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In my teacher education program, I remember from one class  I was handed over 60 articles on 20 different topics.  There were 20 students in my class, and we each had to prepare a presentation on one of those 20 topics, and provide the rest of the class at least 3 other research articles.  I almost collapsed under the information overload.   

What was I going to do?  Many of my peers simple used the trash to meet their organizational needs—disposing of anything that seemed superfluous.  But, the information my peers presented was useful, and I knew that at some point in my teaching career I might need it.  The problem was I didn’t have an effective organizational strategy. I was all over the place, like the information I was gathering.  I had a few articles in one class folder, some saved in another class folder, and even more scattered among floppy disks.

An effective organization strategy can save you a lot of future frustration.

First, develop a filing system.  An electronic system will allow you to save all you information indefinitely in one location.  Complete all your work on your computer, and try to get all your information (research papers, etc.) electronically, via email or compact disc.

Your filing system should work for you.  Remember to organize with purpose. If you are more likely to recall an article by its topic, you might want to group your articles, research, observations, etc by the topic rather than in class folders.  A physical system of file folders should mirror your electronic system, so you can easily access information in either place. 

Here are a few organizational strategies for your computer and/or physical folders:

  • Create class folders.  Once you complete work for a particular class, save the material in its corresponding folder
  • Manage the information based on themes.  Perhaps you have written about the approach of student journaling in several classes.  Instead of saving each piece of work in each separate class folder, it might be easier to save all works regarding journaling in one folder named “Journaling.”
  • Develop folders based on your teacher education activities.  For instance, you might want to save all your classroom observation in one folder regardless if you had to complete them for several classes.


Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

Organizational Tips from a Middle School Teacher

Organizational Tips for Teachers #2 – Keep an Inbox

Student Teacher Topics


I teach 8th grade.  Here are some things that are invaluable
to me.

1. Three-ringed binders. I put each unit in a binder. If I 
have transparencies, CDs, DVDs, etc, they are all put in it 
too, along with the lesson plans and objectives for that 

2. Hanging files.  I have one for each student.  That’s where 
ALL corrected work goes. Either at the end of the week or 
whenever the files start to bulge, I remind the students to 
take home their work or it’s getting recycled.

3. Keep detailed lesson plans on the computer.  If something 
needs tweaking, it’s much easier to edit.

4. Try and get copies made at least a week ahead of time. I
have a shelf that is labeled for each of my three preps. 
Right now I have the rest of this week’s papers, along with 
all of next week’s copies. If I have an emergency absence,
it’s a lot easier for my sub. 

5. Make sure you have a sub folder. I also have a one week 
reading lesson plan and a three day language arts lesson 
plan. I have many grammar review sheets along with a sticky 
note with sketchy directions.

Above all, (this is for 8th grade) don’t feel you need to 
grade everything. Some things can be done just for practice, 
others for a grade. Some things can be self-corrected by the 
students.  And some things NEED to be graded by the teacher. 
In grammar, I grade very little.  I grade their writing.  But most of the grammar sheets and assignments are self-
corrected. I grade the assessments.

Just a few of my ideas.


The school year is definitely underway.  This past Sunday I spent (4-5) hours grading, calling parents, doing misc. paperwork, planning curriculum, and organizing my extra-curricula activities.  If this was a race I would say that I am sprinting.  Looking around and talking with my colleagues I would say they are sprinting as well.  And, why not?  It’s the beginning of the school year and we are energized to do a great job.  Yet, I have learned that we can’t keep this pace up for long.  By November or December teachers begin to burn-out and become sick. 

I have to remind myself to create a steady work pace that I can sustain throughout the year.  This involves being as productive as possible, and well organized, freeing up time for me.  An important part of this is NOT taking home my teacher bags full of school work every day.  Leave it!  The afternoon is yours.  Try to do this at least one day a week.  My other suggestion is to plan something special for that “afternoon off.”  Avoid becoming a zombie in front of the T.V.  Rather, invite friends over for cards, get some exercise, go to the beach, cook a meal for the family, or do something else out of the ordinary.  Make the day yours.  The outcome is you will come away feeling refreshed and at a work pace that is suitable for you.

Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

Student Teacher Topics