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Teachers have a lot of things to do: lesson plans, grading, concert, PTA meetings, field trips, copies…. And that does not even include teaching the kids! Factor in personal life and non-work related commitments and staying organized can be a nightmare. I, personally, have to juggle work, choir, keeping up with the house and dogs, and church commitments on a normal week.
The best way to get it all done? Get organized!
Without organization, there is no way that you could possibly stay on top of everything.
We all know those teachers who are not organized. You know, the ones that are copying things during lunch the day they need it, never remember when staff meetings or PTA meetings are, are always late to duty, etc. Their class’ behavior usually reflects the poor planning.
Don’t be that teacher.
Be the teacher that gets stuff done…. On time! The teacher that doesn’t have to change their lesson plans because the copier is down again. Get organized!
Over the next few months (yes, months, because I didn’t want to completely quit with lesson plan ideas and other posts), I will be doing a series about staying organized as a teacher. I started two weeks ago with a post about my favorite classroom purchase and how it keeps me organized (check it out here). Subscribe in the sidebar or down below to keep up to date on the next posts! Or follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, all linked up above this article.
And without further ado… My favorite tools for staying organized as a teacher!
Clipboard with Writing Pad
I love this clipboard.
I picked it up on a whim (because it was cute, of course), and could not be happier with it.
Why do I love this clipboard and think it helps me stay organized?
It has a notepad and a pocket inside of it. So I can clip paper to the front, and I can also write on the inside and keep my pencil or pen in the pocket.
I use this clipboard mostly for meetings and professional development. I put the agenda or ticket for professional development on the front, and then I take notes on the inside. I also use it if I am walking around the school and making list of things I need to do or remember or lesson ideas.
Plus, it is cute and inexpensive.
If you like any of these, click on the picture to go to the Amazon page!
Also: Lesson Ideas: Creative Movement with Scarves
Days of the Week Notepad
This was a gift from my (wonderful!) mentor teacher during student teaching. I have never met anyone who makes as many lists as I do! We were both constantly writing things down, scheduling things, etc. But we mostly wrote on random pieces of paper, which is ineffective. Because after we wrote them, we would lose them.
Anyway, for graduation she got me a notepad with all of the days of the week on it. I. love. It.
I keep it on my desk and make it specifically for my school to-dos.
Every Monday morning, I sit down and write in the things I know I have to do—write lesson plans, attend meetings, etc. Then I go through and add in the other things that I need to do—write emails, make letters, practice the accompaniment for a piece of music, etc. At the end of the day, if I have something I need to do that I have not, I put it on the next day’s list.
This could also work if you have a planner with decent weekly spreads, but I like to keep this on my desk and have only school related things on it, so that it is easier to distinguish what needs to happen at school v. at home.
Also: Free K-2 Lesson: Animal Form
And just one planner or calendar. I am the worst about wanting to keep my home and school life in separate places, but resist the urge! Get one planner.
Once you get the planner, write in all of the school things you need to know—grades due, holidays, concerts, etc. Then add in all of the personal things that you have consistently—church obligations, social obligations, etc.
Then keep adding.
Keep everything in your planner. I mean it.
Even though you have many different things going on, you only have one life. You should only have on planner.
Because I am obsessive, mine is color coded—I use green for school, purple for choir, red for my husband (dates or days when he works late), blue for my social life (ha!), etc. This way even though everything is together, I can still see what is specifically for what parts of my life.
You don’t have to do that much, if you are not as crazy as I am.
But you do need a planner.
I have this one with a different cover, and I love it! I also use these pens (and only these) for my planner. Clip to purchase!
Also: Questions to Ask Yourself when the Class is Off the Chain
If you see every student in the school like I do, you are probably thinking I am crazy. But really, a few minutes per class at the beginning of the school year makes a world of difference! Especially if you see every student in the school.
Why is it more important if you see all of the students in the school?
Not only do you need it to keep yourself organized, but it will help you learn the names.
I have 750 students. That is a lot of students. If I remember one or two out of a class in the hallway, I am impressed with myself. But if I have a seating chart, then I know all of the names.
Knowing the students’ names changes everything. I promise. Try it.
How do you keep track of all of those kids’ names? Seating Charts!
I keep mine in binders with dividers between each day of the week. I keep a schedule in the front so that I can remember who I have each day, and if I unexpectedly have a sub, then they can find the class as well.
Each day, I take the days’ seating charts and put them on this clipboard. It opens up so that I can store pads of paper for notes or other things inside of it.
Here is a similar clipboard (although cooler because mine does not have a separate pencil place) and binder. Looking for seating charts? Teachers Pay Teachers has a ton of options here.
Also: Ways to Destress After a Crazy Day of Teaching
And I keep my clipboard with my seating charts on my cart!
I seriously love my cart. It holds everything that I need on a daily basis, so that I can find everything I need. I keep my seating charts on the top. I also keep hall passes, nurse passes, a tambourine, pencils, my stuffed owl, and a bunch of stickers on the cart.
And yes, all of those things are very important.
Check out my full review of my cart here.
Need help getting organizational products? Check out my post on Donor’s Choose and see if you can get them donated! Also, check out what lessons I did while on the cart for a month.
Those are my top items to keep my life organized! What do you use to keep organized? I would love to know! Tell me in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Best Tools for Staying Organized as a Teacher”
This post is so appropriate – even for no teachers 🙂 My pet hate is being disorganised so this info really hits the spot. Thank you so much
I completely agree! I cannot stand being disorganized or unprepared. Everything is so much more smooth if you just put some thought into it.