Teaching Tuesday: 3 Ways Educators Stay Organized

Mirta Ramirez-Espinola, EdD, Faculty, College of Education

An educator's organized desk

As an educator, you likely wear many hats, both personal and professional. You grade assignments, attend professional development, collaborate with other educators, complete paperwork, are continually evaluated, and participate in sponsoring student extra-curricular activities. Some educators even have a second job. And others are students returning to university to obtain additional degrees to support their careers.

Staying organized is necessary when many responsibilities lay on your shoulders, and some helpful tips or reminders can help steer you on a better, healthier path. Use this guide to help you plan using calendars, classroom organization and list-making.

Create a System Using Calendars (Print or Digital)

How can calendars help? Calendars allow individuals to keep commitments and appointments organized. Using calendars can alleviate the double booking of appointments. You can write in or type in your personal or professional meetings to make sure you have no conflicts. Using one calendar to keep all personal and professional obligations is essential. Some may include sponsoring extracurricular practice, doctor appointments for aging parents or children, and deadlines for work.

The commitments you have can be color-coded. For those who dislike digital calendars, you can carry a calendar with colored pens or highlighters to keep all information in one place. However, in this case, you will have to take your calendar everywhere with you.

If you are amendable to web-based, digital calendars, then most phones and computers have Outlook or Google Calendars, for example, that are web-based you can use. This digital method is more user-friendly, so you do not need to carry something extra, as most educators regularly have a phone or a laptop. Timers and notifications can be programmed digitally and easily.

Organize your Classroom or Work Area

Bins and labels are a great start to organizing your classroom or office. No matter what grade level you teach, or work in an administrative or specialist office, you need a location for items and space to conduct student conferences, group work or meetings. Cabinets or shelves should be labeled, and students should understand where all supplies or equipment are located and where it needs to be returned.

This organization routine should be amendable to all ages, EC-12. Bins or baskets can organize student work and should be labeled as well. Organizing and labeling supplies, books, textbooks or laptops is essential. Labeling digital or hard copy files for educators with offices is also necessary. More importantly, classroom or office organization can help alleviate stress.

It can help to have a backup plan; however, make sure it is purposeful and general enough to integrate with any topic in the curriculum. The same can be true for specialists or administrators planning a meeting or presentation; thus, carrying extra equipment, copies or supplies can mitigate last-minute issues and delays.

Stay On Top of List Making

If you wear many hats, list-making might be for you. List-making helps with organization, especially for those with busy schedules. Some responsibilities must be accomplished or completed daily, so list-making should be intentional; this is where list-making can be beneficial. Again, depending on your comfort level with technology, it can help you stay organized. If you are already carrying around a laptop or a smartphone, you know there are various free apps you can use to keep a list.

Google Calendar, for example, has a task option to include lists per day or week. This is advantageous as you may already be using Google Calendar. List-making is a visual reminder, so you don’t become bogged down with a million items to complete and leave them for the last minute. Once you've completed a task, you can remove it from your list quickly and easily.

Educators can sometimes feel overwhelmed, and these feelings can be unhealthy over long periods of time. Feeling stressed or burdened with many responsibilities can be lessened when you consider managing commitments and organizing classrooms for better flow. List-making and calendars can help better organize both your professional and personal lives. Keeping one calendar is sufficient so you don’t mistakenly overcommit or double-book yourself. It’s essential to keep these three tips in mind; hopefully, they can help you destress and manage your time and efforts more wisely.

Want more? Check out all the articles from Teaching Tuesday and return each week for a new post. Learn more about Grand Canyon University’s College of Education and our degree programs and join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.

Approved by the Program Director for the College of Education on Sept. 6, 2022.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.