Teachers as Organizers

Why Teachers Must Be Good Organizers

Teachers stay organized so that they can access all the necessary materials for their students. Andersen Ross/GETTY Images

Teaching is a difficult profession for many reasons. For one thing, teachers are expected to fill many roles, some that have little to do with the subject matter being taught. However, the glue that can hold all of this together for teachers is the ability to organize themselves, their classroom, and their students. Following is a list of all the reasons why teachers need to cultivate the habit of good organization. As we try and become better organizers, it is important to keep in mind that we need to try and visualize what result we want in our classrooms before we put the first organizational system in place. This list can help spur you into creating better and more effective systems.

Defective organization leads to educational waste.

Organization means that students are in their proper place at the proper time, the teacher is ready with effective lessons and means of assessment, and the student knows exactly what is expected of them. Without good organization, one or more of these items can become faulty. If students are not in class on time due to a lack of an effective tardy policy, then educational waste results. And this waste not only affects the student in question but also the other students in the class who either have to wait for the student or have to stop class, even if only for a moment, as the tardy student enters the class.

Students are not given the opportunity to learn important life habits.

This might sound old-fashioned, but students do need to learn the skills of punctuality, industry, perseverance, and accuracy in their work. Without these skills, there is little chance that they will be able to successfully transition to the "real world" of work. School is an artificial environment that seems to protect the student more than propel them in many ways. However, school should provide students with the opportunity to learn these key lessons before the consequences for their behavior become getting fired from work. If teachers and schools provide a framework of organization that reinforces these habits, then the student is all the better for it.

Organization provides a framework for student learning.

When the little items are established like when pencil sharpening is allowed, or how students are able to go to the restroom without disrupting the entire class, the classroom itself runs in a much more orderly fashion allowing more time for instruction and student learning. Teachers who do not have systems for these and other housekeeping items in place waste precious teaching time to deal with situations that have no bearing on student learning and achievement. Once organizational systems are in place and students understand and follow them, the teacher is left free to actually instruct the students. The focus of the day can be the prepared lesson plan and not whether or not Adam is allowed to go to the restroom at this particular moment.

Organizational systems lead to better classroom discipline.

In many instances, classroom disruptions could be stopped if effective organizational systems were in place. For example, if a teacher has a warm-up or do-now on the board when students enter the room, this gives them a framework for starting the day that is lesson-centered. Students are expected to sit in their seats and begin working when they enter the class. While there may be times when this does not occur, just the fact of having a warm-up ready each day means that students have less free time to chat and potentially become disruptive. Another example deals with how you handle late work. If you do not have a system for giving students their assignments when they have been absent, then students will typically either take up your time at the beginning of class as you try and figure out what assignment to give them leaving the class on its own for a bit or they will disrupt the class by asking their friends and classmates what they missed in class.