If you are a teacher of any kind at all, you will have a hefty paperload: assignments/tests to grade, articles to read, curriculum outlines, lesson plans, literature printouts, etc. But if you are a Language Arts or English teacher (like I am), you can bet that your paper load will be about triple or quadruple of what anyone else’s is.
Although I had been warned of this fact previous to my becoming a licensed educator, I still wasn’t quite prepared with just how exactly I was going to deal with all that paper. Sure, I had put out bins on the first day of school where students could place their completed work and gotten a little desk organizer for my paper clips and things, but that was it.
Then about 8 months passed.
And this is what my life looked like:
A note to all incoming first-year educators: you have GOT to have a plan in place of how you will organize the paper load, or else you’re going to end up like me: completely stressed out and unable to find anything at all.
Even though I knew that this would be the hardest time to do a massive desk organization (because, in case anyone’s been on Mars lately, it’s the last month of school), I knew that I had to whip things into shape before I was required to enter final grades because heaven knows I might not be able to find all the assignments I was supposed to enter in if I didn’t.
My organizational system still needs a lot of work, but I have since put into play a simplified organizational process that will at least get me through the rest of the year (come summer, I’ll have to find a better long-term strategy). Since I already had the bins in place of incoming assignments and I’d received the wire desk organizer for Christmas that you see above, I decided to actually utilize those to their intended purposes (bin = ungraded/incoming, wire rack = graded/outgoing). One of my students made this adorable personalized clipboard for me as a Christmas present, so I decided to use that to clip together all the papers that I need during my current unit (which is so brilliant that I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, seeing as how I was forever misplacing the exact thing I was supposed to be using as a reference sheet during a lesson). I also took back all the books I’d borrowed from other teachers, recycled any old papers that I no longer needed, started filing away things by unit (although I still have a LONG way to go on that), and put the stack of grading rubrics at the center of my desk in a neat stack.
Then I made a master to-do list of everything that I still have left to grade or do until the end of the school year…and it’s over 50 items long.
But hey–at least I know what to expect now, right? (And where to find it all!)
Quick Stats for this Week:
# of Items Tossed/Donated this Week: 2 (I counted all the papers as just one thing)
# of Items Left to Toss/Donate Before Dec. 31st: 255
Amount of Money Spent This Week on Organizing: $0
One thing that I absolutely know about procrastination (because I’m such an expert at it) is that the longer you put off things, the more urgent they tend to become, and that your life is then constantly dominated by urgent things that have to get done right this minute. I tell you this because my next organizational task is speaking to me with a sense of urgency that I can’t silence for much longer (much like my desk that you see above), and that’s the matter of:
Planning Our Trip
For several months now, I’ve dreamed of taking a family history trip back to Ohio (where my dad’s family is from) to check out some cemeteries, county courthouse archives, old buildings, etc. It didn’t look like we’d have the budget to go for several more years, but we’ve recently discovered that a cabin my grandpa owned out in Marblehead would likely be free for us to use. So we’ve basically been planning on taking that trip *sometime* this summer, but we actually haven’t planned any of it.
So, since Matt is already on his summer break and I’m less than a month away, I thought I’d better get on that, and pronto.
This Week’s To-Do List:
*Decide when we’re actually going to take this trip and how long we’ll be staying
*Work out all the overnight arrangements, including checking with my uncle to see if we can use the cabin and seeing if we can visit (and maybe stay with) some other relatives while we’re out there
*Get the oil changed in the car and top off all the fluids since we’ll be road-tripping it
*Plan out a total budget for everything we’ll need, including money for groceries/eating out, special attractions we want to see (Cedar Point, baby!), gas, and any other family history stuff that might require funding (like getting copies of old certificates)
*Create a master list of places that I for sure want to check out (include addresses, pricing info, directions, etc.)
*Put all those places into our GPS
*Create a master itinerary of where we’ll be on each day (make sure to include some down time, too!)
*Come up with a specific list of family history and genealogy queries I have so that I can start deciding where to try and go for answers
*Clear out the memory card on my camera
*Organize my family history records so I’ll only be taking the info on the families that I’ll be out researching
I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff, but I’m still super excited—I absolutely love travelling, and there’s just something about planning a trip that makes the daily grind a little more manageable.
Do you have any trips you’re planning this summer? What do you still need to do to get yourself ready?