When I was in graduate school, during my first couple years of teaching, a professors said, “An organized teacher is a good teacher.” For some reason, this statement really stuck with me. Now, nearly fifteen years later, I can truly appreciate her meaning. To be clear, I don’t think you have to be organized to be a good–or even great teacher, but it sure does help.
Here are some reasons why I agree being an organized teacher helps you and your students:
- Time management: It is a big time drag looking for materials and resources. If you are not organized and have your assignments and supplies readily available, you will be wasting time. In teaching, time is precious.
- Curriculum Planning: Teachers are expected to pace the year to meet certain grade level standards. While we don’t “teach to the test,” we do need to ensure our students have received the teaching and exposure to grade level standards in a timely manner (this includes before spring state testing). You need to know where you are, where you are going, and where you need to be by the end of the year; this requires pacing and organization.
- Classroom Management and Sanity: Teachers are expected to manage close to 30 + students. We are entrusted with creating rich, nourishing environments in which our students flourish. We do this while providing excellent academic instruction. This is no easy task. Having an organized class frees up your energy to accomplish this. We all know the proverbial child who acts up while his/her mom is on the phone. This is the same principle in teaching; if you are scrambling to find something or are unprepared–students are off-task and you are more likely to encounter behavior issues.
- Calm, Comfort, and Routine: A neat, purposeful and organized class gives students a sense of calm and comfort. Your students will feel safe. Anxiety is a real and growing problem for more and more of our students. For many students, knowing the course of the day is comforting–be it the daily schedule posted on the white board, in a daily planner, etc. This is especially true for students on the autism spectrum, where the need for structure is often increased.
- Frees up Creativity: If you are organized, this frees up time to focus on creativity and meeting your students needs in a multi-sensory environment. Students know classroom expectations, and can be given greater freedom to think outside of the box and learn in a differentiated classroom.
I added the last point, because I want to emphasize that organized does not equal boring; it equals prepared and thoughtful. I hope this helps!