The Essential Teacher Organiser – does it exist?

I used to be a time management dynamo.  I was on top of everything.  Admittedly, it was before I had kids and wasn’t try to cram even more into the day, yet I was still on top of it.  OK, I will grant you I lived at home and my mum washed and cooked for me and my dad got me out of bed each morning.  BUT STILL!!! I was on top of it.  I was on top of it at work too.  I juggled full-time work and uni studies plus a great social life.  I fitted in exercise and healthy diet.

This year I changed everything to electronic device.  I use google calendar and have it synced on my laptop, smart phone and WebOS tablet (yep, can’t afford an ipad or android tablet).  I use Evernote and Livebinders and other tools.  But I have fallen further and further behind, to a point that I am totally and utterly out of control and sinking.  More than sinking, drowning.  The technology is not working for me.  The technology provides too many distractions.  I was better off when I didn’t turn on the technology until everything on the to-do list was ticked off.  Now I turn on the technology first.  It doesn’t work for me.

I miss my filofax.  The good old must have of the 80s and 90s.  A suit wasn’t a suit without a filofax.  I miss the tabs, the zip lock bags that contained all those bits of papers that didn’t belong anywhere but were needed (prescriptions, dry-cleaning tickets, doc referrals, etc).  It was my project management system, my lists, my to-do, my contacts, my mind maps, my budgets, my notes, ideas and even my doodles and etches.  It was everything.  I know there are many that would argue that you can do this on tablets and smart phones.  Yes, you can.  But it is not a one-stop shop.  Some have argued with me that if you can do it all on one device then it is great.  But I’m putting it out there to app developers that people don’t want to do it on one device, they want to do it on one app, that is all linked.  Still, it doesn’t solve the problem of all the bits of paper that I have been continuously losing this year.

I miss my filofax.

It has got me thinking too.  What am I going to do next year?  How do teachers do it?  What systems do you use to record what page number one class got to, what tasks another class got to, who handed in an assessment task, what marks they got, quick notes on behaviour or issues that you need to put in the system when you next get off class, what activities to take to class, any special classroom you will be in that day, reminder to email or call a parent, etc.  How do you do it?  Whilst you are at it, how do you carry it all?  Bag? Basket?

It is all these practical things you don’t learn at uni.  But I do really need help.  How do you do it?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Essential Teacher Organiser – does it exist?

  1. Head over to Philofaxy.com and join a big and friendly group of people who love their Filofax (and other planners – it isn’t exclusive!). There are quite a few teachers on there too, some of whom have designed their own inserts, and some who have done guest posts on using their Filofax for organising their teaching.

    I use my iPhone for calendar appointments but make sure that they go in my Filofax diary too. That way, I can always see at a glance what is coming up, but the iPhone reminds me 10 minutes before a meeting or a call. I can also use it to decline the meeting, even just before it starts.

    I think electronics have their place but, like you, I could not run my life on digital devices alone. They fall over occasionally with disasterous consequences. And finally, there is something very satisfying about commiting these things to paper. Especially with a nice fountain pen 🙂

    Max (www.musingsofmax.com)

  2. Lily

    Most of my teachers had big ringbound planners like a massive homework diary – A5 or A4 depending on control freak-ness. They were day per page and split into the number of classes.

  3. jemilyea

    I teach at a very small school in the US, so my answers might not all work for you, but here’s what I do! Will your school provide paper lesson plan books and grade books or expect you to do it all on computer? My school provides paper record books with the option of using a computer-based grade book. I keep paper records, then update the grades in the computer every week or so. I keep track of my places in books for each class with post-it notes. In my grade book, I make note of everything–dates for all assignments (when given, when due), keep track of who didn’t turn in their work, absences, late arrivals, etc. In my lesson plan book, I note any classroom changes, time changes, announcements of future assignments, etc. I carry my “Filofax” (I’m using a generic ring-binder with DayTimer inserts) everywhere, and that’s where I make notes of class supplies, communication with parents and other teachers, etc. — all the to-dos. Hope this helps. Oh, I use this style of record book: http://www.supremeschoolsupply.com/Combination_Plan_Books_s/1824.htm

  4. Mer

    Good point. Where I live there is little mobile reception and no web unless you’re in the main house and inside the wireless area (which admittedly stretches quite far out). We’re also on solar power so 24/7 power can be an issue viz batt life/recharging.

    I think it will be a combo of hardcopy desk diary, day-to-a-page and not 2 A4s for a week which I have seen at schools. This complemented with a school issue laptop to synch rolls, access intranet, etc may do the trick?

    A previous manager I had ran a software development company. Each day he would write a list and tick elements off. This is something that I have managed to take on. Not much gets dropped and it’s satisfying seeing the tick and history over the back pages.

    Tell me then. Even with tech or not for instance a had stuck a note on the fridge, wrote on my hand when I made the appointment, spoke to them in person and still almost managed to miss kindy orientation today. By chance I was at the school volunteering and my beautiful learning support teacher I am helping asked if I should be at orientation!

    One or two repository/depositories. One hard and one soft copy?

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