“Lights, camera, action.” As a teacher, the camera is always rolling. Whether you are skating at the local rink or in between the walls of the school, students watch your every move. Whether it’s a messy desk, inappropriate language, or getting caught picking your nose, you’re going to elicit a reaction from somebody. As such, every day I am finding it more and more important to be organized as a teacher. Especially in a profession where teachers need to be flexible and willing to change plans quickly and think on their feet. But by being constantly organized, a routine and expectation for students and the teacher can help establish stability in difficult situation.
While completing my education degree, I was advised to begin my professional portfolio. One of the elements that I included was my daily promises or as I titled it, “10 Commandments to Teaching Daily.” I created this simple declaration to be a reminder of the founding principles to my teaching philosophy, one of which is organization. As I have been in education for 3 years now, I am beginning to cement my learning and develop my philosophies as a teacher. However, it is crucial for a great classroom teacher to have pedagogical foundation that includes organization, and I know I am not going to waiver from this ‘commandment.’ I have outlined the importance of organization in three categories: organization in planning, leaders are organized and organization can impress.
Organization in Planning
My commitment to and belief in the necessity of organization has been informed by various sources. Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People touches on the idea for slowing down to speed up. This asserts the need to prioritize. In my first year of teaching, my former principal would often remind me of the importance of making sure I “put first things first.” He advocated that I use “5 Big Ideas” to help guide and organize planning for the year. This meant that I prioritize by planning in an organized way that targeted the most important outcomes of the year and work around those Big Ideas. Through my experience, I have noticed the success of the students coincides with organization of both the classroom and the teacher. Therefore, establishing effective long-term and short-term plans are vital elements to be a highly successful teacher. Organization allows for effective planning to take shape and form in your classroom.
Leaders are Organized
Moreover, organization is like a cold, it’s contagious! By keeping an organized workspace as a teacher, the students have a positive example to follow. My first year principal would always remind me of the importance to “do as I do” and not, “do as I say but not do as I do.” This can be exemplified through an organized workspace. Requiring students to maintain a clean workspace while not maintaining one yourself, is hypocritical.
It can be overwhelming to think about the daily tasks that a teacher is responsible for. However, a clean and organized workspace helps the teacher to be more effective and productive while an organized classroom creates a positive learning environment. I have experienced a direct correlation between my desk being messy and both the student’s desk and the classroom being messy. It can be a quick downward spiral that can be easily avoided with regular cleaning for an organized work space.
Also, organization is a key skill for students to learn at an early age. Once they develop this positive attribute and habit at a young age they are more likely to carry these skills forward in life. So, when they learn how to keep a clean and organized desk, they will understand the importance of a clean binder, workbook or computer folders.
Organization can Impress
Another benefit of organizing your desk is to ensure the first impressions from substitutes, colleagues, parents and students are positive. Maintaining a clean work space as a teacher provides a clean and welcoming feeling. This helps to contribute to the positive classroom environment that every teacher strives to have in their classroom.
If there are any thoughts, comments or suggestions for strategies for organizing, please share it with the world in the comment section.