Please teach me how to become organized.
February 1, 2012 1:40 PM Subscribe
I feel hopelessly disorganized as I become more aware of what “organized” looks like, and I have no vision for how to change. I'm studying to be a teacher, and I have so many different interrelated resources for my own learning as well as for teaching, and they are piling up in random places. My computer desktop is abysmal. I'd like a meaningful and structured method of organization. How do I get from where I am now (chaos) to a system for storing papers, and proper naming conventions for files? And most importantly, as teachers are in the constant process of being inspired, collecting things and creating output of various forms, I need a semblance of a workflow to keep me afloat! My apologies in advance for over thinking this and making it perhaps more complicated than in has to be.
posted by to recite so charmingly to education (12 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Here are some things I am rapidly accumulating:
- Various PDFS (from the Ministry of Education, Unit Plans from the Web, handy templates for classroom use)
- Slideshows (notes) from classes I am currently taking
- Written notes from classes (I don't take too many and the ones I have taken seem somehow random and unappealing)
- Handouts from classes (from specific activities to overviews on teaching a given topic, to issues in education)
- Papers I accumulated from my practice teaching
- Any materials accumulated from professional development courses in the future (or workshops for my personal interests that overlap with my teachable subject areas)
- Lesson plan inspiration and unit ideas based on things that excite me that I see tying into the curriculum (these run from saving a link to a radio show, an image, or a written blurb)
- My bookmarks (I bookmark things and never look at them again, but deleting them feels like a waste or like I'd regret it. Should I organize them a certain way? Use Pinterest instead?)
Like I said, I don't know what to do with these things, since they are all part of a whole and I have a hard time seeing a pattern for going through and separating things. I have considered keeping everything in Evernote in notebooks with labels like course title (eg. “EDU 123”, “EDU 456”), and using tags for the subject matter, which varies (eg. “differentiated instruction,” “literacy”), but if I were to do that, I would prefer to drag in Slideshows and pdfs for the same purpose since these are more commonly used in my courses, but I believe it's impossible. Also, this makes me question whether I should add separate notebooks for unit plans in my subject areas, notebooks for fragments of ideas and brainstorming... you get the idea. I am getting hung up on how things connect and where things belong.
Things I (maybe) want to use but I don't know how to do use them effectively:
- Desktop stickies
- bulletin board with graphic organizers or templates to organize my thinking
- bookmarks, or maybe Pinterest
- naming conventions for my desktop, and appropriate folders
- A way to make this stuff automatic!!! Visual cues, associations, a workflow! Habits! I am jealous of how other people use colour coding systems and those types of tricks.
Do you see a way to simplify my life a bit here? What should my organization system look like? And from there, what should my process look like? I am looking for all kinds of suggestions, such as “in your _____ folders keep such-and-such a template and start with that,” your obsession with coloured post-its, or maybe habits to avoid. Are you a teacher? What kind of categorical framework works for you? Thank you so much, Metafilter.