You Know That I Can Do It With This Folder In My Hand
(Just a moment. Let me clear my throat.) (Wait until you see this! A successful image link! Internet – I have mastered your ass. BOOYAH!) (Feel free to exchange high fives with the person nearest to you in my honor.)
Friends, I have been sharing with you intimate details of my professional thoughts and neuroses for the last few years. We have laughed together, we have cried together, we have worn high heels together (some of us) and we have ranted together. Then today, when I thought to myself, “Self, what the F are you going to write about today? Is it the 31st yet?” and began to look through old blog posts, I realized that I had with held from you one of the greatest inventions in teacher organization in, well, in the history of the world. (Yeah, I said it. I am that
Are you ready?
Are you sitting?
Are you salivating?
How about these? Both come in a set of six (the organizing possibilities are endless) and are a little more snazzy:
And a cheaper, less fancy, but still freaking hot because of all the organization…OH THE ORGANIZATION!
I know it doesn’t look like much but it will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE. I have several Super Colleagues who can back me up on this one. I also have another Super Colleague who shall remain nameless but if she chooses to read this post today should know that I am LOOKING AT HER because I am an Organizational Goddess. This is the same Super Colleague who, this past Friday, chose to throw a math manual, writing binder, reading binder and other assorted items that weigh an insane amount and WILL give you scoliosis if you continue to insist on jamming them into your teacher bags, into her trunk to bring home. Then she lugged said materials into her home, where I’m sure they took up a huge amount of space and mocked her as she tried to enjoy her coffee and forget about the classroom for one brief moment. Because that shit STARES AT YOU. I bet if she listened closely she could hear it taunting her, “If you brought all of us home and don’t even open us because you decide to (gasp) enjoy yourself on your weekend, you will feel terrible on Monday morning….”
Now this folder THIS FOLDER will also speak to you as you slip it into your Teacher Bag. Except it won’t taunt you. Instead, it will say, “Can I kick it?” To which you will reply, “Yes we can!” Because you will be able to kick it. No more giant Teacher Bag which is oh-so-embarrassing to carry into the bar on a Friday for Happy Hour. No more lugging around a Scoliosis Sack while trying to run errands on your way home from school. No more Towering Pile of Manuals and Binders that mock you while they take up precious space in your home.
You see, you simply label each pocket with a different subject area. For example, I had the following sections: To Do (for assorted paperwork and notes that needed answering), To Correct, Homework, Math, Word Study, Reading, Writing, and Science/Social Studies. (So sad that science and social studies seem to always get the shaft…but that is another post for another day. Maybe tomorrow in fact, since the well that is Mrs. Mimi feels a little dry.)
Then, you ONLY TAKE HOME THE PAGES YOU NEED TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO OVER THE WEEKEND. No more. And maybe a little less. What do you do with the math manual pages you need you ask? Well, my psychotic self scratched and clawed my way to the front of the copier line and made double-sided copies (Your welcome, environment.) of the unit we were currently working on. Slap a binder clip on that puppy and it slides nice and easy into the pocket labeled “Math”. (Or, what’s even better, take home the CD of the math manual…I mean, technology does have some advantages. Instead of taking home the entire binder with every single reading lesson you have ever taught, consider removing the pages you need (Or copying them…it is well worth the time and human struggle to get to the copier. Throw some elbows if you need to.) and slipping them into your Folder of Fabulous in the section lovingly labeled “Reading” with your favorite Sharpie.
Another facet of genius to this Folder of Fabulous, is that your To Correct section will only hold so many papers, thereby limiting the number you actually take home. Because we all know, even if you drag that monsterous pile home, there is only so much you can do whilst sipping on
a bottle of Vodka a glass of wine in front of bad TV.
Trust me on this one. Have I ever let you do organizationally before?
* P.S. – Bonus points to anyone who caught my DJ Kool references. I heart you and we should get a cocktail sometime.
Good tips because I have definitely been that teacher with the huge bag full of stuff that then proceeds to sit on the floor of my office until Sunday night at which point it infuses me with guilt but probably still sits there until Monday morning when I realize what a complete waste it was to bring all that stuff home in the hopes of being super productive. Now I am working in Support Service in Germany which is way different than SPED in the US, but I have a folder for each student that I work with, so I can just bring any folders I need home and it's small and organized and much easier!
It took me so long to learn the lesson about not taking all that cra…um…stuff home on the weekend because I won't do it anyway.
But here's some support for your message, Mrs. Mimi.
I work with students who have reading difficulties…not identified as special ed, yet…it's my job to prevent that from happening. One of the things I've noticed is that certain things go along with poor reading skills…things like distractability, and organizational skills.
In my study of ADHD (yes, I actually spent one summer about 8 years ago studying everything I could find about it in order to understand my students, and myself a little better…no college credits, no salary increment…just pure knowledge for the sake of knowledge) I learned that color coding helps kids with ADHD keep things organized. Imagine what it can do for other disorganized humans.
You know the bookbags that go home with the papers stuffed in them…try giving the most disorganized students color coded folders that fit neatly in a binder. It's not a cure all, and you have to help them with it, and keep up with it…but it's helped quite a few of my students get work home to finish (and back to school, even) as well as notes about field trips and school events.
It works for me, too.
KT – love your folder idea
Stu – as always, you are amazing. Love your color coded idea for students too.
These folders are going on my "to get list"…everything you said about lugging stuff homes was EXACTLY this past weekend for me. It really stuck a chord after I finished marking and my husband was helping me load the assignments into a garbage bag and he said, "How about no more assignments on poster board?" Yeah, no kidding!
I still have yet to learn that lesson! I do, however, have the cutest zebra print Target bag! Man, have I got alot left to learn!
I totally do this! (valley girl voice intended)! Proud me!
I got so tired of carrying around piles of tests that I bought a very pretty expanding file folder from Target. It has twelve pockets, and I put a test/quiz/essay in each one. It makes them so much easier to carry, and it might even motivate me to actually grade tests when it starts to get too full!
Best. Advice. Ever.
I just finished student teaching (today, actually – yay!) and I finally realized that taking home a few things and actually finishing them was so much better than lugging a million thing home and being too overwhelmed to finish anything.
I LOVE your blog! I actually just suggested it to a professor who was looking for good teacher blogs. I think I've read all of the archives…it was an amusing and inspirational distraction when I needed a break during this past semester. I hope to read your book soon!
What a great idea. I mean, seriously. Something I could learn. I'm heading toward Amazon right now.
I totally stopped on a dime 🙂
Lol I am FINALLY after 4 years of teaching getting better at taking home only what I ACTUALLY need. But still, I love your ideas!
I have to tell you that your links never worked for me on those cool folders. I have, however, a great imagination.
Thanks for this post! I saw a presentation where some teachers raved about these EXACT things, but when I got home I couldn't find them ANYWHERE. They were using them for student portfolios, but I totally want one for myself. Thank you!!!