Organised ESL Teacher

Image Source: http://unsplash.com

Image Source: http://unsplash.com

The constantly shifting ESL landscape presents certain challenges; however, I believe that teachers should see this as an opportunity to sharpen their organisational skills as well as being a motivator to stay up-to-date with current developments in the ESL industry. To achieve the required level of effectiveness and productivity, here’s my list of strategies to help teachers stay organised and focused:

• Start your own admin folder where you can keep your curriculum documents, templates, a list of important contacts, students’ contact details, checklists and other relevant information to your work. Use appropriate dividers (curriculum materials, contacts, checklists, lesson ideas, templates, students, miscellaneous, etc.).
• Organise your teaching resources in folders and label them appropriately, e.g. reading, writing, study skills, games, movies, speaking etc. (if you use copies from books, it’s a good idea to label where this/that resource comes from). Regular maintenance is essential.
• Organise your computer folders in a similar way
• Organise your emergency teaching folder with lesson plans for the levels you teach as well as your handouts.
• Plan your term ahead (excursions, due dates for reports, meetings, etc)
• Organsise your stationery supplies. Spacious pencil cases can accommodate lots of useful things: pens, pencils, textas, highlighters, scissors, sticky tape, rubbers, a calculator, paper clips etc.
• Keep your professional portfolio up-to-date (teaching resources you have developed, assessment tasks, record of attended professional development workshops, received certificates etc.)
• Allocate a folder of work related expenses for tax returns
• Organise your passwords with https://lastpass.com
• Purchase a quality teacher planner at http://www.createl.com.au, http://www.itcpublications.com.au, http://www.atc.com.au
• Prefer to go paper-free? You can sign up with https://www.learnboost.com or http://www.planboardapp.com; http://www.atc.com.au offers a digital version of their teacher diary.
• Start building/maintain your own Personal Learning Network (lots of current opportunities: wikis, social networking, micro-blogging, RSS Reader and Social Bookmarking)
• Subscribe to relevant organisations’ newsletters to be the first to know about free professional development opportunities through webinars.
• Organise your bookmarks with http://www.tidyfavorites.com, http://www.boonote.com, http://www.wonderpage.com (visual bookmarking) or make use of http://www.diigo.com
• Allocate regular time for deleting spam/overdue/unnecessary information on your computer; the same should apply to your desk
• Connect with publishers of relevant resources via facebook or twitter
• Start a blog for self-reflection and professional development. Free options include: http://edublogs.org and http://www.blogger.com . (Don’t forget to back up your blog posts)
• Make your meetings more productive with http://www.meetin.gs , http://www.meetingburner.com or http://liveminutes.com 

Teaching is a demanding career, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Staying organised is all about habits. Developing effective work habits will help direct your professional life, create more time and energy and most importantly you will be able to sustain a real sense of purpose in whatever you do.

      

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