“In order to change the world, you have to get your head together first.” Jimi Hendrix
These are some of the most exciting and the most difficult days for teachers. I smiled the whole day on my first day back in the classroom. I’ve missed this lovely place.
Over the summer, my colleague and I dreamed about the upcoming year and put into place what we believe will be a life changing year for these third graders; however, first things have to go first. Before we can even start, we’ve got to get our rooms back in order.
When I got in my room, the job seemed overwhelming. Here’s how I went about getting it all done:
Keep the new stuff visible. When I want to accomplish a goal, I find that a picture of what I want to accomplish can help a lot. I like having a picture of where I’m going so that I can see it everyday. Other people don’t understand the picture, but it motivates me to accomplish the task a little each day.
In my classroom, I set out all of my new supplies. The new stuff is always exciting. Having the new stuff visible challenged me to finish faster.
Clean up the personal area first. Goals in life are practically the same. Before we can get to a new goal, we’ve got to get our present situation organized. For example, I need to write a friend of mine. I keep putting it off, and it’s hanging over my head and adding weight to my daily schedule. Before today is out, I’ll write that letter, and tomorrow will be better.
When I got to my classroom, I needed a clean personal space. The reorganizing of my drawers, cabinets, and desk took some time, but it was my first priority. With the personal area set up, I feel I now have a thinking area to retreat to and to regain energy to get the job done.
Set up the centers so that growth can occur. To accomplish a new task, we often have to set up a framework for growth. I like to set up skeletons of what I’m working toward. When these are in place, I know my directions, and I can start working toward each goal.
In my classroom, I set up areas where I imagine my children working and growing. If I set these places for learning up in advance, it’s more likely that the students will grow as we envision. When we see our students grow, the hard work we put in before school starts will have been worthwhile.
Do a little mundane work each day. With every goal comes some mundane jobs that have to be done. I find that spreading these out over time makes them more bearable.
Now that all of the basic outer work is done in the room, I can turn each day to a little mundane task along with the exciting tasks. Because this work is not fun but is necessary, I put a one-hour mundane job on my list each day. That is more manageable to me than a six-hour mundane job.
Now that the room is set, I’m ready to have a fun year and watch my students create and learn. Do you find that organization makes you more creative?