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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the stacks of paper, books and countless teaching resources you have as an English teacher? Are you looking for a simple way to organize your resources and start off the new year right? Well, today’s short, but sweet post is on 6 simple ways to do exactly that.
By the way, part of the free January printables package (coming out mid-next week!) will include a handy, detailed checklist so you can get organized, too! January’s theme is writing, so you’ll also have access to the other writing printables I promised, to help your students write better! You have access to my printables library, right?
Essential Teacher Organization Tools
Before you check out the 6 Simple Ways To Organize your teaching materials, be sure that you have:
- DYMO Labeller
- Coloured folders
- Pencil case with multiple pockets
- Lightweight laptop or tablet – I recommend the ASUS Zenbook series. I absolutely love my laptop and it lets me work on the go and multi-task like a pro!
- Google Docs account
- Vision Elite pens and Post-its that make organization fun.
- Sturdy bookshelves and bookends
- Carbonite back up software
6 Simple Ways To Organize Your Teaching Resources
Now, if you know me, you know I LOVE to organize! That’s especially true when it comes to stationery, using colours, and organizing my English teaching resources. So, here are my 6 trusty tips to help you stay organized this year!
1. Create Colourful Folders for Each Student – Paper and Virtual
Whether you teach private classes or large classrooms, organized folders are a must! I love to use a different colour for every one of my students. In fact, double pocketed folders, or thick plastic ones with string ties to keep extra papers in place, seem to work best.
Of course, I label every one with my student’s name using my trusty digital label maker. This way, every semester or year you can hand back student or class work in an organized way.
Oh, and don’t forget to store documents electronically, too! I have a folder on my computer for each student. In fact, I take notes at every tutoring session or small group class. Actually, I’ll be making a free email course about starting a profitable tutoring business shortly – and filling you in on more great tips!
Be sure to join the Teaching Cove community so you can access all my printables and keep on top of all the new resources!
2. Cubby Boxes for Activities and Games
So, last summer I completely reorganized my tutoring shelves and I’m so glad I did! What do your shelves look like?
I organized all my materials into resource type and put them neatly into stackable organizer boxes from IKEA. Using my labeller, of course, I labelled the boxes with categories like:
– Grammar game cards
– Children’s games
– Office supplies
So, all I have to do before every class is grab the correct student’s folder, book from my bookshelf if needed, and activities from my cubby boxes. Lovely, right?!
3. Extra Activities Multi-Pocket Folder
Now, just in case you underestimate the time an activity will take, or the language level of a brand new student or class, you should always have your handy Extra Papers folder.
What’s that, you say? Well, it’s simply a multipocket folder (with organized and labelled pockets, of course) that contains extra activities by level. For example,I have game cards in ziploc bags, crossword puzzles, vocabulary worksheets and grammar game boards.
It also comes in handy when you’re working at language schools that don’t have the best technology -and that old technology fails on you! I have a lot of experience with this one 😉
4. Categorize Your Bookshelves
Are your bookshelves organized? I mean really organized, by type of book and level? When I organized my bookshelves, I ordered them by book type and used my trusty labeller to create labels. Of course, they are sorted by level within the section, too. Don’t underestimate how much time this will save you in the long run!
5. Spreadsheet Style Lesson Plans
Now, if you’re really interested in how I plan my lesson plans, get ready for the upcoming ebook I’m working on! I can’t wait to publish my lesson planning pack,so I’m working hard to get it finished as soon as possible. Sign up for printables library access at the bottom of this post and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!
For now, let me say that Google docs and Google spreadsheets are great for keeping track of your students’ documents. This works super well if you’re teaching via Skype, too. Stay tuned for my Google docs tutorial coming later this month, too
6. Virtually Organize Your Students’ Work by Year & Class – And Back It Up!
Remember how I said I have virtual folders for each student? Be sure to also have ones for classes you are teaching, and types of general resources. For example, Grammar Games or Phrasal Verb activites could go in their own folder, separate to the ones you use to store individual student files.
Now – this is important! Don’t forget to back up your work (and your students’ work!) Computer crashes that involve losing data are the worst!!
Carbonite has incredible software for $5 a month that solves this problem.
It’s completely free! I’ll be making a video tutorial for Carbonite, too, so you’ll be able to see all the benefits in action soon!
Which tip is your favourite? Do you have your own tips you’d like to share with us? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Remember, a handy checklist of these tips will be available shortly! Be sure to sign up at the end of this post to access the printables library, and I’ll keep you posted as soon as it’s available.
P.S. For the photography lovers out there, I took the photo for the main image in this post in 2013, at the Old Library in Dublin, Ireland.
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