you head into your school year, it's easy to get derailed by the details and lose your way.
We spend tons of time getting our classrooms ready for students. By the time the first actual week of school ends, we often feel ready for a break. I know that sounds crazy, but you know what I mean. Think about how you feel after that first week - physically and emotionally drained. Right?! As the first month goes by, we can start to feel a bit scattered and overwhelmed (honeymoon is over). While it seems so early in the year to feel that way, the truth is reality and the details of classroom life have a habit of sneaking up on us.
Here's my solution:
Take the time to make a plan NOW for maintaining organization in your classroom. It will pay off all year long!
I know this isn't a fabulously fun topic (I might even get shunned on Instagram😉), but it is a necessary one. You don't want to feel physically and emotionally drained all year. You do know you deserve better that that, right?! If you make the time to create simple systems for maintenance now, you'll reap the rewards very quickly (and throughout the year as well).
So what kinds of systems should you have in place?
You need systems for:
- cleanup (daily and throughout the day)
- reminders, scheduling + calendar syncing
- training + retraining of students
So sit down right now, start at the top of the list with paperwork and MAKE A PLAN.
- Start by listing all of the kinds of paperwork that come your way and the time of day you usually receive it.
- Decide how you will handle the papers at each time of day. It might be that all paperwork from the first half of the day goes into a bin to be dealt with at lunch. Or you might have your students sort things into bins as they turn them in.
It doesn't matter what you choose to do, just as long as the plan works for you. The goal is to not have today's paperwork spill over into tomorrow. Exception: If you do all your grading on one day each week, that can be the only exception to this rule.
Rinse and repeat for each category.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Now, here's the hard part. Implementing. Begin implementing each system on a different day. Spread them out. Begin your system for paperwork for a few days or a week and really train yourself and refine your system before adding in another new system. Starting a bunch of new systems all at once is a recipe for frustration and failure.
It takes time to get disorganized. You can take a little bit more time to get back on track when it means lasting results.