As teachers, we know that keeping our space neat is important for helping things run smoothly, but sometimes it can feel daunting to create systems in order to get ourselves there. That’s why I’m writing this series: Organization Tips for Teaching. In this series, I’ll share all of my best tips to keep your room tidy and in tip-top shape.
The first topic in this series focuses on keeping your teacher’s desk organized. Any teacher knows that their desk gets chaotic. You have loose papers everywhere, 5 post-it notes somewhere under the clutter that contains reminders, and half a snack that you didn’t get to finish. It’s pure chaos. But the problem with it being pure chaos is that it needs to be organized to help you be a more efficient teacher. No one wants to be digging through papers to find a permission slip or digging through unorganized drawers looking for paperclips. How embarrassing, right? So how can we wrangle the mess and get it in order? Let’s take a look at some essentials that I use to keep me organized.
Something that I’ve found helps me so much is having a teacher toolbox. A teacher toolbox is a storage container that houses all of my teacher supplies such as markers, paperclips, staples, etc. in a nice, compact space. I park this little system right behind my desk so that it’s always easily accessible.
The key to making the teacher toolbox work is applying labels. I put labels on the front of my teacher’s toolbox to show me what I can find inside each drawer. Looking for a marker? Open drawer 3. Looking for a pencil? Look in drawer 1. Looking for paper clips? They’re located in drawer 5.
What I love most about these labels is that they help me and my students (who also have access to it if needed) put things back in the right place.
If you’re anything like me, you have hard copies of your lesson plans on your desk each week as a reference, and while that’s great, if you’re not careful, your desk will become cluttered with pages and pages of lesson plans. Whether you complete your lesson plans on paper or digitally, printed copies can cause a mess on your desk.
For paper plans, I recommend using Erin Condren’s teacher planner to stay organized. Take a look at this blog comparing three of her planners to determine which would be the best investment for you. By using the Erin Condren planner, your plans are all in one place and don’t even need to be printed! It also saves you on paper and ink.
For digital plans, I love using PlanBook to write them as it allows me to see which standards I still need to target before the end of the year. Once you print your digital plans, they still need to be stored neatly. Consider using Erin Condren’s teacher clipfolio so that your plans are always in one place. I use this and keep it on my desk as well.New 2022-2023 Teacher Collection
Turn in Tray
The final tool for keeping your room straight is a turn-in-tray, or “that box”. This tray sits on my desk and houses all student work. When students finish their work I tell them to go “turn it in in that box,” and they do!
The turn-in-tray has three tiers. The top tier is used for work students want to turn in, the middle tier is used for work that students are not yet finished with or in-progress work, and the bottom tier is used for papers that have not been graded. At the end of the day, I know that the papers that are clipped together in the bottom tray need to be graded.
All of the supplies mentioned above are located on my Amazon Essential List for Teachers!
It’s important to keep a routine for your desk to help you stay clean and organized, and avoid the paper monster (which really does exist) in your classroom.
Click here to access my teacher desk checklist freebie. Allow it to help you take the necessary steps to take back control of your messy desk.
Stay tuned for next week’s post in the series: Organizing Community Supplies. It’s one you won’t want to miss.