“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan’’
I am not sure if I am organised or have OCD, but either way, I love a tidy desk, numerous planners, and colour coding.
We are well into the academic year; time is flying literally (or maybe it feels this way, post pandemic).
As a new Head of Secondary ITT, I started thinking about the main character trait that is essential for all teachers, besides subject and pedagogical knowledge – being organised. All good teachers are organised. If we consider ourselves role models, we need to set an example for our pupils. We cannot expect work to be submitted on time and neatly presented, if we are the proud owners of a chaotic desk, and consistently miss marking deadlines.
A teacher’s organisation skills constitute an intricate part of successful classroom management, creating a positive learning environment, engagement, and cooperation from students.
As teachers we must lead our classes by example. We cannot expect our pupils to come in and sit quietly to get on with our settler activity if we storm into the classroom late.
Being organised can look different for different people, but essentially the outcomes are the same.
I recall that in my classroom, I had created an admin area for my pupils. They had access to spare paper, books, staples, coloured pens, graph paper and a paper trimmer. They knew they could get up quietly and get anything they wanted for use during the lesson. My students very much appreciated that organised corner. They never wasted time asking for paper or coloured pens. For me that worked.
Our desk reflects our personality, but organisation extends beyond the physical environment.
Organising your time through the day to take advantage of every minute is equally important. Use invigilation of exams as thinking space, answer emails immediately when possible, plan for your week in advance, read the weekly letters on time and highlight key information. Be respectful of the time of your colleagues and turn up to meetings on time.
Life always constantly delivers unexpected events but being organised allows us to maintain control over unpredictable circumstances.
By Marilena Pevreall
Head of Secondary School Teacher Training, University of Buckingham